For the first time since I went to Worksop two months ago, I ticked one of the few remaining stations off the East Midlands Ranger Area list when I travelled to South Wigston station in Leicestershire on Friday 26th August.
The trip to South Wigston took three trains and two hours. I changed at Tamworth and Nuneaton, where I had a 45 minute layover. I took the opportunity to have a quick wander around Nuneaton town centre while I was there. As I said a year ago when I last stopped off in Nuneaton (on the way to Hinckley), I need to have a proper day out in Nuneaton someday.
As much as I was having fun in Nuneaton, I had to crack on and catch the eastbound service to South Wigston.
The present South Wigston railway station opened on 10th May 1986. There used to be three stations in the area; Wigston South (1840-1962), Wigston Magna (1857-1968) and Wigston Glen Parva (1884-1968). Glen Parva station was the closest to the present station, just 300 yards west of South Wigston. Access to the station is over a bridge which spans the railway lines, with ramps leading to the platforms. There are few facilities; two waiting shelters and help points. Visually, it looks just like Langwith-Whaley Thorns station in Derbyshire.
I exited the station and headed south, through some residential streets, to Blaby Road. This is the main shopping street in the village of South Wigston, which has grown to become almost a suburb of Leicester. The village is relatively new, having been built in the late 19th Century by the owner of a large brickworks, Orson Wright. No-one famous comes from the area, not that I could find, although former Queen bassist John Deacon was born in nearby Oadby. A factory on Canal Street produces McVitie’s biscuits, among other products. Part of the Grand Union Canal flows through the village, and that’s where I was headed.
First of all, though, I had a walk through Blaby Road Park, a public open space with play equipment for children, a skate park for older children and an enclosed dog run, where dogs can run around and sniff each other, if they want to.
The North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College has a campus next to the park, as seen in the second photo above.
South of the park is the Crow Mills Way, a linear path incorporating part of an old railway line. The Crow Mill is an old grain mill which sits in between the canal and the River Sence. It’s now a private home, so I didn’t take a photo of it.
I walked to almost the end of the pathway, then turned around and took the lower level pathway back to the beginning. It was quite busy with people on their lunch break having a stroll or a sit down in the sunshine.
Next up, I headed west on the Grand Union Canal, a canal which I don’t think I have ever been on before.
I exited the canal at Knights Bridge, and headed up a nearby pathway which took me to another park. I didn’t take any more photos, though. As much as I enjoyed my time in South Wigston, it has a terrible graffiti problem, with people spraying their “tags” on anything and everything that is standing. I really don’t see the point of it myself. It’s not just a South Wigston problem; I’ve seen it almost everywhere I’ve been.
It was getting hotter in Leicestershire, and I was tired and hungry, so I stopped off at the Co-op on Blaby Street on my way back to the railway station, from where I caught the train back to Nuneaton, then from there to Tamworth. I can honestly say without exaggeration that I have never caught a train from Tamworth to Burton that hasn’t been delayed, and that day was no exception. I eventually made it back to good old Burton.
That was station number 68 of the 76 East Midlands Railway Area stations. The closest un-visited station is now Shirebrook in Derbyshire, just south of Langwith-Whaley Thorns. Of the eight remaining stations, most of them are now in the east of England, with Crewe the last one in the west.
Thanks very much for reading.