The Anonymous Widower

Could High Speed Two Have A Station At Ashby-de-la-Zouch?

This morning, I was listening to Andrew Bridgen, who is the Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, giving the reasons for a strong opposition to High Speed Two.

  • High Speed Two will reduce the number of services between Leicester and London.
  • His constituency does not have a rail station.
  • His constituency would do better for the Ivanhoe Line to get a passenger service.
  • His constituents are badly affected by the building of the line.
  • His constituents will need to drive North to East Midlands Hub station to use High Speed Two.

Some points are valid, although I think no rail company would reduce the number of services between Leicester and London.

The Future Of Services Between Leicester And London

East Midlands Railway currently run four trains per hour (tph) between Leicester and London, with the fastest trains taking five minutes over the hour.

New 125 mph bi-mode Class 804 trains, will be running all main line services on the Midland Main Line from 2023, using electric power between London and Market Harborough.

It is also planned to increase the line speed between London and Market Harborough to 140 mph, so the trains can really use their design speed, by updating the electrification, signalling and track.

From these published plans, I would feel that East Midlands Railway are intending that all Leicester and London services are within the hour.

Reinstatement Of Services On The Ivanhoe Line

This has been promised off-and-on for some time and I wrote about it in Silent Hydrogen Trains On The Cards For New Line Linking Burton And Leicester, after one of my alerts picked up “hydrogen trains”.

The Association Of Train Operating Companies Plan For The Ivanhoe Line

This is taken from the Wikipedia entry for the Ivanhoe Line.

In 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies published a £49 million proposal (Connecting Communities: Expanding Access to the Rail Network) to restore passenger services to the line that would include reopening stations at Kirby Muxloe, Bagworth and Ellistown, Coalville Town, Ashby de la Zouch, Moira, and Gresley (for Swadlincote). There is also some support in the Leicester area for the line to have new stations to serve Leicester City F.C.’s stadium and the suburb of Braunstone.

Wikipedia also says, it could be developed as a no-frills line.

Given the government’s enthusiasm for reopening lines closed by Beeching, I suspect that this line will be reopened to passenger traffic in the next few years.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Station

This section of the route map for High Speed Two, shows where the Ivanhoe Line crosses it, just by a major road junction outside Ashby-de-la-Zouch.


  1. High Speed Two is shown in orange.
  2. The Ivanhoe Line runs West-East from the West edge of the map and after crossing the A42 and High Speed Two it curves South-East.

Where the two lines cross would it be sensible to build a simple interchange station?

  • Andrew Bridgen’s constituency has a electorate of over 72,000.
  • The station would be well-connected to the road network via the the M42, A42 and A51.
  • There would appear to be plenty of space for parking.
  • It would ease the problems of going by train between Leicester and Birmingham.
  • A bridge will have to be built at the location of the station to carry High Speed Two over the Ivanhoe Line, so why not design the bridge with simple platforms?
  • As High Speed Two’s trains will be designed with fast acceleration and deceleration, the stops would be very quick
  • Passengers would only be allowed on the High Speed Two platforms, when trains are in the station.

Perhaps given its location it could be called the Heart of England Parkway station?

The Station Site

This Google Map shows the station site.


  1. The Ivanhoe Line is at the bottom of the map.
  2. There is a spur from the line into the space.
  3. High Speed Two will run almost North-South parallel to the A42.

It looks like an abandoned open-cast coal-mine or quarry. Does anybody else know better?


There has already been speculation for the building of a similar station, which I wrote about in Should High Speed Two Have A Station At Calvert?, so perhaps it’s not a totally crazy idea,

Perhaps, there are other places, where High Speed Two crosses other main lines, where parkway stations could be built?



February 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Ipswich Town’s title win in 1962 is a bigger underdog tale than Leicester City winning the Premier League

Who said that?

Ray Crawford, who scored thirty-three goals in Ipswich’s title win in 1962, did in this article in the East Anglian Daily Times. Crawford says this.

