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LNER Stations

LNER Route: Leicester to Marylebone

Braunston & Willoughby Station

Braunston and Willoughby railway station was located on the former Great Central's main line to London. The station was situated close to the village of Willoughby in Warwickshire and was originally known as Willoughby for Daventry although Daventry itself was some five miles to the south east in Northamptonshire and already had a station of its own on another line, the London & North Western Railway branch line from Weedon to Leamington Spa. Braunston, also in Northamptonshire, lay between the two, approximately two miles away and was also served by the same London & North Western Railway branch line that ran through Daventry. However the Great Central found that it was in fact the village of Braunston which was providing with the majority of business for the new Great Central station. This was recognised by the renaming of the station on 1st January 1904 to Braunston and Willoughby for Daventry. In 1938 the LNER, who subsumed the Great Central together with a number of other railway companies on 1st January 1923, dropped the reference to Daventry resulting in the station finally acquiring the name Braunston and Willoughby which it carried until its closure to passengers and goods on 1st April 1957. The main line itself closed on 5th September 1966 although the station's buildings had already been removed during 1961-2 whilst the island platform remained for a while longer. However, the stationmaster's house remains in use today as a private dwelling.

The station was designed as an island platform, a design typical of many of the stations built on the London Extension as they were very economic in sharing passenger facilities and staffing. What was less common was the station being built on an embankment reached by steps from a roadway, the A45 Coventry to Daventry road, which ran beneath the main line. Most of the station's buildings were located on the embankment to the south of the A45 London Road. There were three flights of steps with the landing area on the platform being covered by a glazed canopy. The station buildings were unchanged throughout the working life of the station offering the following office and passenger accommodation: Station Master's Office, Booking Office and Hall, General Waiting Room, Ladies Waiting Room with toilet and Gentlemen's toilet. Opposite the station, on the up side, was a tall water tower formed by an iron tank sitting on top of brick structure. This supplied the water to the water columns which were strategically located throughout the station, goods yard and refuge and loop sidings. In the booklet 'The Great Central Railway - An outline of Braunston & Willoughby station' compiled and illustrated by Peter and Celia Wortley and Ian Mackenzie on behalf of the Willoughby Society and GCRS, the authors state that the before the line was officially opened coal trains were running which not only brought in valuable revenue but also helped to compact and settle the earthworks. There were ten week day Class B passenger services calling at Braunston & Willoughby with local services to the north - to Rugby, Leicester and Nottingham and local services to the south - to Woodford and Marylebone. On Saturday the number of Class B trains calling at Braunston & Willoughby station increased to twelve.

The goods yard was also accessed from the A45, from the Coventry side of the railway bridge, and had a gated entrance a little distance from the station in order for the approach road to climb up to the sidings. Adjacent to the gated entrance was the weigh bridge and office. There was a refuge siding on the up side of the station similar to that first installed at Rugby Central. Access to this refuge siding was via trailing points which meant that trains had to reverse back into the siding. This was a safety measure as it reduced the chance of point failure when trains passed over them at speed. On the down side and more or less opposite the passenger station was the goods yard which again had a layout similar to that found at Rugby Central. There was a passing loop which combined the facility of a refuge siding with that of a siding for entering and leaving the goods yard. Access to the passing loop was a little more complex as again all the points were of a trailing nature. There was a siding which ran along the boundary of the yard to cattle and carriage docks. Separate to this was another siding which ran the length of the yard and was used for coal and other open wagons. The goods shed was accessed off this siding via another siding in the form of a passing loop. A 'pick up' goods train from each direction would also call at the yard to collect and deliver wagons for local merchants and coal merchants. The down 'pick up' would be from Woodford and call at the station at 10:00 am each weekday and Saturday whilst an up 'pick up' service from Annesley would call at 11:00 am.

Views of Braunstone and Willoughby Station

Looking south along the A45 (London Road) towards Braunston & Willoughby's double span girder bridge
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The Transport Archive
Looking south along the A45 (London Road) towards Braunston & Willoughby's double span girder bridge
Two girls pose for SWA Newton's camera seated at the bottom of the staircase leading up to the station
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The Transport Archive
Two girls pose for SWA Newton's camera seated at the bottom of the staircase leading up to the station
The Station Master's house which was located on the Coventry to London Road near Willoughby village
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The Transport Archive
The Station Master's house which was located on the Coventry to London Road near Willoughby village
View of the flood which isolated Willoughby station from its entrance off the Coventry to London Road
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The Transport Archive
View of the flood which isolated Willoughby station from its entrance off the Coventry to London Road
Looking north towards Rugby from the London end of Braunston & Willoughby station's island platform
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Willoughby Society
Looking north towards Rugby from the London end of Braunston & Willoughby station's island platform

Looking south towards Woodford from the London end of Braunston & Willoughby's island platform
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Stations UK
Looking south towards Woodford from the London end of Braunston & Willoughby's island platform
Looking towards  Coventry along the A45 showing the site of the old Braunston & Willoughby station
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B Brooksbank
Looking towards Coventry along the A45 showing the site of the old Braunston & Willoughby station
View of Braunston & Willoughby station's signal cabin with staff posing for the camera circa 1910
Ref: gcrbw60
The Transport Archive
View of Braunston & Willoughby station's signal cabin with staff posing for the camera circa 1910

Locomotives seen at or near Braunstone and Willoughby Station

Ex-Great Central 2-8-0 Class O4/3 No 6257 is seen passing Braunston & Willoughby on an up goods train circa 1928
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G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 2-8-0 Class O4/3 No 6257 is seen passing Braunston & Willoughby on an up goods train circa 1928
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/4 No 5262 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express circa 1928
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G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/4 No 5262 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express circa 1928
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/2 No 5362 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on a down express circa 1928
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G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/2 No 5362 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on a down express circa 1928
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C5 No 5365 'Sir WM Pollitt passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express
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G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C5 No 5365 'Sir WM Pollitt passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/4 No 5264 passes Willoughby cabin on an up express service circa 1928
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G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/4 No 5264 passes Willoughby cabin on an up express service circa 1928

British Railways Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92076 is seen heading an Annesley to Woodford coal train
Ref: gcrbw228
B Brooksbank
British Railways Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92076 is seen heading an Annesley to Woodford coal train
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/2 No 6094 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express service circa 1928
Ref: gcrbw7
G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-2 Class C4/2 No 6094 passes through Braunston & Willoughby on an up express service circa 1928
Ex-Great Central 4-4-0 Class D10 No 5432 'Sir Edward Fraser' passes through the station on an up express
Ref: gcrbw8
G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-0 Class D10 No 5432 'Sir Edward Fraser' passes through the station on an up express
Ex-Great Central 4-4-0 Class D11/1 No 5504 'Jutland' passes through the station on an up parcels service
Ref: gcrbw2
G Coltas
Ex-Great Central 4-4-0 Class D11/1 No 5504 'Jutland' passes through the station on an up parcels service