The Hinckley Branch line of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (A&NJR)

The Hinckley Branch line to Stoke Golding that was never used.

Map showing Hinckley and Nuneaton Branch Lines joining just below Stoke Golding
Map showing Hinckley and Nuneaton Branch Lines joining just below Stoke Golding.

1846 The Midland Railway purchased the Ashby Canal for £110,000 which ran along the proposed route of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Line and the Hinckley Branch. The proposal was to speed the transportation of coal that was currently on the canal and move it to the railway.

19 July 1871 during the construction of the Hinckley to Stoke Golding branch line a Roman jar was found that contained 200-300 Roman coins that dated from A69-180, these coins were in very good condition.

23rd September 1872 William Toone who was a labourer on the Hinckley branch was killed when he fell off a ballast wagon that he was riding on at the time.

In 1873 the double track that was laid joined to the Hinckley & Nuneaton L & N.W.R line just out of Hinckley and joined the Nuneaton branch line just south of the Stoke Golding station, the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (A & N.J.R) would then continue through Market Bosworth and on to Moria (near Ashby-de-la-Zouch).

Captain Tyler, a railway inspector visited the line before the opening date to inspect it, he found that at the Hinckley junction of the L & N.W.R the telegraph instruments still had to be fixed as well as the points put in. There was also a need for some spikes required for the chairs on the main line.

27th August 1873 John Crossley the engineer for the line wrote to Captain Tyler to say that the spikes and switches at the Hinckley junction to the L & N.W.R line remain not done. The work was due to be done but it was thought that there would be no inconvenience in excluding it from the opening of the line because the Hinckley line was proposed not to be used.

14th January 1875 Local Hinckley and Stoke Golding residents petitioned for the Hinckley branch line to be opened, but their it was not to be. Under the terms of the Railway Act at that time, it had been necessary to build the Hinckley branch line and connect it up to the L & N.W.R line, but the legal opinion was that it was not necessary to open the line to traffic.

A map from 1886 showing the Hinckley Branch line
A map from 1886 showing the Hinckley Branch line.

1877 there was work on the Hinckley Branch line at the junction where it joins the Nuneaton branch line just south of Stoke Golding. The track was reduced down from a double track to a single track along with some work to the points to reflect this change.

April 1878 There was further legal opinion that had been obtained, this was due to the condition of the Hinckley branch line that was now deteriorating and that nature was taking over the track.

19th October 1888 Officials of the Midland Railway agreed to the recovery of the surplus materials from the line. The track was dismantled for reuse and the wooden sleepers were sold off as firewood.

In 1943 Bridge numbers 4, 5 and 6 were blown up during a military exercise.

During the 1960s the Harrowbrook Industrial Estate was built on the Hinckley end of the line and in later years the Dodwell Industrial Estate was built which has made more of the line disappear.

Throughout the year’s nature has taken a hold of the track bed. Today the old Hinckley branch line can still be seen in areas if you look carefully. There is an embankment that runs alongside the A5 north of the railway bridge and before Paynes Garage. The line can then be followed from the rear of the Tesco Distribution Centre on Dodwells Road (A47). The line goes under Hinckley Lane, Basin Bridge Lane and Higham Lane (Spinney Bank Farm) to just south of Upton Lane which is where the Hinckley and Nuneaton branch lines joined.

Stoke Golding Station still stands at Willow Park, Upton Lane in Stoke Golding.

The slideshow below shows what is left of the Hinckley Branch line today, starting from Hinckley and finishing at Stoke Golding.

Tip: Click on the i (top-left) on the photo viewer for a description of the photo.

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