THE SYSTON AND PETERBOROUGH RAILWAY.
THIS BOOK ON THE LINE IS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON, 122 pages in full colour £12.95
This home page has a brief history of the Syston to Peterborough line, details of the different sections of this web site, a chronology of the line,
a biblography & details of how you can contact me, Peter Smith.
In the early 1980's I did a full survey of the Syston to Peterborough railway, and measured & drew most of the surviving structures. My intention then was to write a book on the line, but in the event the manuscript was never completed and since then all the material has been stored which seems to have made the whole exercise a bit pointless. I have decided to make as much as possible available to modellers & enthusiasts through this web site, with many of the photographs I took in the 1980's, recent ones for a comparison and older black & white pictures from the steam era. Permission to reproduce these was obtained when I was sold the prints some twenty five years ago with a view to including them in the book.
Click on the pages on the orange band at the top of the page for a guided tour of the line:
PAGE 1 SYSTON TO MELTON JUNCTION, INCLUDING SYSTON, REARSBY, BROOKSBY, FRISBY AND ASFORDBY STATIONS.
PAGE 2 MELTON MOWBRAY TO WHISSENDINE INCLUDING SAXBY JUNCTION.
PAGE 3 ASHWELL STATION,THE COTTESMORE BRANCH & LANGHAM JUNCTION.
PAGE 4 OAKHAM INCLUDING THE M.R. PROVENDOR STORE.
PAGE 5 MANTON JUNCTION & PILTON IRONSTONE LINES.
PAGE 6 LUFFENHAM JUNCTION.
PAGE 7 KETTON TO STAMFORD INCLUDING THE KETTON CEMENT WORKS BRANCH AND STAMFORD GNR STATION.
PAGE 8 UFFINGTON TO PETERBOROUGH INCLUDING HELPSTON AND WALTON STATIONS.
PAGE 9 THE SAXBY TO BOURNE BRANCH INCLUDING WYMONDHAM, SOUTH WITHAM AND CASTLE BYTHAM STATIONS.
PAGE 10 TIMETABLES & M.R. LINE DIAGRAMS.
FOR FULL DETAILS OF MELTON MOWBRAY PLEASE GO TO THE COMPANION WEBSITE www.meltonmowbrayrailways.info
THE SITE WAS LAST UPDATED ON JANUARY 23rd 2016
The Syston and Peterborough was promoted by George Hudson as a way of gaining access to East Anglia, and to London by way of the Eastern Counties from Peterborough. Nominally independent, it was worked from the outset by the Midland Railway and was absorbed into that company almost as soon as it opened. The middle part of the line gained importance when the main line from Kettering to Nottingham was opened, prompting significant improvements to that section, but the two extremities remained very much a secondary route with sleepy country stations.
For a Midland line the variety in the architecture is remarkable, for two reasons; the line was early, before M.R. standardisation took over, and because it was buit in three sections with three different architects, Francis Thompson, Sancton Wood & William Parsons. Between Syston & Melton there were Rearsby & Asfordby in Victorian Gothic, red brick with tall gables & chimneys, but Brooksby was totally different due to the influence of nearby Brooksby Hall. Melton station was astonishingly plain compared with Oakham or Stamford, particularly when you consider the use made of it by the hunting set. The Midland tried to tart it up with a portico in 1879, but it didn't really help. Saxby, Whissendine & Ashwell were built to resemble half timbered cottages, and then suddenly at Oakham we are faced with an Italianate station, the work of Thompson. Italianate remains the theme at Manton & Luffenham, but Ketton is in Ecclesiastical Gothic as is Stamford. Uffington & Walton were simple stone cottages, but Helpston was different again, a long single storey stone building in the Gothic style. In this day and age such variety would be unthinkable and it must have cost the shareholders more than was necessary to do the job, but what a glorious set of stations they were!
I can't think of another line on the Midland with such variety in a set of stations built at around the same time......before long the dead hand of Derby would descend and any Midland station from Bristol to Carlisle would look pretty much exactly the same as any other.
