Old Photographs: Nottingham to Rugby

Old Photographs Section

This section features photographs of a trip along the remaining stretch of the former Great Central Railway between Rugby and Nottingham a couple of weeks before closure.

Although covering much that is outside the original intention of showing the Great Central Railway around Leicester, these photographs taken on a journey on 17th April 1969 along the full extent of the line then open have been included since they will be of interest to those who know the stations today.

The journey starts at Leicester in the middle and heads to the northern terminus in Nottingham, before heading back southwards, traveling through Leicester and on to the southern terminus at Rugby.

Leicester to Nottingham.

River Soar

On departing north from Leicester Central station our train immediately travelled along the north viaduct. Here we were about to cross the River Soar, looking west, with the area called Frog Island on the left.

Loughborough Central

The first stop was at Loughborough Central station, now the home of the preserved Great Central Railway, here photographed as the train departed.

Loughborough Midland

Crossing the Midland Railway main line on the northern outskirts of Loughborough with the platforms of Loughborough Midland station. Luck was in since a Brush type 4, Co-Co, D1823 was passing heading northwards away from the camera. It was appropriate to see this locomotive here since the Brush works is in the background on the right.
Replacement of the bridge here on which my train was traveling is a major goal of the preserved Great Central Railway.

East Leake

The first stop north of Loughborough was at East Leake, which the train is just approaching. There is another, more detailed, photograph below taken on the return journey.

Rushcliffe Halt

Passing through the then closed platforms of Ruscliffe Halt. This is the destination for current deliveries of gypsum via the Midland main line. Buildings of the Gypsum works can just be made out in the background.

Nottingham Arkwright Street

The train having arrived at Nottingham Arkwright Street. This suburban station had been reopened since the centrally located Victoria station was being demolished and redeveloped as a shopping centre.
Arkwright Street station was on a viaduct (notice the chimneys all around), and appears to have required strengthening by girders along the platform. Only the southbound platform was being used and the train had crossed over to reach this platform from the northbound line opposite.
After all the passengers got off the train departed empty southwards, away from the camera. Vehicles M50626 & M56211.

Nottingham Arkwright Street

Arkwright Street station, looking south, with more reinforcing girders along the platform on the left.

Nottingham Arkwright Street

This interesting sign was lying on the opposite platform.

Nottingham Arkwright Street

The train shortly returned on the correct, northbound, line and headed towards Weekday Cross Junction to gain access to the rest of the railway system.

Nottingham Arkwright Street

The magnificent entrance to Nottingham Arkwright Street station then in use, down at street level.

Nottingham to Leicester.

East Leake

East Leake station, on the return journey south, with the guard/conductor checking the doors after the passengers have got on, before departure.

Belgrave & Birstall

Passing through the then closed Belgrave and Birstall station, which has now been replaced by the newly built Leicester North station.


Entering Leicester Central station, crossing the Northgate Street bridge.


Leicester Central showing the north bay with track removed.


Departing southwards from Leicester Central with the south signal box and the south bay.

 Leicester to Rugby.

Leicester goods

The south goods yard, with coal wagons predominating.

Cl 27 Leicester goods

Bo-Bo D5399 (later class 27) with a train of scrap metal at Leicester goods yard. Looking north with Upperton Road bridge in the distance.

Leicester loco shed

The derelict Leicester Central locomotive shed on the left and the chord line in the foreground, which had been put in a few years before, up to the ex-Midland Railway, Leicester to Burton line.
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 http://www.transportarchive.org.uk/getsingleobject.php?rnum=L1720 when the surroundings were much more rural. “The Midland Railway: A Chronology” gives the opening date as April 1985.


Looking back while passing through the closed Whetstone station.


Crossing the M1 motorway, looking north. The lack of a central safety barrier on the motorway at this time is very evident.


The M1 motorway was built right next to the Great Central line for several miles to the north of Lutterworth, as can be seen here through the driver’s cab.

Ashby Magna

Passengers leaving the train at Ashby Magna station.

Ashby Magna

About to enter the very short Ashby Magna tunnel.


Entering Lutterworth station.


Crossing the “bird cage” viaduct at Rugby over the ex-LNWR main line, looking north towards Rugby ex-LMS station..


After alighting at Rugby Central Station the train traveled south for a few hundred yards before returning into the northbound platform


At Rugby Central, the train is now ready in the northbound platform for the next service back to Nottingham, while a unit composed of M50763, M59310, and M50798 is in the siding.


Rugby Central Station entrance at road level.

 Rugby to Leicester.


Before taking the train to Leicester, passengers had to wait while the train which had arrived from Leicester ran round from the southbound platform to the northbound. Here the train is just entering the northbound platform.

Entering Leicester

Entering Leicester from the south, the train is about to cross Braunstone Gate bridge (the “Bowstring bridge”). On the right are lorries of BRS (British Road Services), which had taken over the GCR goods depot, behind which is the Kirby & West milk bottling plant, and in the distance the Pex hosiery factory.


Back at Leicester Central Station, after alighting, the train heads off towards Nottingham again across the north viaduct. The out-of-use colour light signals have all been turned sideways.

Old Photographs Section

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.