Midland Railway (MR) was a railway company formed in 1844 and ceased trading in 1922. The company opened Kibworth railway station in 1857 on what is now the Midland Main Line.
Plans had been made in 1847 for a line from Leicester to Bedford but this did not materialise. The Midland Railway Company was running to Rugby at that time and was dependant on the London and North Western Railway for its path into London. The company was looking for an alternative route and a plan to route a line from Leicester to Bedford was reconsidered. This improved the possibilities of a railway station at or near Kibworth and in 1847 the Midland Railway Company obtained powers to build a line from Wigston via Market Harborough, Kettering and Bedford to the Great Northern Railway at Hitchin.
Kibworth station was near the summit of the Kibworth Incline, the most northerly station of the Leicester to Hitchin section. It was built next to the bridge carrying the road known as Station Street. In 1885 access to the platforms was provided by two wooden staircases on either side of the bridge from Station Street to each platform. The station buildings were of brick in the Midland Ecclesiastical Gothic style. The booking office and other facilities were on the northbound platform, with a small waiting-room on the southbound side.
Kibworth Station looking towards Leicester
The station was well equipped to handle goods traffic having sidings able to hold 42 wagons, with a brick built goods shed and a 30 cwt. crane. On the east side of the line was a full cattle dock with cattle pens. In 1904 E.llis & Everard of Leicester, a coal, agricultural and builders’ merchants, opened a siding at Kibworth Station.
The passenger station platforms were lengthened in 1862 and again in 1870. The following year a footbridge was provided and the booking office was extended.
Kibworth Station looking towards Market Harborough
Bradshaw (a railway guide and timetable) February 1863 indicates that Kibworth had four trains each way on weekdays, there was an extra train each way on market days. On Sundays two trains ran each way.
Railway companies were required to provide one train every day which ran from one end of the line to the other, stopping at all stations, with carriages giving protection against the weather, and running at a speed of not less than 12 mph including stops. For this, the fare had to be no more than one penny (0.4p) a mile and this exempted the railway company from the 5% tax on passenger receipts. These trains are marked as ‘Gov’ (Government) or ‘Parly’ (Parliamentary) in the timetables.
1st 2nd Gov.
Kibworth to London King’s Cross 17s (85p) 12s 10d (64p) 7s 3d (36p)
Kibworth to Leicester 2s 3d (11p) 1s 6d (7p) 10d (3p)
On 1st October 1868 the Midland Railway opened its own Bedford to London line with the terminus at St Pancras.
In 1923 the line became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company.
The United Kingdom railway system was nationalised in 1948 and after that date the platform canopy was removed.
Two reports by Dr. Richard Beeching, ‘The Reshaping of British Railways 1963’ and ‘The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes 1965’ recommended the closure of 2,363 railway stations including Kibworth. Goods services at Kibworth Station ending on 4 July 1966 and passenger services ceased on 1st January 1968.
A British Railway employee posting the official announcement of the closure of Kibworth Railway Station.
Following the closure of the station the yard housed a fencing and wood merchants business but became empty in 2002.
A number of houses have since been built in the yard by local builder, John Littlejohn Designer Homes.
Written by David Adams
Kibworth & District Chronicle
Kibworth Station Aspects of the Midland Line Railway by John Lovell
Unlike any before it, this was not the story of Kings and Queens and Lords and Ladies, but a history of ordinary people as told through collections of old documents and memories. The series was based around the ancient parish of Kibworth in the Gartree hundred, which today comprises three villages: Kibworth Harcourt, Kibworth Beauchamp and Smeeton Westerly.
The project began for the villages on a weekend in July 2009 with the Big Dig, organised by Michael’s production company (MayaVision International) and co-ordinated by Prof Carenza Lewis (a frequent presenter on Channel 4's Time Team), who, with local archaeologists, worked alongside over 150 volunteers to dig 55 one metre square test pits in their gardens and recorded everything they found as they worked their way back through time to the Roman period.
One of the pits, dug in the corner of the car park of The Coach & Horses Inn on the A6, where the team were based throughout the weekend, produced one of the most interesting artefacts – a tiny fragment of bone comb from the DarkAges. Moving between the national and the local narratives, Michael and the production team filmed until October 2010 to set the lives of the ordinary people from the three villages in the context of great events: from the Viking invasions and the Norman Conquest to the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars.
Fittingly, the series finished in September 2010 with the burial of a time capsule in The Coach & Horses’ car park by Michael Wood and one-time landlord and his wife, Andrew and Beverley Southerden.