Rugby Railway Station
The railway station at Rugby in Warwickshire, England, was opened during the Victorian era, in 1885. It replaced earlier stations situated a little further west, and since the closure of the station on the now abandoned Great Central Railway's route through the town it is Rugby's only station.
Situated on the West Coast Main Line connecting London to Birmingham and the North West, the present station, managed by Virgin Trains, is located roughly half a mile north of Rugby town centre. Main line train services are operated by Virgin Trains and local services by Central Trains. There are regular services to London, Birmingham, Northampton and the North West of England.
Since 27 September 2004 Silverlink trains have ceased to serve Rugby, that company's services from London now terminating at Northampton. Local services from Northampton to Coventry and Birmingham are now provided by Central Trains. In the period extending to 2008, major track restructuring work is due to be carried out to allow higher speed running through Rugby.
The first railway station to be built in Rugby was a wooden temporary structure located around half a mile to the west of the present station. It opened in 1838 when the London and Birmingham Railway was constructed.
This station lasted only a few years. When a junction was made with the Midland Counties Railway in 1840 a new station was built nearer the present station site although still slightly to the west.
This second station was effectively managed by two companies - the London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway - and for this reason grew up in a haphazard fashion. It was at first no more than a temporary wooden structure, but was rebuilt in brick in 1850. This station consisted of platforms at each side of the track with one bay platform. The platforms were rather low and passengers complained of having to perform an "acrobatic feat" to board trains.
The station was at the centre of a busy junction and often saw chaotic scenes. It featured, only lightly disguised, in Charles Dickens's story Mugby Junction.
The present station
The second station lasted until the 1880s, when a new line from Rugby to Northampton was built, and it was replaced by the current structure which opened in 1885.
Today's station consists of one large island platform with tracks on both sides and bay platforms at each end (only one of these bay platforms, at the London end, remaining in regular passenger use). The platform is accessed from a tunnel at road level and a ramp leading to the platforms.
The station was noted for an unusual feature, the 'scissor junction' which allowed two trains to be in one platform at the same time. The scissor junction was an X shaped junction which allowed one train to pass another one already in the platform, and call into the same platform ahead of it, and allowed the train to the rear to pull out of the station.
For this reason the station has one of the longest platforms of any British railway station. The scissor junctions were taken out of use when the railway was electrified in the 1960s.
At its height, as well as the West Coast Main Line, Rugby station served railway lines to Leicester, Leamington Spa, and Peterborough via Market Harborough. In the 1960s all but the West Coast line were closed as part of the Beeching Axe.
When constructed the station had a large steel and glass roof which covered the station platforms and the tracks on eack side. This lasted more than 100 years until ithe structure became unstable and was replaced in the early 2000s with a modern 'gull wing' roof over the platforms.
In 1899 a second station, Rugby Central, was opened in Rugby (see below). To distinguish it from the other station, the present station became known as Rugby Midland. It was called this until Rugby Central closed in 1969, when it reverted to being called just Rugby.
As a part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme, plans have recently (2004) been forwarded to add new platforms on both sides of the line at Rugby. It was at one time thought that remodelling of the track layout would entail complete demolition of the present station, but the latest plans envisage retention of the existing island platform and buildings, these plans have recently been given the go-ahead, and are expected to be finished in 2008.
Rugby Central Station
Rugby Central was Rugby's station on the Great Central Railway which opened in 1899 and closed in 1969. When it was open, the station had services between London (Marylebone) and Sheffield via Leicester and Nottingham.
Rugby Central was situated on Hillmorton Road roughly half a mile east of the town centre. It was a much smaller and less important affair than Midland Station, although it too consisted of an island platform.
The booking office was located at road level, built onto the side of the road bridge over the railway with the platform below. The platform was accessed by a staircase from the booking office.
The station buildings were demolished upon closure, although the platform still exists and can still be seen. The whole of the former Great Central Railway alignment through Rugby is now a nature walk called the 'Great Central Way'.
On the preserved Great Central Railway in Leicestershire, the preserved station at Loughborough is very similar to the former Rugby Central Station.