Northampton Loop Line

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

The Northampton loop is a railway line serving the town of Northampton deviating from the main West Coast Main 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:

When in 1834 the route of the main line was being decided, Northampton objected[1] 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

Railway lines in Central England:
Main lines:  Cross-Country Route   Midland Main Line   West Coast Main Line
 Birmingham-Peterborough via Leicester Line   Birmingham-Worcester via Bromsgrove Line  
 Birmingham-Worcester via Kidderminster Line   Cherwell Valley Line   Chiltern Main Line  
 London-Aylesbury Line   Trent Valley Line   Welsh Marches Line   Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury Line
Commuter lines:  Birmingham-Rugeley "Chase" Line   Birmingham-Stratford Line   Birmingham-Walsall Line  
 Coventry-Nuneaton Line   Cross-City Line   Leicester-Loughborough "Ivanhoe" Line  
 Northampton Loop Line   Robin Hood Line   Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line  
 Stourbridge Junction-Stourbridge Town Line   Walsall-Wolverhampton Line 
Rural lines:  Cotswold Line   Crewe-Derby Line   Derwent Valley Line   Leamington-Stratford Line  
 Marston Vale Line   Nottingham-Lincoln Line   Nottingham to Grantham Line  
 Oxford-Bicester Line   Princes Risborough-Aylesbury Line   Shrewsbury-Chester Line