Really SideTracked - Shackerstone
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A Cache and Dash on the trackbed of the former Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway. The Cache is a standard plastic food type container with swaps etc. There is a FTF prize attached to the logbook. The cache contains a single magnetised plastic letter - which is a clue for my cache Vulcan Power - PLEASE DO NOT remove the letter.
The cache is placed on the now disused trackbed of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway near to the station at Shackerstone, which is still used as the HQ of the preserved Battlefield Line where I'm a Signalman). The cache is accessable even when the railway isn't operating - but why not make a day of it, grab the two caches at Shackerstone and then take the train to Shenton and the Battlefield Centre and do the caches there
The Lines website is at
A history of the line is set out below
In 1873, the London North Western Railway and the Midland Railway opened a joint line between Moira West and Nuneaton. Although known as the Ashby-Nuneaton line, Ashby itself was not on the joint line, but on the Midland's Burton-Leicester and was linked with the joint line by a triangular junction at Moira West.
The length of the joint line from Moira West to Nuneaton-Ashby Junction was 29 miles and was the only joint line of any importance that was built by the two companies. The only other - also in Leicestershire, was at the Enderby branch which left the main line at Narborough and ran 2¾ miles to Enderby Quarry and was used entirely for freight. The other portion of the Ashby Nuneaton line was a branch from Shackerstone Junction to Coalville. In 1883 The Charnwood Forest Railway was opened, this could only be acessed by the ANJR near Hugglescote.
In the 1923 grouping these lines were assigned to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
Timetabled passenger services finished in 1931 apart from special excursions. These continued until the early 1960's. The Coalville-Shackerstone line closed completely in 1964. The last steam hauled passenger train to pass through was an enthusiasts special in 1965, headed by a Standard Class 2. The Ashby-Nuneaton railway survived until early 1970 before British Rail finally axed the line.
During its heyday Shackerstone was a busy junction station. In 1922, no fewer than five trains a day in each direction passed through between Ashby and Nuneaton and another between Nuneaton and Burton. Motor trains worked by the LNWR also operated between Shackerstone and Loughborough Derby Road Station. In addition to this busy passenger schedule there was intensive goods traffic. A number of old accounts for goods services, some dated as early as 1873, were found when the old station safe was opened. The original signal box was a large Midland type containing 36 levers controlled the junction at Shackerstone, unfortunately it was demolished before it could be preserved, although elements of it can still be found in some of the local buildings today.
The stations on the line are all built to a similar pattern, but Shackerstone is singularly attractive for the tree lined approach from the village. It has been suggested that these trees were planted at the request of Lord Howe of Gopsall Hall to beautify the station. No one could dispute that they have done so. The drive, which looks more fitted to carry visitors to a stately home than to a station, did in fact carry Royalty on at least one occasion in 1902 when Edward VII and Queen Alexandera visited Gopsall Hall. Queen Victoria passed along the Ashby and Nuneaton on her way to Sheffield for her Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1897, as did King George VI.
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