|Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any significant ones notified to us through email@example.com or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive,
Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.|
NOTTINGHAM is a traditional station with a lovely old covered forecourt from the
days of horse and carriage, now translated into a taxi area and small short-term pickup and setdown area. There is level
access to the entrance hall, which is pleasant, bright and fresh, with tickets and travel information, books and coffee. The
entrance hall lies over the tracks, giving level access to the first passenger overbridge, which has lifts to all platforms.
There are stairs to most platforms, but not platform 6, which looks somewhat like an afterthought. Obviously the lift will
get you there - but if it's busy, take the steps to platform 1 and use the second overbridge. The main platforms have large
overhanging canopies, refreshment services, and there is a waiting room on platform 4/5. Wheels:
Nottingham also serves the Birmingham to Derby and Nottingham line.
BEESTON is just off the A6005 and bridged by a flyover, with a small filter off to
the left that gives underpass access to the immediate station area. This has pay-and-display parking for about 20 cars, but
more parking is available on the other side of the bridge. Beeston retains its original station of 1847 - still in good
condition apart from the platform shelters needing a repaint (in August 2002). These are handsome in length, but history
won't keep their open fronts warm in a winter wind. Access between platforms is by steps to the flyover. One other piece of
history: a former owner of a house adjacent to the Nottingham platform informed us that the house has its own gate access to
the platform, for which it pays an annual peppercorn rent of 50 pence! Wheels: NS.|
DERBY is the former headquarters of the old Midland Railway and its railway works,
and is still a railway technical and manufacturing centre, hence the space the site occupies. The station facilities are
modern or modernised, and it's a fairly pleasant station to use. The entrance includes the ticket office, a bookshop and
snack facilities, and there is a refreshment room on platform 2/3. There are waiting rooms on two of the platforms, and
access to everything is from an overhead passenger bridge. This is just the usual nuisance to prams but rules out
wheelchairs. However, there is a ramped service tunnel between platforms at the Birmingham end, and this can be used by
wheelchairs if railway assistance is sought. There is no free parking, and at the time of the visit, the main parking was £5
per day. Wheels: DS.|
Derby also serves the Stoke-on-Trent to Derby line.
LONG EATON is a simple two-platform station on an embankment which strides across
Tamworth Road and a complex road junction at one corner of Long Eaton's shopping area. The embankment means ramps, of course
- moderately steep but with a strong wooden fence alongside, which might offer assistance in the climb. The platforms
themselves are each decorated only with one open-front bus shelter with about six seats. The ticket office is at the foot of
the ramp to the Nottingham platform, and nearby is a large car park (circa 120 cars) with disabled slots placed handily for
the station and shopping. Wheels: DS.|
The two lines from Nottingham and Derby merge just south of Long Eaton.
LOUGHBOROUGH was once the target of two competing lines, but the mainline station
nowadays is the pleasant Midland one right on the north east edge of the town. The approach road is off the A60 Nottingham
Road, at the traffic light junction with the ring road (A6004 Ratcliffe Road). Don't overshoot - you may not be able to turn
back until the next village. There is a car park (didn't check but assume pay and display), bus stop, taxi rank, 20 minute
parking and easy access to platform 1 at three points. This platform has the main station building with ticket office,
waiting room and newsagents. It also has a traditional canopy giving plenty of shelter. The open overbridge is unsuitable for
wheelchairs, but you can get across with staff help, using the footboard crossing at the north end of the
station (left end on the plan). Platform 2 also offers canopy cover and a waiting room, which is shared with platform 3, a
short platform reached through a curtain wall by the foot of the overbridge. Although platforms 1 and 2 stretch beyond the
road bridge, those sections are now out of use. Train information is streamed through electronic displays on all platforms.
BARROW-UPON-SOAR is a commuter station served by the slow lines, while the fast
lines lie at its back, kept safely separate by Midland-style diagonal fencing. The station lies partially within a well-
signed one-way road system, with the approach turn indicated on South Street, north of the station. After crossing the
railway, you are pointed right through a housing estate, then right again on to Grove Lane. There is no parking at all. An
opening by the overbridge leads directly on to a passenger overbridge with 30+ steps down to either platform, where
facilities are sparse: six seats under modern half-shelters that rattle alarmingly in the wind.
SILEBY is on an embankment a short distance along King Street from the shopping
street, with a car park well signed just before you reach the railway. It's not clear whether the car park is railway, town
or supermarket. It appears to be free, but there may be time limits on using it, so check. Four tracks run through the
station, two serving the commuter platforms, and the other two being a bypass for non-stop trains. This creates a tunnel
under the line. Steps half way along a protected pavement take you to a ramp to the Nottingham platform, whilst a second set
of steps just beyond the tunnel get you to the Bedford side. Prams could make it, but not wheelchairs. Main traffic is
presumably into Leicester as this platform gets a full bus shelter, whereas the other platform only warrants a half-shelter.
