East Midlands Ranger Area Stations #69 & #70 – Swinderby and Hykeham

I’m getting ever closer to completing all 76 stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area, and two of them were ticked off the list on Monday 19th September 2022. It was a long trek to Lincolnshire to visit the two stations between Collingham and Lincoln; Swinderby and Hykeham.

I caught the train from Burton on Trent to Nottingham, from where I caught the East Midlands Railway service bound for Grimsby via Lincoln. It took around forty minutes to arrive at Swinderby, where I alighted.

Swinderby railway station first opened in August 1846 on the Nottingham-Lincoln line. The station building is now a private house, and the waiting shelter and signal box are still in use. The crossing barriers are manually operated; a man sits in the signal box and comes out to move the barriers as and when required, which amused me. In this day and age of automation, they still have to pay someone to operate the barriers!

The station sees around 17,000 passengers annually (in non-virus times), and serves several nearby villages including Morton Hall, North and South Scarle and Swinderby itself. It is an isolated station, with no facilities apart from a car park to the south west.

My plan was to walk to Swinderby (around 15-20 minutes from the station), hang around for a short while and then walk back up to the station to catch the next train to Hykeham. A country lane leads from the station to the village itself.

Swinderby has a history dating back to Roman times, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086). It has a church, All Saints and a nearby school. There is also a pub, The Plough, and a village hall. The population at the 2011 census was around 648. I didn’t spend much time in Swinderby, as I had a train to catch back at the station.

Unusually, the train arrived a few minutes early, and I rode it one stop to Hykeham station, located in North Hykeham.

Hykeham railway station serves the town of North Hykeham, to the south west of the city of Lincoln. It opened in August 1846, and it has been extensively remodelled since then. All of the original station buildings are now gone, and in 1984, one of the platforms was moved to the other side of the level crossing which cuts through the station. Various improvements have recently been made to the station, as well as an increase in train services. There is step-free access to both platforms via a ramp, and a help point with a screen giving information on train times, which I have never seen before.

My first destination was the Millennium Green, a small lake with a perimeter footpath around it. Judging by the name, it was created around the turn of the new millennium.

Next to the lake is a new housing estate, which was once the site of a foundry, known locally as “The Malleable”, which operated for almost a century making iron castings for agriculture and railways, until it closed in 2006. The influx of workers to the foundry helped the rural village of North Hykeham grow to become a town in 1974. The estate’s streets bear names relating to its historical use, including Ferrous Way and Furnace Close.

I had planned a visit to Whisby Nature Park on the west end of the town, but it was further away than I thought it would be, and I would have missed my train back, so I abandoned that idea and just had a walk around the town instead.

After walking around a small park, I thought it was about time to go home, so I walked back to the railway station and caught the train back to Nottingham, and then the next train back to good old Burton on Trent. That’s seventy stations ticked off, which means there’s just six left to do (Crewe, Elton & Orston, Lincoln, Peterborough, Shirebrook and Stamford). I don’t know when they will be done, but I do know that you can find out when they are by following the blog on social media. Thanks for reading.