Friday, April 28, 2017

Loughborough Derby Road and the power of hats


How many railway stations did Loughborough have?

There is the one on the Midland main line and the one on the now preserved Great Central, of course, but there used to be a third one, Loughborough Derby Road.

This was the terminus of the Charnwood Forest Railway, which ran as far as Coalville to tap the Leicestershire coalfield.

After an attempt to draw trippers to its forest locations, it closed to passengers on 13 April 1931 and to goods services on 12 December 1963.

Railway Maniac has a good page on its Loughborough terminus.

I was in the town last Saturday, but I was afraid I had left things too late. Back in December 2015 the Loughborough Echo reported that the last vestige of the station, its goods shed, faced demolition.

Having taking my time getting there, I was afraid I would be too late. But I was not. It was still there.

The photographs here show the goods shed, as well as the old station hotel. This, rather alarmingly, combines a funeral director’s premises with flats.

But I would not have been surprised if I had remembered that the Leicester Mercury once won my Headline of the Day Award with its ‘Plans to turn former Loughborough pub into mortuary with flats above’.

The site of the station itself must be occupied by a now disused filling station.

Finally, a note on the power of hats.

When I was in Finedon some years ago I was taken as a historian because of my flat cap.

At Loughborough two small boys approached me, called me "sir" and asked if I was an explorer. I think it was my straw hat.

They told me that homeless people were living in another disused industrial building on the site and showed me a hole in the fence. But I decided to leave any further exploring to them,

When I told this story at work someone, surprised by the "sir", suggested the boys had been ghosts. But I am almost certain he is wrong.





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