Along the former Leicester and Swannington Railway from West Bridge to Desford, 1960s.

Here there is a single photograph of a train on this branch which closed in April 1966, but more photographs of the infrastructure before it all disappeared.

Train between Leicester West Bridge and Desford Juncton

Robert Stephenson design lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, 1965

Train from Leicester West Bridge towards Desford Junction near Glenfield on the former Leicester and Swannington Railway.


1-of-17) 2-6-0 78028 approaches Mill Lane level crossing, Glenfield, with a train from Leicester West Bridge towards Desford Junction on the former Leicester and Swannington Railway, 22/2/64.

This photograph is from the second film through my first camera, an Instamatic 100.  I had been hoping to photograph one of the ancient ex-Midland 2F 0-6-0 locomotives, but these had recently been withdrawn to be replaced by two of these Standard 2-6-0s with cut-down cab so that they could travel through Glenfield Tunnel.

Since this was a simple camera and the day was dull the negative is very thin and over the years has become badly scratched.  However with the help of a modern scanner and Photoshop a reasonable image has been produced which may be of interest.

Robert Stephenson design lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


2-of-17) Railway lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965.  Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it was based on a design by Robert Stephenson.

This bridge was removed and later rebuilt next to Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester.  It was then moved again and rebuilt at Snibston Discovery Museum in Coalville, where the wood (not all original) was starting to deteriorate.  With the closure of the Snibston Museum the bridge (or at least the metal components) is in store by Leicester City Museums.

Robert Stephenson design lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


3-of-17) Railway lifting bridge over the Grand Union Canal leading to wharfs and the warehouse ahead, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965.  Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it was based on a design by Robert Stephenson, and is here out of use and raised on wooden blocks.  Presumably it was normally raised and lowered manually, possibly by a hand crank.

The sign on the bridge reads “LMS    Wagons of greater capacity than 12 tons must not cross this bridge    By order”.
So movement of wagons would have been by using horses, and locomotives would never have crossed this bridge.

Robert Stephenson design lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


4-of-17) Railway lifting bridge over the Grand Union Canal leading to wharfs and a warehouse behind the photographer, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965. Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it was based on a design by Robert Stephenson, and is here out of use and raised on wooden blocks.

The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


5-of-17) The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Leicester West Bridge end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, shortly after the track was taken up, 7/4/1968.
This portal was later sealed and buried.  Houses now cover this area.

The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


6-of-17) The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Leicester West Bridge end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, shortly after the track was taken up, 7/4/1968.
This portal was later sealed and buried.  Houses now cover this area.

The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


7-of-17) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Glenfield end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 14/3/1967.
This portal was later sealed but has a locked door to allow access to the tunnel.

The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel, Leicester and Swannington Railway.


8-of-17) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Glenfield end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 14/3/1967.
The siding on the left leads to the Glenfield Coal & Coke Co.

The derelict Glenfield Station, on the ex-Leicester and Swannington Railway.


9-of-17) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel and the derelict Glenfield Station, Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 4/3/1967.
Passenger services had ended in September 1928, nearly 40 years previously, though the station building was retained for use as a goods office until 1965.

Stored wagon pushed by vandals towards Glenfield


10-of-17) According to a local resident, this wagon, one of several stored on the line near Groby Quarry junction, had its brakes released by vandals and was pushed towards Glenfield. Fortunately, at Mill Lane level crossing the wagon was halted when the wheel flanges got stuck in mud. 4/3/1967.

The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. office building


11-of-17) The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. was sited alongside the railway between Glenfield and Ratby.  This appears to be an office building. 29/4/1967.

The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. brickworks


12-of-17) The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. brickworks alongside the railway between Glenfield and Ratby.  On the left are three kilns. 29/4/1967.

Stored wagons by the branch to Groby quarries


13-of-17) Stored wagons between Glenfield & Ratby, looking east, 4/3/1967.
The middle track of the complicated point leads in the distance out of the picture to the left and led to the Groby granite quarries.

The truncated branch to Groby Quarries from the ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, near Glenfield


14-of-17) The truncated branch to Groby Quarries from the ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, near Glenfield, 4/3/1967.

The platform of Ratby station, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway


15-of-17) The platform of Ratby station, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, looking east, 10/7/1967.
The white building on the left is the Railway Inn.

Level crossing between Ratby and Desford, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway


16-of-17) Level crossing over Desford Lane, between Ratby and Desford, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, looking east towards Ratby, 10/7/1967.

The closed station at Desford


17-of-17) Desford ex-Midland Railway station and station-master’s house after closure to passengers, 10/7/1967.
Note that although the platform edge has been cut back the original low height platform in front of the buildings and its transition to the normal height of the platform extension can be easily seen.

Along the line from Glenfield Tunnel to Desford Junction, 1965 & 1968

88px-CC-BY-SA_icon.svgThe photographs in these railway photograph galleries are available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.  Attribution should include a link to www.nigeltout.com.

Leicester West Bridge Branch