Horncastle Railway

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Horncastle Branch
Lincolnshire Loop Line
Woodhall Junction
Lincolnshire Loop Line
Woodhall Spa

The Horncastle Railway was a seven mile long single track branch railway line in Lincolnshire, England, that ran from Woodhall Junction (opened as Kirkstead) on the Lincolnshire Loop Line to Horncastle via one intermediate station, Woodhall Spa.[1][2][3]


Originally named the Horncastle and Kirkstead Junction Railway, the company was renamed the Horncastle Railway on 10 July 1854.[4][2] Authorised in July 1854, the line was the brainchild of three local businessmen who were concerned that the lack of a railway would inhibit the town's development, and who negotiated with the Great Northern Railway that they would construct the line and the GNR would run it.[3]

Due to poor weather conditions it was not until the spring of 1855 that work started, but aided by the flat terrain, and lack of major engineering work the line was completed in five months, opening on 11 August 1855. As further work was required to bring the line up to the required standard the line did not open to traffic until 17 August, with full services running from 26 September.

The line was profitable up to Grouping in 1923, when it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway but suffered after competing bus services took most of its passenger traffic.[5] Despite local opposition the line closed to passengers on 13 September 1954, but remained open for freight until 6 April 1971.[6][3]

The line from Horncastle and Woodhall Spa was bought by Lincolnshire County Council and is now part of the Viking Way and Spa Trail long distance footpaths.[6][7]


  1. ^ Atterbury, P (2006) Branch Line Britain: A Nostalgic Journey Celebrating a Golden Age, David & Charles, Newton Abbot P144
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "Horncastle railway (1365443)". PastScape. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  3. ^ a b c Leleux, Robin (1984). The east Midlands. A regional history of the railways of Great Britain. 9. David St John Thomas. ISBN 978-0946537068. 
  4. ^ Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. p. 137. CN 8983. 
  5. ^ http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/h/horncastle/index.shtml
  6. ^ a b http://www.woodhallspa.org/leisure_railwayheritage.html#jct
  7. ^ The Viking Way: Official Guidebook to the 147 Mile Long Distance Footpath Through Lincolnshire and Rutland. Lincolnshire Books. 1997. ISBN 1-872375-25-1. 

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