I graduated from high school in 1983, and as a graduation present from my parents I received a plane ticket from the USA to the UK together with a Britrail Pass. I flew over in July of that year and spent a few happy weeks travelling around the country.

I was based in Bedford, located on the Midland Railway main line. Between Irchester, just north of Bedford, and Loughborough, the section of the Midland Main Line was known as the “Leicester Gap”. This 45-mile section of the line was operated using Victorian-era procedures—semaphore signals and 23 mechanical signal boxes.

One afternoon I rode a High Speed Train (HST) southbound from Sheffield to Bedford, and below are the photos I took out of an open vestibule door window that day along this stretch of line.

Resignalling work began in 1984, and these signal boxes and signals are now all long-gone, replaced with colour-light signals and centralised signalling.

Syston South Junction Signal Box

Syston South Junction Signal Box

London Road Junction Signal Box, Leicester

Passing London Road Junction Signal Box, Leicester. This view is looking south.

Class 56 at Knighton South Junction

A BR class 56, running light engine, awaits a signal at Knighton South Junction.

Knighton South Junction signal box

Knighton South Junction signal box, on the south side of Leicester.

Kettering station

Approaching Kettering Station, looking south

Passing Kettering Station

Passing Kettering Station, looking south

Kettering Station signal box

Kettering Station signal box, looking south

Condemned Mark 1 carriages

Condemned Mark 1 carriages sit in the Wellingborough sidings, awaiting scrapping.

Condemned Mark 1 carriages

Condemned Mark 1 carriages sit in the Wellingborough sidings, awaiting scrapping.

Wellingborough Loco Shed

Outside Wellingborough Loco Shed stood a class 46 032 and a class 47. The shed was closed one year later, in 1984.

Approaching Wellingborough station

Approaching Wellingborough station

Wellingborough Station signal box

Wellingborough Station signal box

Heading south out of Wellingborough Station

Heading south out of Wellingborough Station

Heading south out of Wellingborough Station

Heading south out of Wellingborough Station, looking back to the station.

 

 

Map of the Midland Main Line

Map of the Midland Main Line
Map data (c) OpenStreetMap (and) contributors, CC-BY-SA

 

 

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