Town had been in Division Three South when England’s future World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey took charge in 1955. There was promotion in ‘57, they were Division Two title winners in ‘61 and top-flight 
champions the following year. Five players were there throughout the journey.

“Leicester’s is an unbelievable story because it’s come in an era which, sadly, is dominated by money,” said Crawford. “I still think ours was a bigger achievement then theirs though.

“We were a bunch of nobodies who had never been in the top division. Everyone wrote us off. They said we didn’t have enough experience, they said we were lucky to win the Second Division and they said we were favourites to go straight back down. We didn’t have a single international until I was capped (just twice) towards the end of that season.

Ipswich declined after Sir Alf left for England. Under him, Ipswich had played a unique system suited to the players, which is what Sir Alf did to win the World Cup with England. You could argue, that Ranieri has got Leicester to play in a style that suits his players strengths and no other club has really found the answer yet!

I do wonder if Ramsey and Ranieri, who were both defenders, learned their management skills watching from the back, as the forwards wasted chances galore.

As an aside, hoe much would Chelsea or Manchester City pay for a striker, who scored thirty-three goals in a season?

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Sport | , , | 2 Comments

Leicester Via Oakham And Melton Mowbray

I went to Leicester by taking a train to Peterborough and then took the Cross Country route via Oakham and Melton Mowbray stations.

Note the hot chocolate, which was one of the best I’d had in some time, except for another one on a train a couple of weeks ago.

I went by this route for three reasons.

  • I wanted to have a look at the two stations of Oakham and Melton Mowbray, and although nothing special, they both look to be well-maintained provincial stations.
  • I wanted to see whether the things I said in The Kettering To Oakham Line were valid.
  • I also wondered if you could get a peek of the Welland Viaduct, before the two routes join South of Oakham. I didn’t!

I think that East Midlands Trains will have fun in this area, as electrification of the Midland Main Line starts to be finished.

The St. Pancras Problem

St. Pancras station must be a very inefficient station for East Midlands Trains.

  • It has only four platforms, whereas they probably need a couple more.
  • These platforms can take ten car trains, like 2+8 HSTs or two five-car Class 222 trains.
  • Passenger access to the platforms is chronically bad and usually involves a lot more walking than say at Liverpool Street, Kings Cross or Paddington, where you exit from one end of the train onto a wide concourse.
  • Double use of platforms must also be a nightmare for the company and its staff.
  • New electric trains will increase the number of passengers wanting to travel.

I wonder how many passengers take trains that stop at Bedford and use Thameslink to go to London. Or perhaps drive to places like Grantham, Newark or Nuneaton and use alternative services.

One way to increase the efficiency of St. Pancras would be to run only full-length trains into the station.

But this would increase the problems of passenger flow, in one of my least favourite stations.

Two bullets will have to be bitten.

  • The two escalators linking down from the East Midlands Trains station at St. Pancras, will have to be augmented to at least three and possibly four.
  • Lifts must be provided so that passengers with heavy bags can descend to the main concourse and Thameslink, without walking fifty metres in the wrong direction.

To be fair, the station was designed before the trtemendous increase in passengers seen in the last few years.

But the architects knew that Thameslink was getting seventy percent larger and made no provision for proper links between the four sets of rail lines serving the station.

The Ten-Car Train Effects

If East Midlands Trains was only running full length, which will probably be ten-car trains into St. Pancras, it would mean they would have to be acceptable all over their network.

The trains could be two five-cars running as a pair and these could join and divide appropriately to open up new services.

For instance, a train to Nottingham could divide with one section going to Mansfield and the other to Lincoln.

Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield wouldn’t be a problem, but would Corby be able to fill a ten-car train, when as I found on A Trip To Corby, during the day they have difficulties filling a five-car one.

Onward From Corby

The solution is that trains from Corby should go on to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.

The area is seeing a lot of new housebuilding and would probably welcome a direct service to London.

The trains could either go North at Syston Junction to East Midlands Parkway and Sheffield or loop back South to Leicester.

