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Building the Railways

In 1845 Ditchford station on the London and Birmingham Railway's branch line from Peterborough to Blisworth, was the nearest to Rushden. The Midland Railway opened a route from Leicester to Hitchin in 1857 and this ran through Irchester where a station was built.
Irchester station was nearer to Rushden, and a daily carriage from the Feathers Inn met all trains arriving there. The London and North Western Railway then started a service from the Wheatsheaf Inn to Higham Ferrers station which was on the north side, beyond the village near Irthlingborough bridge, about half way between the two villages, but actually on land on the bounds of Chelveston parish. This became known as Irthlingborough station when Higham got its own station on the branch line that opened in 1894.

Plans for the new Rushden & Higham branch of the Midland Railway, were first shown in December 1889, when a new line was to be built from the main line in Irchester parish near the viaduct. It would pass under the Ditchford-road, and continue along the field, and on behind Mr. Sanders' lodge on the Higham-road. The road would be crossed by a bridge just east of the Stackyard, and then cut across the road to Higham below the "Oakley" by another bridge. From there it would cut across Rushden brook, by a viaduct of high embankment, then pass over Rushden High-street by another bridge, into Mr. Mason's field, where the station would be built. From there to Higham, across the road near the Waypost, and close to the Manor House, and then on towards Stanwick and Raunds, but this line was terminated at a new Higham Ferrers station.

Before this branch line was opened in 1894, traders took their goods by cart to either Irchester, Wellingborough, Ditchford or Irthlingborough.

In the 1880s there had been widening of the Irchester line and a tunnel was built near to Wymington and many of the navvy's lived at an encampment between the two villages, known as "Wymington Huts". Several fatalities occurred during the works.


Rushden Argus, 13th December 1889, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Proposed Rushden and Raunds Railway—Plans, sections, and books of reference of the above line of railway, have been deposited with Mr. James Gostick, the parish clerk, for public inspection, and owners and tenants of property have this week received the required notice from Messrs. Beale and Co., the agents for the Midland Railway Company.

Wellingborough News, 28th February 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

Midland Railway Extension—Among the Bills being presented in Parliament, submitted to the consideration of the shareholders of the Midland Railway, at Derby on Friday last, was one for the construction of the Irchester, Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and Raunds branch. The Chairman stated that its total length would be 8½miles, and that its estimated cost was £157,380. It received the support of a very numerously attended meeting of shareholders.

Mr Joseph Langley brought a court case against the Midland Railway Co. in 1900 - for damage to goods.

Inquests on Railway workers
Brown George navvy 1882
Clark John navvy 1882
Drage James labourer of Bozeat 1882
Shirley James navvy 1883


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