Both sides have three seats and an information board. Wheels: NS.|
SYSTON station lies to the south of the town centre on Melton Road and has been
simplified from its original layout. The old station building lies half hidden in trees and bushes on the opposite side of
the lines from the single platform that now serves trains in both directions. This only accommodates short trains, and has no
ticket office, but 60-car parking is a pointer to a respectable commuter traffic. The four disabled parking spaces are by
the platform and there is an easy ramp linking the two. The platform itself is furnished with a bus shelter (no seats) and a
train information board. Wheels: NS.|
LEICESTER Over time Leicester has had four stations, but the Midland Railway-built
station in London Road now handles all the traffic. It sports its original frontage with a covered arrival shed for horse and
carriage traffic, now used for taxis and picking up and setting down.|
The station concourse has a ticket office, cafe, bookseller & newsagent and a current trains electronic display. Beyond is a level approach to the passenger overbridge, then steps down to two island platforms with waiting rooms and other facilities, all covered by extensive canopies. Another overbridge at the northern end of the platforms links to a car park with about 180 places and a daily rate (in May 2003) of £6. Access for wheeled users wasn't obvious, but there are lifts linking the platforms, and a ramp up to the arrival shed which suggests it serves for parcels handling and disabled needs on request. Incidentally, you'll notice a pedestrian crossing indicated outside the station. If you want to cross London Road, use it and live longer. Wheels: NS.
Leicester also serves the Birmingham to Leicester line and the Leicester to Cambridge line
MARKET HARBOROUGH station is well-signed and lies on the east side of the town, on
the slope of a hill. The approach road (which includes a bus stop) leads up the slope to the station building, which is still
about one floor down from platform level. The northbound platform is directly approached by a ramp from the ticket office,
whilst an underpass gets you to the south side - but only has steps up. However, there is a footboard crossing at the south
end of the platforms, so wheelchair users can cross from platform 1 with staff help. The waiting rooms are both at the
southern end of the platforms, though a new (taped-off) waiting room was located well up platform 1. Note that this platform
has colour zoning, with some trains stopping in the purple/orange zone at the north end - so don't dally if you're just up
from the ticket office! The station has no canopy cover, which may explain the new waiting room. Electronic train indicators
display the time and a continuous stream of train information.|
There is substantial parking alongside platform 1 with two sets of 5-6 steps up to the platform - but at present no convenient approach for wheelchairs. This seems a little remiss since the area by the new waiting room could accommodate it, and the alternative is a longish route down the slope to the station building, then back up the ramp to platform level. Wheels: NS.
Kettering station is an excellent facility that lies on the southwest side of the town, near the A6013 (Northampton Road) and
is approached by Station Road. It is well-signed within the town. The buildings are mainly traditional, but restored and
modernised, with plenty of canopy cover, waiting rooms on all platforms, and a long modern bus shelter on platforms 3/4 as
well. The main building on platform 1 includes a ticket office and cafe, and a modern, covered passenger bridge with lifts
gives easy access to all platforms. Extensive pay-and-display parking (£4 in 2004) lies towards either end of the station,
with a tiny handful of short-term set down spaces opposite the station entrance. Wheels: NS.|
Wellingborough station is easily found on the eastern edge of the town and still uses its attractive 19th century building
(restored by a civic group in 1986). The ticket office is open throughout the hours that trains call, and there is a waiting
room and cafe in the same building. A fairly modern covered overbridge links the two platforms, with a waiting room and a 40-
seater bus shelter available on the far side. Wheelchair users will need staff assistance to cross the line using the
footboard crossing at the north end of the station (don't try it unaided - this is a high speed line). Outside the main
building there are a few short-term set down spaces, and vastly more spaces (roughly 400) for all-day parking (£4 per day in
2004). Just beside the main station building, the old goods shed may interest a few with its ancient goods cranes. It has
presumably been retained for preservation, but this hasn't happened yet. Wheels: NS.|
[Not yet visited]
St. PANCRAS (LONDON) St. Pancras station is on the row of north-facing stations out of London, and only a street-width from Kings Cross and lines up the east coast. Its grand, ornate 19th century redstone building is very well known - but for a number of years that wasn't where trains arrived and departed while it underwent serious rebuilding and modernisation. We have not had a chance to revisit since the reopening in 2007, so the plan here shows only the outer end of the trainshed with its new extension along the west side prior to that event. It does, however, form part of the new station to be used by the Midland railway service, while the international service via the Channel Tunnel departs from the east side of the station. With this new role and with the restoration of the main building, the station has been renamed St. Pancras International, and it offers a full range of passenger services including (we believe) hotel space.
The Underground station was being redeveloped (but not to the same timetable) with new links to be provided. We are not currently (April 2008) sure if this has been completed. If not, you can get to it from the adjacent Kings Cross station. There is no parking that we are aware of.
Copyright © 2008 Dudley Mall.