I suspect that East Midlands Trains have their plan to expand their market and that the expansion of Corby station into a full two-platform through station is part of that plan.


Everything is seeing improvement in the East Midlands.





May 5, 2016 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Leicester City Centre

This Google Map shows the relationship between Leicester station and the City Centre.

Leicester Station And The City Centre

Leicester Station And The City Centre

The station is in the South-East corner and the big High Cross Shopping Centre and the cathedral are in the North-West corner.

Leicester City’s stadium is off the map to the South-West.

I could just about walk it to the Shopping Centre from the station, but it was at the limit of my range with the faciitis in my right foot.

I took these pictures as I walked between the station and the centre.

If there was a city, that needs a people mover of some sort between the two locations, it is Leicester.

All European cities would run a tram and with the latest technological developments, the tram would now be battery powered as in Seville and soon to be seen in Birmingham. On such a short distance, it doesn’t even have to have rails, but could be a rubber-tyred, double-ended articulated bus. I once saw a concept like this is in a Wrightbus presentation.

I made one big mistake on my visit to Leicester.

I was intending to go to the cathedral and have some lunch, which I did in Carluccio’s in the High Cross Shopping Centre.

As I was hungry, I had the lunch first and found that the shopping centre has been designed, so you have to go back through it to get anywhere.

As I didn’t want to buy anything except lunch, that would have been a pointless exercise.

So after wasting twenty minutes walking in the wrong way, I was running too late to visit the cathedral.

So on your visit to Leicester visit the cathedral first and if you’re in a hurry and want something to eat afterwards, don’t go in the shopping centre.

A properly-designed people mover going from the station to the pedestriansed central are and on to the cathedral would not only solve my problem, but it would surely attract a lot more visitors to the city to visit the cathedral and Kind Richard.

The one thing that a people-mover in Leicester, doesn’t have to be, is a fully-fledged tram with overhead wires. That is so nineteenth century for short routes in city centres.

Get it right in Leicester and I can think of several other towns and cities, that could use such a system.



May 5, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

The Leicester Effect On The Elections

Don’t forget that the Tories also play in blue!

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , | 1 Comment

The Leicester Effect

One of the readers of this blog, is a US-based Corporate Lawyer, who specialises in doing the legals for US companies, which are often hi-tech companies at the smaller end, who want to have a presence in Europe. Like me, he is widowed and in his sixties, so he started reading this site initially to satisfy his passion for European travel, as he felt we might have similar tastes and interests. Which after meeting a couple of times in London, I can confirm.

A couple of times, he’s asked me to look at particular places, as some of his clients are thinking of going there. I’ve also been sent profiles of some of his clients and asked to recommend a suitable place for them in the UK.

In one case, he asked me to suggest a place for a guy, who was a serious small-boat sailor, who wanted to set up a support office for about twenty, with good access to airports for the US and Europe. His wife was also a financial analyst for a US bank and was intending to work in the City. They felt they needed to be somewhere like Hampshire.

I suggested that they have a look at Ilford because.

  • The sailing in Essex is some of the best in the world.
  • Offices are plentiful and affordable.
  • You’re close to the City and the centre of London.
  • In a couple of years time, they’ll be a direct link to Heathrow.

The company now has a support base for Europe in a new office close to Ilford station.

The couple have bought a flat near the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The clincher on their choice, was they both like football and they have got season tickets for West Ham for next year.

I’ve met them a couple of times and don’t regret their decisions at all.

Last night, the US Corporate Lawyer sent me this e-mail.

I keep getting asked by companies about Leicester.

It’s all to do with the soccer and possibly the evil King found in a parking lot.

What do you know about Leicester?

Is it a good place to live and do business?

What are the transport connections to London like?


I shall go this week with my camera.

But who’d have thought a few years ago, that Leicester City would create inward investment into the city?

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | 2 Comments

Tram-Trains To East Midlands Airport

I have a Google Alert looking for tram-trains and it found this article on the Nottingham Post entitled Could tram-trains link Nottingham to East Midlands Airport?

