Battlefield Line Railway

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Battlefield Line Railway
16I02I2019 Battlefield Line British Railways Pannier Tank No 6430 D1.jpg
British Railways (Western Region) 0-6-0PT 64xx Class No. 6430 at Shackerstone
Coordinates52°36′00″N 1°24′54″W / 52.600°N 1.415°W / 52.600; -1.415Coordinates: 52°36′00″N 1°24′54″W / 52.600°N 1.415°W / 52.600; -1.415
Battlefield Line location map.png
The Battlefield Line as shown on a period map
Commercial operations
NameLondon and North Western Railway
Midland Railway
British Rail
Built byLondon and North Western Railway
Original gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned byShackerstone Railway Society
Operated byShackerstone Railway Society
Length5 mi (8.0 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Preservation history
1973Partial re-opening
Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway
Construction of the Ashby & Nuneaton joint railway near Dadlington using a Manning Wardle tank engine (ca. 1871 - 1873).png
Construction of the Ashby & Nuneaton joint railway near Dadlington using a Manning Wardle tank engine
Route map
Overseal and Moira
Coalville Town
Heather and Ibstock
Shackerstone Junction
Market Bosworth
Stoke Golding
Higham on the Hill
Abbey Street

The Battlefield Line Railway is a heritage railway in Leicestershire, England.[1] It runs from Shackerstone (Grid ref SK 379 065) to Shenton (SK 396 002), via Market Bosworth, a total of 5 miles (8.0 km). Shenton is near Bosworth Field, (the location of the final battle of the Wars of the Roses immortalised in Shakespeare's Richard III), giving the railway its name.


The Shackerstone Station Building

The railway runs steam and diesel-hauled trains every weekend and Bank Holiday from March to December, as well as a summer mid-week service on Wednesdays in July and september and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in august and is operated by the Heritage diesel railcar service. Special events: Christmas Santa Specials and others throughout the year.


Shackerstone Station

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 Nuneaton. The first trains ran along this section in 1873. At Shackerstone station, there was once a junction where one section branched off towards Moira and Ashby 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 village of Whitwick and town of Shepshed. 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 Museum went to Shackerstone on its first outing in December 1902. It conveyed King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria on their way to Gopsall Hall, where Handel is reputed to have composed his oratorio Messiah.

Renovation project[edit]

British Railways 78xx Class No. 7820 'Dinmore Manor' at Shackerstone

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 1+12 miles (2.4 km) 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."


The first section of the journey travelling south from Shackerstone is a climbing gradient which continues until the train is clear of the station limits. The signal box on the left is the oldest Midland Railway Co. type one box still in operational use. The train then passes under the first bridge which carries the road to Barton-in-the-Beans, and into open farmland.

Market Bosworth Station
Shenton station

Market Bosworth is 3 miles (4.8 km) from Shackerstone. There are usually stored locomotives or wagons here. To the right can be seen the old buildings and signal box which used to control part of the operation of the station.

South of Market Bosworth station, the train passes Aqueduct Cottage and the Ashby Canal aqueduct beyond it. Trains slow as they cross the road bridge between Shenton and Sutton Cheney. As the line curves to the right, the train approaches the terminus at Shenton, just over 4+12 miles (7.2 km) away from Shackerstone. The station pottery is the only surviving part of the original station. The present station is the reconstructed Humberstone Road station from Leicester. 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 original railway.

British Railways 78xx Class No. 7820 'Dinmore Manor' runs round at Shenton

Steam locomotives[edit]

Number & Name Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Description Image
Sir Gomer Peckett and Sons class OX1 0-6-0ST Blue Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd.
(available for sale)
1932 Designed as a powerful industrial, "Sir Gomer", according to findings, is capable of moving a 928-ton train at slow speed on level ground. Boiler certificate has expired and is awaiting overhaul.
Sir Gomer at Departs Shackerstone.jpg

Visiting locos[edit]

Number & Name Class Livery Owner Date Description Image
No.419 (55189) Caledonian Railway 439 Class 0-4-4T Caledonian Railway Blue SRPS 26/03/22 Returned to traffic in the middle of October 2018 after an absence of 9+12 years. Bo'ness Railway Station - - 1072827.jpg

Diesel shunters[edit]

Number & Name Works number Class Current Status Livery Date Image
No. 2 Nancy 263001 Ruston Hornsby 0-4-0 Stored
(Privately owned)
(available for sale)
Dark Blue 1949
Ruston Hornsby 0-4-0 No2 Nancy.JPG
No. D2867 Diane Class 02 Operational. Used as shed shunter
(Railway owned)
Green 17/11/1961
Class 02 D2867 at Shackerstone.JPG
No. 04110 (D2310) Class 04 Operational within station limits
(Railway owned)
BR Blue 22/12/1960
04110 - Battlefield Line (9638774298).jpg
Hercules Ruston 0-4-0DE Under overhaul
(Private owner)
Yellow and Pink
Mazda 268881 Ruston 0-4-0DE Operational Green with Yellow ends and Wasp Stripes 1950
Ruston & Hornsby 268881 (6243667561).jpg
Davy 1901 British Rail Class 08/10 Hybrid Awaiting overhaul (Railway owned) Green with Wasp Stripes Late 1950s
03 162 and 08 195 at Llangollen.jpg
No. 12083 Class 11 Stored at Market Bosworth
(Privately owned)
BR Blue 30/11/1950
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 1958

