Railways in Northamptonshire
The Government's announcement that it has awarded a new franchise for the East Midlands railway line is the latest chapter in the long story of the railways in Northamptonshire. These notes and links may help you discover more.
The first railway in the county was built at Blisworth Hill in 1800 to connect two portions of the Grand Junction Canal. So writes Enjoy Northamptonshire's Heritage, the County Council's website about historical events and places in the County - and well worth a visit ... many visits!
The London and Birmingham Railway opened on a route through the county in 1838. At first, passengers from Northampton had to make their way to Roade Station because the engineers considered any route in and out of Northampton itself too steep for railway engines.
In 1845, however, the Northampton and Peterborough Railway allowed passengers to travel from the town to Blisworth and so to connect to the London and Birmingham Railway there. In the other direction, the line seved the towns of the Nene valley like Wellingborough, Thrapston and Oundle. A branch line reached into Rushden. Discover more at Rushden Transport Museum & Railway and on this page about Thrapson Station.
1859 saw the opening of another line from Northampton, travelling to Market Harborough. (see: Wikipedia). You can walk or ride part of that line today, now designated the Brampton Valley Way. It includes two long tunnels which are fun to explore. For part of its route, this Rail Trail runs alongside the Northampton & Lamport Railway which offers heritage steam train rides and much more.
The section of the Midland Railway serving Wellingborough and Kettering was constructed during the 1850s under the direction of Thomas Brassey as part of a project for a rail route from Leicester to Hitchin and so on to London. The first train from Kettering to Leicester ran on 7th May 1847 (see: Project Kettering)
Construction drew attention to substantial ironstone deposits in the area and in 1866, the Kettering, Thrapston and Huntingdon Railway was opened for the transport of iron ore and agricultural produce as well as passengers. (see: Wikipedia).
There were other railways for the transport of iron ore, including those at Hunsbury Hill, and Irchester (where there is a museum and at Scaldwell, Kettering and Wellingborough (see: The Industrial Railway Record
As noted, this page is intended to help readers kick-start their own enquiries. If you discover anything interesting, please share it in our Facebook Group
Watford Gap, West Coast Main Line