It’s a thought!

The article talks about a proposal to create a link between East Midlands Airport and the Midland Main Line, that would allow tram-trains to connect the airport to cities like Nottingham, Derby and Leicester and the proposed HS2 station at Toton.

This is a Google Map of the area between the Airport and the Midland Main Line.

East Midlands Airport, the M1 And The Midland Main Line

East Midlands Airport, the M1 And The Midland Main Line

East Midlands Parkway station is at the top right of the map.

I think that properly designed this idea could have legs.

A few points.

  1. Some doubt the South East will ever get a new runway, so improving connections to East Midlands Airport would surely mean more passengers flew from their local airport, rather than a congested Heathrow.
  2. It would improve links between the major cities and population centres of the East Midlands and they probably need an improved turn-up-and-go four trains per hour service between each.
  3. There are a number of intermediate stations to the various destinations, which probably need better connections.
  4. The tram-line would also cross the M1. So would a pick-up/drop-off tram stop ease travel in the area?
  5. Once the tram-train technology is proven and approved and the Midland Main Line is electrified, I doubt that creating the link would be a difficult planning or engineering project.

I will be very surprised if at some point in the future, some form of light or heavy rail line doesn’t reach East Midlands Airport.

But then I think tram-trains would be best.

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

I’ve just bought myself a cloud and I’m putting all the family pictures on DVD up there, so that my son and certain old friends can see them.

I found this photo of a sign on the outskirts of Leicester or Derby.

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

The Things You Find When You Look Through Old Photos

I wonder what happened to Bubbles and Babes?

Did the bottom fall out of the market?

The picture was taken around 2006 or so!


July 4, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Player Who Lost It And The Match

The match at Portman Road looked like it was going to end up as a hard-fought goal-less draw.

It all turns on an incident in the second half, where Wes Morgan, Leicester’s caption got involved in a couple of altercations with Michael Chopra and then Daryl Murphy. He claimed he had been kicked and elbowed, but all the referee did was book him for protesting. he then made a big mistake and Ipswich scored.  Here’s Mick McCarthy on the incident from an article in the East Anglian.

Asked about the incidents leading up to the goal, McCarthy said: “I think first and foremost he (Morgan) blocked Chopra by running across the front of him and then there was a tangle of legs. Whether Chops caught him or not I don’t know.

“That upset the apple cart a bit. I think Chops jumped up with his arms a it at a corner kick, but didn’t make any contact (there was also a coming to with Murphy).

“That would be the last of my worries if I was playing against Chops though. I’d be kicking the ***** out of him and be making sure he didn’t put the ball in the net.

“It got a little bit fractious. There were pushes in both boxes, I’m screaming for fouls, he (Nigel Pearson) is screaming for fouls, there are words between us.

“As a centre-half you have to keep your composure – because that’s what people do. As a centre-half I went out with sole intention to upset the two ******* I was up against, or anyone who came anywhere near me.

“I played against Mick Harford and Tony Cunningham. Their intention was smash me across the nose and upset me.

I was close to the incidents and we didn’t notice anything, but then Chopra was being the professional irritant all day, by harrying for everything.

A big factor in the win was McCarthy’s use of substitutes.  He took Chopra off after the first incident with Morgan, to avoid further trouble.  This substitution got Daryl Murphy on the pitch.  I’ve talked to Murphy and he is very much the articulate Irishman, so was he winding up Morgan? At the death, McCarthy put Andy Drury to effectively keep the ball and stop Leicester from equalising.

It was all a bit different to the match at Leicester in November.

March 3, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | 1 Comment

Lost In Leicester

I left the match at half-time and then tried to walk to the station, by reversing the route shown to me by two Leicester supporters. Signage was non-existent near the stadium and the first one I found was this outside the hospital.

A Useless Sign In Leicester

Chocolate teapots come to mind. I eventually found this map at the station.

A Useless Map In Leicester

It doesn’t show either the football or rugby stadiums.

November 18, 2012 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment