Friday, September 21, 2012

The miniature railway at Delapre Park, Northampton

The level crossing on Bridge Street, south of Northampton town centre, was something of a landmark in the 1970s.

Though I cannot recall being held up by a train there, it was clearly still in use and I always looked for it - for instance, when taking the National Express coach from Market Harborough to Cheltenham. (That service ended long ago, but in those days coaches converged on Cheltenham from all over the country.)

Northampton Bridge Street station used to stand to the west of the road here. It was on the line to Peterborough. That line closed to passengers in 1964 and to through freight trains in 1972, but there were permanent way yards on either side of the road and various industrial sidings nearby. So, though crossing was clearly derelict when I visited on Tuesday, it seems the last train across Bridge Street ran as recently as 2006.

The good news is that there is still a railway nearby. Walk a little way south and you will come across the track belonging to the Northampton Society of Model Engineers. When visiting the railway at Abbey Park in Leicester, I said something about the society's headquarters being more impressive than many modern country stations, and this is true of the line at Delapre Park too.

And when in Delapre Park, be sure to visit Delapre Abbey for tea.

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