Northampton Loop Line
The Northampton loop leaves the direct London-Birmingham line at Hanslope Junction, just north of Roade, and then runs north east for several miles until it reaches Northampton station. After Northampton, the line verges to the north-west for around twenty miles, until it re-joins the direct London - Birmingham line at Rugby, just east of Rugby station. The line is a total of 23 ¾ miles long.
The only stations on the route are Northampton and Long Buckby. Previously there were six stations between Hanslope Junction and Rugby, but only these two survive, these were:
- Northampton railway station
- Church Brampton (closed 1939)
- Althorp Park (closed 1960)
- Long Buckby railway station
- Kilsby and Crick (closed 1960)
When in 1834 the route of the main line was being decided, Northampton objected to having a railway station. This meant that the Kilsby Tunnel had to be built to bypass Northampton. A few years later, Northampton had a change of mind. The loop line was constructed in the late 1870s by the London and North Western Railway and was opened in 1881. It was constructed to improve rail services to Northampton and give the town a direct link to London. It also had the advantage of doubling capacity on the line from Roade to Rugby without the expense of widening the tunnel at Kilsby.
The line was electrified along with the rest of the WCML during the late 1950s in the wake of the 1955 BR modernisation plan.
- The Last Days Of Steam In Northamptonshire, by John M.C. Healy (1989) ISBN 0-86299-613-9
- Rugby's Railway Heritage, by Peter H Elliot (1985) ISBN 0-907917-06-2