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The Battlefield Line Railway is a heritage railway in Leicestershiremarker, Englandmarker. It runs from Shackerstonemarker (Grid ref ) to Shentonmarker ( ), via Market Bosworthmarker, a total of four and a half miles. Shenton is near Bosworth Fieldmarker, (the location of the final battle of the Wars of the Roses immortalised in Shakespeare's Richard III), giving the railway its name. There are plans to extend beyond shenton to Higham on the Hill via Stoke Golding as finances allow.

Overview

Shackerstone station
The railway runs steam and diesel-hauled trains every weekend from April to October, as well as a summer mid-week service on Wednesdays in July and August; the latter is operated by their Heartlander diesel railcar service. They also operate special events: the Christmas Santa Specials (which operate on all weekends throughout December) and the annual diesel galas. Family focused events are held throughout the year; "Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine", "Postman Pat Day", and "Ivor the Engine" and Shackerstone Family Festival in September.

History

The railway used to be part of the London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway, who operated the line jointly between Moira West Junction and Nuneatonmarker. The first trains ran along this section in 1873. At Shackerstone station, there was once a junction where one section branched off towards Moiramarker and Ashbymarker and the other went towards Coalville Junction. In 1883, the Charnwood Forest Railway was opened, which extended the branch from Coalville Junction to Loughborough's Derby Road station, passing through the villages of Whitwickmarker and Shepshedmarker. In the 1923 Grouping, these lines were assigned to the London Midland and Scottish Railway. In 1931 the last scheduled passenger train went down the Charnwood Forest branch, with the line then only being open to freight and excursions until the 1960s. The Coalville Junction – Shackerstone section was dismantled and closed completely in 1964. The Ashby – Nuneaton line had its last passenger service in 1965, which was an enthusiasts' special, before British Rail pulled the rails up in 1970.In its heyday, Shackerstone was a busy station, with steam trains doing the workings between Ashby and Nuneaton, whilst a railcar did the service between Shackerstone and Loughborough Derby Road.

The line was originally double track but was later singled. Confusingly, part of the line was called the Bluebell Line (the Charnwood Forest Line, Hugglescote to Loughborough Derby Road station; this line was only accessible via the ANJR).

The royal train now in the National Railway Museummarker went to Shackerstone on its first outing in December 1902. It conveyed King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria on their way to Gopsallmarker Hall, where Handel is reputed to have composed his oratorio Messiah.

Renovation project

The Shackerstone Railway Society was set up in 1969 at Market Bosworth, but soon moved to Shackerstone in 1970, as they needed a proper home for their first steam engine. When they got to Shackerstone they found one through line still intact, and their first aim was to build some sidings. Later they reinstated the "down" platform and connected the sidings to the line to Market Bosworth.

In 1973, to celebrate the centenary of the line, a small train of open wagons was hauled to Market Bosworth. Following the successful conclusions of the negotiations with British Rail, a start was made on track rearrangements which created run-round loops at both ends of the line and a number of sidings at Shackerstone.

In the 1980s, the Battlefield Line launched a campaign to extend their line to Shenton. This involved buying one and a half miles of track and in 1992 after a successful campaign, the inaugural service arrived, hauled by the appropriately named 0-6-0 tank engine "Richard III."

Journey

Leaving the platforms at , the first sight to be seen from the train is the old goods yard. This is situated on the right-hand side of the running lines. This first section of the journey is located on a climbing gradient which continues until the train is clear of the station limits. Near the goods yard, passengers can see the Station House (now a private residence). Approaching the signal box, the train passes a large building. This is the steam locomotive and carriage shed. The signal box, situated on the left of the train, is passed shortly, and once the driver has received the single line token, the train may proceed into the section. The signal box is the oldest Midland Railway Co. type one box still in operational use. Once past the shed the steam locomotive yard is in view. The chassis of 0-6-0 RSH No3 "Richard III" is a current project and can be seen on the 1st Road at the back of the shed. Passengers can also (from the train) see the inspection pit and preparation area. Continuing further up the gradient, the train shortly passes the railway's DMU siding on which are usually stored the 2-car 'hybrid' set and the Bubblecar. Behind these stand other items of railway origin which are either in store or awaiting overhaul/restoration. Locomotives to be seen from the train in this siding are currently Class 45 (45 015), Class 31 (31 461) and Ruston shunter "Hercules".

Once the end of the "DMU Siding" is reached, the train passes under the first bridge which carries the road to Barton-in-the-Beans over the railway. From here on, the railway passes into open farmland and countryside. Here, the track changes from the left-hand side of the trackbed, to the right-hand side. The railway curves to the left here on a long sweeping curve which takes the train under James Farm Bridge and on towards Hedley's Farm Crossing. It then crosses a separate foot-crossing, at each of which locomotives must give a warning whistle.

After the crossings, the track straightens for a while. On the left can be seen the Italianate style church tower of Carlton and shortly after this the Market Bosworth golf course can be sighted under construction.