Ex. mainline heritage diesels[edit]

Number & Name Class Current Status Livery Owner Date Image
No. 20087 British Rail Class 20
Undergoing Repair BR Blue with Yellow Warning Panels Harry Needle Railroad Company 1961
No. D8110 British Rail Class 20
Operational BR Green with Yellow Warning Panels Harry Needle Railroad Company 1962 Totnes 8110 green livery.jpg
No. 33019
British Rail Class 33
Out of service Grey & Yellow Private owner 1960 BattlefieldLine33019.JPG
No. D6508
Undergoing restoration BR Green Private owner 1960 NSE East Grinstead - Oxted electrification gala (1987) 10.JPG
No. 33201 Operational BR Blue with Yellow Warning Panels Private owner 1960 No.D6586, BR no.33201 (Class 33) (6137401198).jpg
No. D6593 Awaiting repair from the Watercress Line BR Green Watercress Line 1960 Rail Tour departure! - - 684050.jpg
37906 British Rail Class 37
Undergoing overhaul Railfreight Large Logo Grey Private owner 1963 37906 old oak common depot.jpg

Diesel multiple units[edit]

Number & Name Description Current Status Livery Image
DMBS No M55005. Class 122 Operational, used on passenger trains regularly (Railway owned). Built in 1958. BR Blue & Grey Shackerstone DMU.jpg
DMS No 51321 Class 118 Under Overhaul, undergoing mechanical and bodywork repairs (Railway owned). Built in 1960. BR Blue & Grey Battlefield Line Railway.jpg
DMBS No 51131 Class 116 Operational, used on passenger trains regularly (Railway owned). Built in 1958. BR Blue & Grey Set T326 (51131 and 51321) at Arley.JPG

Electric locomotives[edit]

Number & Name Works number Wheel arrangement Year of manufacture Current Status Livery Image
Spondon Power Station No. 1 E905 4wd battery/Overhead Electric Loco 1935 Operational Green
English Electric E905 (6243717021).jpg

Coach stock[edit]

British Railways Mark 1 coaches[edit]

The original A&NJR closed long before the formation of British Railways, but as very few suitable period carriages were preserved, BR Mark 1 coaches form part of all Battlefield Line passenger trains today. They are a renowned design of standardised rail stock, being both durable and high-capacity vehicles.

Number & Name Class Current Status Livery Owner(s) Date Description
M1104 Mark 1 RE Overhauled in 2015 and now in service. named the Jessie. BR lined Maroon Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1952
Griddle Car 1104.jpg

Converted into a Griddle buffet from RF No. 301 while working for BR, and was later preserved.

M81428 Mark 1 BG Operational 1957
M25729 Mark 1 SK In Service 1961
M4918 Mark 1 TSO Operational 1962
M4939 Operational 1962
TSO 4939.jpg
M4989 Operational BR Blood & Custard 1962
W13313[2] Mark 1 FK Operational BR Chocolate and Cream Private owner 1961
W13474 Mark 2 FK Operational BR Maroon. Shackerstone Railway Society Ltd. 1968
W34935 Mark 1 BSK Awaiting repair. BR Blood & Custard (West side).
BR Chocolate & Cream (East side)
34953 Awaiting a major overhaul Maroon 1956
ADB975459 Originally numbered 34136 until conversion into a departmental coach. Docked in the Shackerstone bay siding as volunteer accommodation. BR lined Maroon 1952
1816 Mark 1 RMB In use as mess room at Shackerstone 1959
3087 Mark 1 FO Away for overhaul 1959
1505 Mark 1 RKB Numbered ADB977084 after becoming part of the original Crewe Test Train. In storage awaiting overhaul. 1960
81470 Mark 1 BG At present in use as a parts store. InterCity 1958
W93701 Mark 1 GUV Presently at the end of the Shackerstone north siding complex as a storage vehicle. BR Rail Blue. Private owner 1959
94142 Mark 1 CCT Awaiting overhaul in the Shackerstone south siding. Maroon Private owner 1960


  1. ^ OS Explorer Map 232 : Nuneaton & Tamworth: (1:25 000) :ISBN 0 319 46404 0
  2. ^ "BR 13313 Mk 1 Corridor First built 1961". Carriage Survey. Railway Heritage Register Partnership.

External links[edit]