History of Whitwick

Old Station & Railway

Since 1987, Whitwick Historical Group has been based at the Old Station close to the village centre. This unique Victorian station is the last remaining building linked to the former Charnwood Forest Railway. It was built ready for the railway to open in April 1883. In addition to its function as a railway station, part of the building was always a separate commercial enterprise.

The outside features of the Station at street level remain much as they were when constructed by the LNWR. At track bed level, waiting rooms and other facilities have been demolished although remains of the platform can be seen. The interior has been adapted to accommodate WHG, providing space for display cabinets, filing cabinets, book shelves, desks, storage, seating and computers on the two levels.

Whitwick Old Station

Whitwick’s Station Building – Home to Whitwick Historical Group

Whitwick Station was one of four stations on the Charnwood Forest Railway. The others were: Coalville East; Shepshed and Derby Road Loughborough. Later, Halts were added at Thringstone, Grace Dieu and Snells Nook. Unlike the other stations and the halts, Whitwick Station stands in the centre of its community. When the track through the village was laid, several significant alterations were needed: medieval buildings were demolished, part of Castle Mound taken away, a lane closed and the level of the road towards the parish church raised.

Open for eighty years, from 1883 until 1963, the line was just over 10 miles (16.5 km) long linking Coalville to Loughborough. It was single track with passing loops at Coalville East, Whitwick and Shepshed. In Hugglescote, there was a junction with the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway which gave access to London Euston.

Whitwick Station

Whitwick Station from track bed level before demolition of platform buildings in the 1970s

The idea for the railway came from local businessmen, merchants and landowners who wanted to see the area develop. It was constructed with the primary purpose of carrying freight such as coal, stone and bricks but there was also a passenger service which operated until 1931. After this date, popular special excursions occasionally ran on the line. In 1957, “The Charnwood Forester”, pulled by a steam locomotive, was the last train to run along the entire length of the railway.

A Goods Yard was sited beyond the railway bridge but that has been demolished. Sections of the former railway remain as pleasant public footpaths.

Part of the former Charnwood Forest Railway line

Part of the former Charnwood Forest Railway line in Whitwick, now a public footpath