Market Bosworth and beyond

A local private airstrip can be seen on the left. The approach to Market Bosworth, three miles from Shackerstone, is on a sweeping right-hand curve. To the right of the train can be seen new housing developments whilst the left-hand side has countryside scenery. Market Bosworth station is soon approached and trains pass under the Station Bridge which carries the main road into Market Bosworth over the line. The train passes through the disused platforms.

To the left-hand side of the train here there are usually stored locomotives or wagons. To the right can be seen the old buildings and signal box which used to control part of the operation of the station.

Once clear of Market Bosworth station, the train accelerates again towards Far Coton road bridge and then passes into a left-hand curve in a cutting. Out of the cutting, the train continues on a long, straight section of track on top of an embankment. To the right hand side can be seen Aqueduct Cottage and the actual Ashby Canal aqueduct beyond it. Trains slow as they cross the bridge which carries over the road between Shenton Village and Sutton Cheney. As the line curves to the right slightly, the train approaches Shenton Station, just over away from Shackerstone.

The trains slow to enter the platform and the station pottery and car park can be seen to the right. The pottery is the only surviving part of the original station. The current station is the reconstructed Humberstone Road station from Leicester. To the left, the "Flag of the Boar" can be seen flying above the field on which the Battle of Bosworth was fought. Shenton station is a convenient starting point for walks in the Battlefield Country Park.

At the end of the line is a headshunt underneath an old cattle bridge. The small bridge was previously used to allow safe passage of farm traffic over the route of the old Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway. Evidence of the old line between Shenton and Higham on the Hill via Stoke Golding still exists though due to financial issues, no current extension work has currently been planned.

Steam locomotives

The members of the small steam fleet at Shackerstone are usually industrial shunting Tank Engines because larger types aren't required.

Operational

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
No.9449

The Blue Circle
Aveling and Porter

2-2-0WT
The locomotive is currently operational and is steamed on selected occasions throughout the season. The engine received various repairs and mechanical improvements during the winter of 2008-2009 to aid better running. The engine is also steamed on Thomas events as she plays the character "Fergus" BCC Blue. Private Owner. 1926
No. 1306

Mayflower
LNER Thompson Class B1

4-6-0
61306 was built at North British, Glasgowmarker and delivered after Nationalisation of the four British railway companies. Spending most of her career at Hullmarker sheds, she was withdrawn in 1967 and went into preservation at Steamtown, Carnforthmarker where she was given a fictional LNER Guise and the name Mayflower, previously held by classmate 61379. In 1978 Railfan Gerald Boden purchased her for active use and sent her to the Great Central Railway, but when an overhaul was required she moved to the Nene Valley Railwaymarker in 1989 for completion. She is currently used on certain days of the year and frequently on special event days. Boiler ticket expires in 2011. LNER Apple Green. Private Owner. 1948


Undergoing overhaul, restoration or repairs

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
Waleswood Hudswell Clarke

0-4-0ST
N/A. Private Owner. 1906 ~
Sir Gomer Peckett and Sons 0-6-0ST This locomotive is currently undergoing a full overhaul, due to be completed as soon as possible. The frames of the engine have been receiving attention at Shackerstone Works whilst the boiler has been sent to Wales to receive contracted repairs. The engine's saddle tank and cab also remain at Shackerstone. Upon the return of the boiler it will be reunited with its frames before reconstruction of the engine begins. Lined Green. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1932
No. 3

Richard III
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns

0-6-0T
This locomotive is currently 2nd in the queue for overhaul at Shackerstone Works, behind the flagship locomotive No1859 "Sir Gomer" (currently undergoing her overhaul). Once "Sir Gomer"s overhaul is complete, the focus will be on "Richard III". Therefore, when "Sir Gomer"s boiler ticket expires it is hoped that "Richard III" will be back in steam & ready to step in to replace her. "Richard III"s boiler has already been sent away for work. Light Blue. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1949


Stored or static

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
Lamport

No.
3
W.G. Bagnall

0-6-0ST
Although 'out of ticket', "Lamport No3" has been kept inside Shackerstone Works to shield her from the elements Lined Green. Leicester Industrial Locomotive Group. 1942 ~
No. 7 Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST Having not steamed since the early days of the railway, this locomotive has been stored in the North End Yard in recent years N/A. Private Owner. 1949 ~


Diesel shunters

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery
No. 9921 'Caroline'/'Rusty' Motor Rail Simplex Only used on special events because of its size. Non-operational due to clutch failure (Privately owned). Primer Grey
Hercules Ruston 0-4-0 Currently undergoing bearing work and a bodywork overhaul (Railway owned) Yellow and Pink
No. 2 Nancy Ruston Hornsby 0-4-0 Operational but does not see much use (Privately owned) Dark Blue
6684 Hunslet Stored out of use (Privately owned) N/A
No. 8431 Stephenson English Electric Stored out of use (Privately owned) Orange
Big Momma Barclay Shunter 0-6-0 Stored out of use at Market Bosworth station (Privately owned) Light Green
No 422 Hot Wheels Andrew Barclay Stored out of use at Market Bosworth station (Privately owned) Blue
No. D2867 Diane Class 02 Operational-Regularly used as shed shunter for steam locomotive department (Privately owned) BR Green
No. 03170 Class 03 Operational and used regularly (Railway owned) BR Blue
No 03180. Class 03 Stored out of use (Railway owned) BR Blue
No. 11215 Class 04 Out of service, undergoing engine refit inside the steam locomotive shed in front of "Waleswood" (Railway owned) BR Black
No. 04110 (D2310) Class 04 Operational (Railway owned) BR Blue
No. 13236 Class 08 On loan to the Bluebell Railwaymarker BR Black
No. 08576 Class 08 Awaiting restoration (Railway owned) BR Blue
No. 08825 Class 08 Stored out of use (Railway owned) BR Blue
No. 12083 Class 11 Under restoration (Privately owned) BR Blue