When I surveyed the line in the early 1980's most of the signal boxes remained, and as I write in May 2012 remarkably that remains the case, the oldest being Langham Junction which dates from 1890. The line retained the ambiance of the steam era, with gated crossings, semaphore signals and staffed stations. However, the line is now being upgraded to the Continental loading gauge prior to being electrified to take freight trains from Felixtowe to Nuneation by 2014, up to 48 per day.....naturally, BR wanted to close the route in the 1960's! This work has meant that a lot of the bridges have been rebuilt, making the historical record even more important.
The colour photographs show that most of the stations on the line were painted by the LMS after 1936 in their green & stone colour scheme, and that this lasted until closure without being repainted by BR in the regional red and cream colours. I have colour photgraphs showing that Whissendine, Wymondham, Manton, Ketton, Stamford & Helpston were painted in these colours, so it seems reasonable to assume that the other stations were too. Melton Mowbray, however, was certainly in red and cream by 1960, perhaps refelcting it's greater importance.
It is not my intention to give a full history here, as that has been published elsewhere.......a full bibliography is given further down this page. The majority of the photographs on the site were taken by myself between 1982 and 1985. These are my copyright, as are the drawings, and permission should be obtained before reproduction in any form.
A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF THE SYSTON & PETERBOROUGH RAILWAY.
1/7/1840 MIDLAND COUNTIES MAIN LINE OPENED NORTH OF LEICESTER, WITH STATION AT SYSTON.
30/6/1845. SYSTON & PETERBOROUGH ACT PASSED.
1/9/1846 SYSTON TO MELTON MOWBRAY SECTION OPENED TO TEMPORARY STATION AT MELTON ON SITE OF LATER MELTON JUNCTION....STATIONS AT REARSBY, BROOKSBY & ASFORDBY.
2/10/1846 PETERBOROUGH TO STAMFORD SECTION OPENED, OPERATED FIRST BY LNWR, THEN BY EASTERN COUNTIES RAILWAY FROM PETERBOROUGH EAST. TEMPORARY STATION AT STAMFORD EAST OF TUNNEL NEAR LATER STAMFORD JUNCTION. STATIONS AT UFFINGTON, BAINTON GATE, HELPSTON & WALTON.
1/1/1847 FRISBY OPENED.
20/3/1848 MELTON TO STAMFORD SECTION OPENED TO GOODS, INCLUDING 'LORD HARBOROUGH'S CURVE'. OPENED TO PASSENGERS 1/5/1848. STATIONS AT SAXBY, WHISSENDINE, ASHWELL, OAKHAM, MANTON, LUFFENHAM & KETTON.
5/8/1850 GNR MAIN LINE OPENED, RUNNING ALONGSIDE S&P BETWEEN HELPSTON & PETERBOROUGH.
2/6/1851 BRANCH OPENED BY LNWR FROM LUFFENHAM.
1854 SYSTON NORTH CURVE OPENED, USED FOR GOODS & SPECIAL PASSENGER TRAINS.
1/2/1858 MR OPENS 'CRESCENT' STATION IN PETERBOROUGH.....THIS CLOSED ON 1/8/1866.
1/7/1867 STAMFORD JUNCTION OPENED WITH GNR (STAMFORD & ESSENDINE BRANCH).
1874 MR MAIN LINE QUADRUPLED & NEW SYSTON STATION OPENED.
30/6/1879 LNWR/GNR JOINT LINE OPENED, WITH CONNECTION AT MELTON JUNCTION.
1/12/1879 MR MAIN LINE KETTERING TO NOTTINGHAM OPENED TO GOODS, TO PASSENGERS ON 2/2/1880....NEW MANTON JUNCTION STATION.
1883 COTTESMORE IRONSTONE BRANCH OPENED.
28/8/1892 FOUR TRACK SECTION SAXBY TO WYMONDHAM JUNCTION OPENED, NEW SAXBY JUNCTION STATION.
1902 OAKHAM PROVENDOR STORES OPENED (WITH FOUR TRACK SECTION TO LANGHAM JUNCTION OPENED 27/10/1890).
1904. FOUR TRACKS FROM MELTON TO BRENTINGBY WITH WATER TROUGHS.
1919 IRONSTONE PITS OPENED AT PILTON & LUFFENHAM.
1928 KETTON CEMENT WORKS OPNS WITH BRACH TO S&P.
10/11/1941 QUENIBOROUGH STATION & SIGNAL BOX OPENED TO SERVE MUNITIONS FACTORY. BOX CLOSED 19/12/1976.
