Website updated on January 22nd 2016 HITS COUNTER
This website traces the history of the railways of Melton Mowbray from the earliest times up to the present day, illustrating as much as possible with photographs, plans and drawings.
There are 11 pages in all; you may need to scroll along the menu bar to access them all.
You may also be interested in the companion website www.systonandpeterborough.co.uk
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON AT £14.95 144 pages in full colour.
The first railway to reach Melton Mowbray was the Syston and Peterborough Railway from Syston, where it made a junction with the Midland Counties line from Leicester. Promoted by George Hudson, the line became part of the Midland Railway and was opened to a temporary station near the Dalby Road bridge on 1st September 1846 to goods and passengers. This station served the town until the section to Oakham and beyond was opened on 20th March 1848 to goods and to passengers on 1st May the same year; the building of this section had been delayed by the opposition of Lord Harborough of Stapleford Hall. With the opening of this section of line also came the permanent station, the one that still serves the town to this day.
The Syston and Peterborough line was a fairly unimportant cross country route and life was pretty uneventful until the later 1870's when the town suddenly found itself not only with a second station, but also on the Midland main line from London to Scotland. The new station was on the Great Northern and London & North Western Railways joint line from Nottingham London Road to Leicester Belgrave Road and Market Harborough, and architecturally it put the first station in the shade, so much so that the Midland quickly stuck a fancy portico on the from to make their station look more impressive! The new station opened in September 1879.
The new main line was built by the Midland to allow trains to avoid Leicester, and involved a new line from Kettering to Manton Junction with another from Melton Junction to Nottingham...thus Melton Junction came into being, opening on 1st November 1879 to goods and on 2nd February 1880 to passengers. The new line made the section from Melton Junction to Manton much busier, as much with coal trains as passenger traffic, and few of the new passenger trains stopped at Melton anyway. To keep pace with the increased traffic, goods loops were installed in 1904 to the east of Melton M.R. station as far as Brentingby crossing, and on this section water troughs were put in all four line tracks in 1905.
British Railways came into being in 1948, and to avoid confusion the two Melton stations were renamed Melton Town and Melton North in 1950 but it was clear that passenger traffic on the Joint line was not sufficient to justify keeping the stations on the route open and Melton North closed on to all passenger traffic other than holiday excursions in the Summer on December 5th 1953. The last holiday excursion ran on 9th September 1962, though goods traffic remained heavy, keeping the station yard busy until complete closure on 29th May 1964. The station site was cleared during 1970.
The Midland main line to Nottingham closed to passenger traffic on 1st May 1967 and totally as a through route on 4th November 1968 but it was retained as far as Edwalton as the Old Dalby test track meaning that Melton Junction remains on the railway map. There was talk in the 1960's of closing the Syston and Peterborough line as well, but thankfully sanity prevailed and as is so often the case the first line to be opened is the one that remains in use, and the 1848 Midland station continues to serve the town with an hourly stopping service in each direction. Freight traffic is busy over the line, and during 2010/11 it is being upgraded to allow the runnning of freight trains with Continental loading gauge containers from Felixtowe docks. This has seen the loss of some of the old infrastructure, but it means that the line has a vibrant future as an important freight artery.
A grimy BR Standard 4-6-0 lays down a smoke screen as it leaves Melton during August 1963. Photo by Terry Tracey.
A mixed freight runs through Melton Town station in August 1963 behind 01 class 2-8-0 63687.
More detail about the stations and junctions is included on the appropriate pages.
The imposing GNR and LNWR Joint station at Melton in about 1920, at which time it outclassed the Midland station for passenger comfort.
A train from the M&GNR line to Norfolk stands at Melton Mowbray station in 1934, behind 4-4-0 No 2. It would work through to Leicester or Nottingham.
Melton in the 1990's; Class 47 diesel 47311 on a train of wagons used by Pedigree Petfoods.
Sadly the use of rail by the company was short lived, though the siding into the factory remains in place. 19/9/1991.
Two class 170 diesel units pass at Melton Mowbray station at 9.35am on June 24th 2011. Work to refurbish the station is well underway.