Goods Yard & Engine Shed

This section covers the Goods Yard and Engine Shed area, south of the city centre.

Click here for a street map of this area from multimap, with the red circle centred on the site of Upperton Road viaduct.
Notes on using the multimaps:
The map linked to is a 1:10000 street map.
The large scale street map unfortunately does not show the disused railway or the Great Central Way. Zoom out to 1:25000 to see the standard ordnance survey map version, but with no street names.
To see an aerial photograph of the area covered by the map click on the “Aerial” tab above the map.
When finished with multimap click on “Back” till you return here.


After the closure of the railway the north end of the freight yard, including the goods shed, had been largely taken over by British Road Services and its successors.

The central part and southern end became to be dominated by the large Vic Berry’s scrap yard. This maintained its rail link with the Leicester to Burton line and received such large quantities of rolling stock for scrap that they were stacked in the famous piles until they could be cut up. Following a disastrous fire in one of these stacks involving stock which may have contained asbestos the scrap yard closed down in the early 1990s.

In a corner at the south end of the goods yard site, next to Upperton Road, was the much smaller scrap yard of A.E. Piggott & Sons which cut up general scrap and, after the closure of the through railway, sent it out via the link to the Leicester to Burton line. For many years it sent nothing out by rail, but in a surprise move in the mid 1990s it sent scrap by rail to South Wales for a year or so. These were the last trains to leave the old Great Central line in Leicester.

This area, known as Bede Island, has been completely redeveloped from the late 1990s and office units and housing cover the site of the goods yard and subsequent scrap yards. There is also nothing to see of the carriage shed which was to the west of the main line and bounded by a bend in the Old River Soar.

Leicester Great Central Engine shed was south of Upperton Road, near to the Leicester to Burton railway line. There is nothing to see of the shed as this whole area has been redeveloped too

Power house

The sole surviving Great Central building of the goods yard is, surprisingly, the electricity generator and hydraulic power house, on the east of the goods yard site alongside Western Boulevard. Although there were other better looking buildings, such as the goods offices, this has been retained and was converted, first into the “Quay” pub, and then in April 2010 into a Tesco Metro store, shown here.
The freight yard originally made extensive use of hydraulic power, including having hydraulic capstans for moving wagons by rope.

Near Upperton Road

At the south end of the goods yard site the Great Central Way continues south across the bridge over the Old River Soar, which was reconditioned in Spring 2009. This view used to be dominated by Upperton Road viaduct, which was demolished in 2007 (see the Old Photographs: Demolition section) and Upperton Road is now crossed on the flat. The building just visible on the left is the former Great Central Railway wagon repair shop.

Looking north at the bridge over the Old River Soar with the Great Central Way follows the trackbed of the Great Central main line. On the left houses and industrial units have been built on the site of the goods yard.

Old bridge

To the side of the reconditioned bridge over the Old River Soar is one of the bridges which gave rail access to the goods yard, where the houses have now been built.

Upperton Road

Upperton Road passed over the Great Central main line here on a viaduct, but has now been levelled. The Great Central Way foot and cycle path, which follows the track bed, crosses at the pedestrian crossing. The student accommodation block was built in 2011 at the place where the fan of lines entered the goods yard, which was on the left, and is partially hiding the former Great Central wagon repair shop.

Ex-wagon repair shop

The ex-Great Central Railway wagon repair shop, now in industrial use. Previously this was overshadowed on the left by Upperton Road viaduct, but this has now been levelled.

Update August 2011 - A planning request (No. 20110719) has been submitted for “Screening Opinion” (that is whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be required) for a future possible planning application for demolition of the wagon repair shop to make way for student accommodation. The city council decided that an EIA would not be needed.
Campaigners are fighting to save the building.

Ex-wagon repair shop

Another view of the ex-Great Central Railway wagon repair shop, with the Old River Soar in the foreground. Upperton Road viaduct was on the right, and its levelling required the construction of the new concrete bridge. The white building is a new student accommodation block, which has been built on part of the GC trackbed.

GC way

Looking northwards along the Great Central Way just after crossing Upperton Road. In January 2012 the student accommodation block seen in the previous photograph was being extended. The end of the roof of the wagon repair shop is immediately to the right of the new framework.

Chord trackbed

To the south of Upperton Road the track bed of the chord up to the Leicester to Burton branch of the Midland Railway can still be seen, complete with a few railway artefacts like the sleeper on the left. This chord was used in the final years to give trains access to the scrap yards on the site of the former goods yard. Here, looking south, the Great Central Way is on the right.
A temporary chord in a similar location was actually used during the construction of the GCR. A photograph of it from the Newton Collection can be seen at when the surroundings were much more rural. “The Midland Railway: A Chronology” gives the opening date as April 1985.

Shed site

Leicester Central engine shed was situated alongside the chord but all signs of it have been eradicated in the Bede Island redevelopment. In this view from April 2008 the far mound of earth is approximately over the site of the shed, while beyond is the Walkers Stadium, the home of Leiceter City football club.

Leicester North
Abbey Lane Area
North Viaduct
Leicester Central
Braunstone Gate
Goods Yard
Notes for Visitors
Old Photographs

© 2001-2015.   Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.