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Rushden Historic Transport Society Visit

Saturday 17th October 2015

© Text and pictures Marcolm Pym

Click images for an enlargement

Nine members met at Kettering station at 11:00, and after a leisurely stroll to Horsemarket bus station, we boarded one of Stagecoach’s finest ‘Dennis Darts’ on Route 49 to Rushden.

We passed by the well known Wicksteed Park (with its railway system) and the famous Weetabix factory on the way. On alighting at Rushden we observed a furniture store which was once an art deco bus station operated by Birch’s Coaches.

Rushden station was on the old Midland Branch line from Wellingborough to Higham Ferrers. Goods traffic finally ceased in 1969. The branch is truncated by the removal of a railway bridge at the end of the station platform over the old A6 road.

Upon our arrival, we were met by the Secretary who showed us around the small but well stocked museum containing artefacts of historical transport. For a small museum, it was very well presented indeed. It was then off for lunch (in the Gresley Restaurant Car), which is partly restored. Here we were served an excellent buffet lunch and copious amounts of tea and coffee by the two lady volunteers.

It was then off to the platform where an industrial locomotive and brake van were waiting for our trip over their short but interesting line. The society is in the process of trying to extend by approximately a quarter mile to the old Higham Ferrers station. This will involve some track-laying and embankment work, plus erecting a temporary station. We had two trips along the line with members enjoying a footplate ride as well as riding in an old Midland Railway brake van. The driver on our trip was an ex-Kings Cross top shed man, so had plenty of stories and tales.

After some more chatting, we were allowed on to the track to take photos of the stored and part restored rolling stock. The Society have two Class 31 locomotives and some working industrial diesels. Additionally, they have a working tank engine which has just passed its boiler test.

To conclude the visit, the group then adjourned to the Rail Ale bar for some refreshments before returning to Kettering to board the 16:56 service back to London. Many thanks must go to the RHTS for their time and enthusiasm, which made this an enjoyable trip for all who took part.

Class 31 at Rushden

A group of L&CI Members at Rushden Historic Transport Society

Rushden Signal Box.  Pressed Steel Class 121 'bubble car' alongside