Ex. mainline heritage diesels

Despite being a relatively short route, the Battlefield Line host 2 intensive diesel galas each year which run a dozen or more or these locomotives throughout a single weekend.

Operational

Number & Name Description History & Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
No. 31101 British Rail Class 31

A1A-A1A
BR Rail Blue marker Suburban Preservation. 1958
No. 31130

Calder Hall Power Station
British Rail Class 31

A1A-A1A
Railfreight Trainload Coal. Suburban Preservation. 1959
No. D6508

Eastleigh
British Rail Class 33

Bo-Bo
BR Green. Private Owner. 1960 ~
No. 33019

Griffon
British Rail Class 33

Bo-Bo
DCE Grey & Yellow. Private Owner. 1960
No. 33053 British Rail Class 33

Bo-Bo
BR Rail Blue. Private Owner. 1961 ~
No. D5217 British Rail Class 25

Bo-Bo
BR Green. Private Owner. 1963 ~
No. 37905

Mirrlees Pioneer
British Rail Class 37

Co-Co
Railfreight Trainload Metals. Private Owner. 1963 ~
No. 37227 British Rail Class 37

Co-Co
Railfreight Trainload Metals. Private Owner. 1964 ~
No. 47640

University of Strathclyde
British Rail Class 47

Co-Co
BR Large Logo Blue. Private Owner. 1966 ~


Undergoing overhaul, restoration or repairs

Number & Name Description History & Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
No. 56086

The Magistrate's Association
British Rail Class 56

Co-Co
Railfreight Triple Grey. Private Owner. 1980


Stored or Static



Diesel multiple units

Number & Name Description History & Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
Number & Name Description Current Status Livery
DMBS No 51131 Class 116 Operational, used with No 51321 on passenger trains regularly (Privately owned). BR Blue
DMS No 51321 Class 118 Operational, used with 51131 on passenger trains, operates regularly (Privately owned). BR Blue
DMBS No 55005. Class 122 Non-operational, awaiting bodywork repairs and a repaint (Privately owned). BR Green c/w cats whiskers


Coach stock

BR coaches

Passenger trains are currently run exclusively by ex.British Railways passenger stock.
Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Photograph
No. E1104 Mk1 RF Operational, converted into a Griddle Buffet. BR Lined Maroon. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1952 ~
No. W92957 Mk1 BG Operational. BR Rail Blue (Newspapers). Suburban Preservation. 1957 ~
No. 81428 Mk1 BG Operational. Chocolate and Cream/Carmine and Cream. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1957 ~
No. 81470 Mk1 BG Awaiting Overhaul. InterCity Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1958 ~
No. ADB977084 Mk1 RKB Awaiting Restoration following Asbestos-stripping. Undercoat. Private Owner. 1958 ~
No. 1816 Mk1 RMB Awaiting Restoration. Undercoat. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1959 ~
No. M25729 Mk1 SK Operational. Carmine and Cream. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1961 ~
No. M4918 Mk1 TSO Operational. BR Lined Maroon. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1962 ~
No. S13474 Mk2a FK Operational. BR Green. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1968 ~
No. 6060 Mk2f TSO Working as a Charity Shop Coach at Shackerstone. Maroon. Private Owner. 1973 ~
No. 80374 NSA Mk1 POS Operational. Royal Mail. Private Owner. 1973 ~
No. 10708 Mk3 SLEP Used as volunteer sleeping accommodation. InterCity/Maroon. Private Owner. 1982 ~


Gallery

Image:Thomas Day 2006 (8).jpg|Sir Gomer as Percy at a 2006 "Day out with Thomas" eventImage:DSCN1196.JPG|BR Class 47 47640 "University of Strathclyde" (in the guise of 47244), departing Shackerstone in the April 2007 diesel galaImage:08168_at_Shackerstone_Station.jpg|08168 at Shackerstone station on 24 March 2008. This engine was on loan to the Bluebell Railwaymarker for two years.File:Battlefield Line Railway.jpg|The Railway's 116/118 hybrid DMU in Shenton station - 25 March 2008Image:Shentondiesel.jpg|DMU set train at Shenton station - 27 August 2008Image:Shackerstone DMU.jpg|55005 awaits departure from Shackerstone on a summer WednesdayImage:Shackerstone Diesels.jpg|Class 47, 73 and 31 at Shackerstone during a diesel galaImage:Shackerstone Shunter.jpg|03170 at Shackerstone with the two car set

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