2/4/1951 REARSBY & ASFORDBY CLOSED TO PASSENGERS (GOODS 4/5/1964).
1/9/1952 UFFINGTON & BARNACK CLOSED (GOODS 17/8/1964).
7/12/1953 WALTON STATION CLOSED.
3/10/1955 WHISSENDINE CLOSED.
2/3/1959 MR BRANCH FROM SAXBY CLOSED TO PASSENGERS WITH M&GNR.
1/2/1960 SPITAL BRIDGE LOCO SHED, PETERBOROUGH, CLOSED...(OPENED 1852).
6/2/1961 SAXBY JUNCTION STATION CLOSED.
3/7/1961 FRISBY & BROOKSBY CLOSED.
6/6/1966 PETERBOROUGH EAST, HELPSTON, KETTON, LUFFENHAM, ASHWELL CLOSED WITH BRANCH TO EX LNWR LINE FROM LUFFENHAM.
1/5/1967 MELTON TO NOTTINGHAM CLOSED, TO BECOME OLD DALBY TEST TRACK.
1974 COTTESMORE BRANCH CLOSED; RUTLAND RAILWAY MUSEUM ESTABLISHED AT COTTESMORE SIDINGS.
1/10/1980 NEW PETERBOROUGH STATION OPENED.
THE MIDLAND RAILWAY, A CHRONOLOGY. JOHN GOUGH RCHS
LEICESTERSHIRE'S STATIONS, AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. ANDREW MOORE LAUREL HOUSE PUBLISHING.
IRONSTONE QUARRIES OF THE EAST MIDLANDS, Vol. V11 RUTLAND & Vol. 1X LEICESTERSHIRE. ERIC TONKS RUNPAST PUBLISHING.
FORGOTTEN RAILWAYS Vol 2, THE EAST MIDLANDS, P. HOWARD ANDERSON DAVID & CHARLES.
REGIONAL HISTORY OF THE RAILWAYS OF GREAT BRITAIN, Vol 9 EAST MIDLANDS ROBIN LELEUX DAVID & CHARLES.
STEAM IN THE EAST MIDLANDS P.H. WELLS IAN ALLEN.
MIDLAND STYLE HMRS.
MIDLAND RECORD Vol. 2 WILD SWAN.
MIDLAND RAILWAY PORTRAIT TRUEMAN & HUNT PLATFORM 5.
A PICTORIAL RECORD OF MIDLAND RAILWAY ARCHITECTURE ANDERSON & FOX O.P.C.
A PICTORIAL RECORD OF L.M.S. ARCHITECTURE ANDERSON & FOX O.P.C.
GREAT RAILWAY BATTLES GEOFFREY BODY SILVER LINK.
BOURNE TO SAXBY JOHN RHODES KMS BOOKS, BOSTON.
GREAT NORTHERN BRANCH LINES TO STAMFORD JOHN RHODES KMS BOOKS, BOSTON.
MIDLAND ALBUM CASSERLEY & DORMAN IAN ALLEN.
THE MIDLAND & GREAT NORTHERN JOINT. JOHN RHODES IAN ALLEN.
RAIL CENTRES - PETERBOROUGH. PETER WASZAK IAN ALLEN.
EAST MIDLANDS BRANCH LINE ALBUM ANTHONY LAMBERT IAN ALLEN.
AN HISTORICAL SURVEY OF SELECTED LMS STATIONS HENDRY & HENDRY O.P.C.
BRITAINS RAILWAYS FROM THE AIR CHRIS LEIGH. IAN ALLEN.
THE COMPANION SITE TO THIS ONE FEATURING THE RAILWAYS OF MELTON MOWBRAY: www.meltonmowbrayrailways.info
FOR INFORMATION ON RAILWAY BUILDING COLOUR SCHEMES: www.stationcolours.info
MY MODEL MAKING BUSINESS SITE: www.kirtleymodels.com
GETTING IN TOUCH.
I welcome comments and suggestions on how to improve and develop the web site.............you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .