INDEX

Introduction
Bottesford and Redmile
The Barnstone Branch
Harby & Stathern
Long Clawson & Hose
Scalford, Waltham on the Wolds

Melton Mowbray
Great Dalby

John O'Gaunt, Marefield and Tilton

East Norton, Hallaton and Medbourne

Nottingham London Road
Leicester Belgrave Road and the GNR spur

The Iron Ore Branches
Miscellany
Links

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Great Northern Railway and London & North Western Railway Joint Line from Market Harborough to Bottesford and Saxondale via Melton Mowbray

The Barnstone Branch

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This branch left the Great Northern Railway - Nottingham to Grantham line at Saxondale Junction, which was one and a half miles west of Bingham Station (G.N.). There had been difficulty about the Joint Line at Bingham, more than one projected route had been advanced; two of which would have taken the line through the town, one to join the Great Northern east of their station, another to connect west of the station. Neither proposals suited the Great Northern, the principle reason being that they would not agree to sharing the town traffic on a basis of a full use of all facilities in the case of the joint Line coming in east of the station. The other proposal to join west of the station was equally objectionable, because the passenger stations would have been practically side by side and the goods yards close. Even then the town authorities did not like the idea of two level crossings within yards of one another, and so Saxondale was the chosen site.

With the opening of the Joint Line, Saxondale Junction led to some improvements to the Great Northern line, an additional up and down line was put in running towards Nottingham, the Joint Line connecting with all four lines. When these proposals were made the local landlord claimed services, which were turned down by the Committee, but the line which would have served as a private siding became the Joint Line goods yard for Bingham. It had the barest facilities, no goods shed or weigh-bridge and was known locally as "Lord Carnarvon's siding" in some kind of perpetuation of his lordships wish for a siding of his own.

A short distance from Saxondale Junction the Joint Line passes over the Leicester to Newark Road and the entrance to the Saxondale goods yard was just to the south of the bridge. The embankment east of the road bridge was removed in 1972 to make way for a housing estate. 

Bingham, Bingham Road Station

Seventy-three chains east of the junction the Joint Line's Bingham Road Station was sited at the point where the line crossed the Nottingham to Grantham public road in a fairly rural setting and stood little chance of competing with the more central GNR station. A passenger timetable for 1939 provided only four trains to Nottingham and five trains in the up direction and no Sunday service. The station finally closed in June 1951 and its location is now the start of a nature trail..

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Barnstone Station

Two and a half miles beyond Bingham Road was Barnstone Station. This was built on the north side of the road from Granby to Barnstone and was of standard design. Barnstone station was opened in 1879 for goods on 30th June, and passengers 1st September. There was a small goods yard with a dock for cattle pens and a cart weighbridge and office near the entrance gate. Most of the goods traffic was agricultural produce and livestock. The traffic at this station was much in keeping with the other country stations, but three quarters of a mile south were sidings to a large lime works. During world war II traffic for Langar aerodrome was dealt with here. Passenger services ceased on 7th December 1953, but goods traffic was worked until 10th September 1962 when the line between Saxondale Junction and Barnstone lime Sidings was closed.

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Barnstone limestone sidings

The entrance to the works was controlled by a ground frame on the down line only. These works kept the branch open for a couple of years after most of the joint Line was closed. The two sidings were adjacent to the Down line with a single line curving away westwards to the works. Traces of old workings show that lime had been worked in this area for a long time, and The Barnstone Blue Lias Company was formed in 1878. In 1885 it began to make Portland Cement on a small scale, expanding gradually and installing new rotary kilns until 1900. By 1923, with increasing demand for cement, the name of the company was changed to Barnstone Cement Company. A new plant was built nearby in 1928, but lime was still produced for agricultural use and despatched countrywide for use in restoring churches and stately homes, etc. Absorbed into the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd by 1942, it eventually became Blue Circle Cement. The works provided employment for most people in the village, 80% of the houses being company-owned after world war II. However a decline set in during the 1960s and the works were mothballed in 1969 and maintained by a staff of four for a year when it reopened again. The Lime Sidings opened 31st May 1880 and closed 1968.

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Map showing the northern end of the joint line during WWII

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