LNWR RUGBY - LEAMINGTON SPA AVENUE (14¾ miles)
(Gds) 1.8.1985 New Bilton - Marton Jn
4.4.1966 Marton Jn - Leamington Spa
Rugby; Dunchurch; Birdingbury; Marton; Leamington Avenue (opened 1844) r/n 1913 Leamington Spa Avenue r/n Leamington Spa r/n 1951 Leamington Spa Avenue (closed 1965).
The Rugby & Leamington Railway was purchased by the LNWR soon after incorporation and the railway built the line itself. The singe line opened in 1851. In 1863 there were six passenger trains on weekdays and one on Sundays the journey taking 40 mins. Most of the line was doubled by 1884 and traffic slowly increased until by 1922 eleven trains were run. In 1949 it was down to six trains on weekdays but these ran to and from Warwick. The passenger service was withdrawn in 1959 but the line remained open as far as Marton Junction until 1985 to serve the Portland Cement Quarry at Southam on the line to Weedon.
Route when open
It diverged from the WCML at Leamington Branch Junction (SP500761) ¾ mile west of Rugby Midland station and headed south west soon passing under Lawford Road (A428). After passing through a cutting it turned more to the south and bridged the the A4071 at Potsford Dam to reach Dunchurch station on the A45. Another cutting led to Birdingbury where it bridged the River Leam and at Marton in passed over the A423. The line from Weedon trailed from the SE at Marton Junction and after a further two miles it bridged the Grand Union Canal and gradually swung west to run alongside the GWR main line to reach Leamington Spa Avenue station (SP316653).
The first mile to New Bilton, retained initially to serve the Rugby Portland Cement works, was relaid in April 2000 and is now used to stable on track machines; it ends at a stop block on the SW side of of Lawford Road (A428) bridge. The route of the proposed Rugby western relief road would cross this line west of Lawford Road (A428) but in July 2004 Warwickshire County Council confirmed that it does not want to see the formation breached. The next five miles to Daycote are being converted into a cycle way (part of NCN41) with the following two miles already in use. A further 1½ miles has been similarly converted between the Fosse Way (B4455) through Offchurch to Radford Semele with the section in between a walkway. At Radford Semele there is a long ramp down to the Grand Union Canal and a path continues on the opposite side of the canal to Offchurch Lane. Gardens and new housing have been built over the final 1½ miles into Leamington.
Rugby still open (WCML); Dunchurch SM's house residence; Birdingbury station house, part of platform and signal box survive; Marton demolished - no trace; Leamington Spa Avenue demolished - in June 2005 Chiltern Railways applied for planning permission to turn the site into a car park for the adjacent ex-GWR station following the closure of Quick’s garage.
Rugby - Marton Jn hump back bridge carrying Lawford Road removed in July 2009 to make way for Rugby’s new Western Relief Road; all other bridges in place including three arch viaduct over Sow Brook in Rugby, two bridges carrying the A45 at Dunchurch and the viaduct over the River Leam and minor road at Birdingbury.
Marton Jn - Leamington Ridgeway Lane overbridge at Marton Junction listed grade II; bridge over Fosse Way B4455 removed; bridge under Offchurch crossroads replaced by underpass; overbridge at SP364654 and underbridge at SP358652 both in place; Offchurch Viaduct five brick arches over Grand Union Canal at Radford Bottom Lock intact and walkable; bridge over Offchurch Lane removed; bridge carrying Southam Road A425 in place.
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