East Midlands Ranger Area Stations #16, #17 & #18 – Nuneaton, Narborough and Leicester

On Friday 7th June 2019, I knocked out another three stations as part of my ongoing East Midlands Ranger Area challenge. In fact, I took six trains to five different stations, but I had been to two of them before.

It was a rainy and windy summer’s morning when I left home to start my journey at Burton on Trent station. Usually, I wait on platform 1 to head north, but I was heading south this time, so I waited on platform 2 for the 0952 service towards Tamworth. It was quite a busy train. I just sat on one of the fold down seats in the vestibule, as I was only going one stop down the line. Ten minutes later, I was in Tamworth.

It was still raining when I got there. Tamworth railway station has both a high and low level, with two platforms on each one. I got a bit confused and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, so I had to go back up the stairs and across to the other side. There were a lot of people waiting on the platform for my next train. It soon arrived, and I boarded. Once again, I just stayed in the doorway, as there weren’t many available seats. Also, I was only going two stops down the line to my next station, and the first unvisited station of the day.

The current Nuneaton station was rebuilt in 1915. It has seven platforms, the last two of which were opened in 2004. I had less than an hour until my next train, so I left the station and had a look around Nuneaton. I had been there before as a child, many years ago. It was still pouring with rain, but I was quite impressed by the town centre. It has a lot of shops, both the usual chain stores and also local businesses. Unlike many towns of similar size, there weren’t many empty shops either. I will definitely try to make a return visit to spend more time there. I also spotted an impressive fountain/sculpture on a roundabout which resembled a giant ball of water.

It was soon time to return to the station. I waited on platform 7, and the train arrived soon after. My next destination was Narborough in Leicestershire.

Narborough station is very impressive for such a small station. It was originally opened in 1864 and closed by Beeching in 1968. The locals were having none of that, though, and it was reopened just under two years later in 1970. It boasts an impressive 400,000 passengers a year, which I assume is mostly commuters to Leicester or Birmingham.

I had an hour to spend in Narborough before my next train. It was raining there as well, but I went out into the village to look for a Tesco Express, to get some lunch. I started off heading in the wrong direction, unsurprisingly. Once I had consulted Google Maps, I turned around and headed off in the right direction. It was about a mile or so from the station, and I had to cross a fairly busy dual carriageway which bisects the village of Narborough. I made it to Tesco and got myself a sandwich and a chocolate flapjack (for the energy; it’s hard work sitting on trains all day).

When I returned to Narborough station, I waited in the waiting room for my train, as it was raining outside. I was reading some information in there about a group which looks after the station called Friends of Narborough Station (FONS), and the work they have done and are continuing to do in order to get more services stopping at their station. I always like it when locals adopt their railway station and are active in maintaining it and campaigning for better services. One thing I didn’t like about the waiting room was how bare and empty it was. They should get some more pictures on the walls, perhaps of the station in bygone days. There is also an old open fireplace which had been sealed off, but I doubt that it could be brought back into use because of health & safety rules.

My train soon arrived and I got on it. Next stop was Leicester, which didn’t take long to get to. I have been to Leicester once before, but not to the railway station. Originally opened in 1840 and rebuilt in 1894, Leicester station is very impressive from the outside, from what I have read. I was only on the inside, though, as I didn’t have a lot of time before I had to catch my fifth and penultimate train of the day. In days gone by, I could have caught a train straight back to Burton from here, but the Ivanhoe Line is now freight-only. There have been several campaigns over the years to restore passenger services on the line, but none of these have come to fruition. Recently, a group from Swadlincote, a town near Burton on Trent, has come together to campaign for the re-opening and reconstruction of now disused stations on the line at Castle Gresley, Ashby de la Zouch, Moira and Coalville.

There isn’t much else to say about the journey, other than I got on the train to Derby and then changed trains for Burton, and then went home. Also, this entry is really long and I wanted to wrap it up. Sorry about the lack of photos; it was raining and also very busy at some stations, so I didn’t want to get my phone out. This will possibly be the last train trip I make for a while, but I will hopefully be back on the rails later on in the summer. Thanks very much for reading.


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