Retro: Corby train station’s stop-start history

Corby railway station has had a long and chequered history.

It opened in 1879, originally named Weldon and Corby, to avoid any confusion with the station in Corby Glen in Leicestershire.

The last loco runs at Corby in 1980

The last loco runs at Corby in 1980

In the mid-1960s the Beeching axe fell with the restructing of the the country’s rail network.

Reports were produced in 1963 and 1965, identifying 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of railway line earmarked for closure.

There were protests at the time but most closures went ahead as planned including Corby where the line closed to passengers on April 18, 1966.

Corby became one of the largest towns in Europe without a railway station, a status which saw it feature in an episode of the BBC quiz show QI in 2005.

But in 1987 that was to change when, with the help of a subsidy from Corby Council, the station re-opened, running a shutttle service between Corby and Kettering.

More than 100,000 people used the service within the first 12 months but the service became unreliable and the council withdrew its funding.

Network Southeast withdrew the service in June 1990 and once again Corby was left without a station.

In June 2006, campaigners for a station for Corby were encouraged when the Department for Transport (DfT) told prospective bidders for the new East Midlands rail franchise that they must include a price for a service to a new station planned for Corby in their tenders. There were ambitious regeneration plans for Corby and a station would be in line with the town’s expansion and growth.

Network Rail set aside £1.2m towards the cost of a new station and in 2007 the Department for Transport confirmed that Stagecoach had won the franchise and revealed that the company, operating as East Midlands Trains, would run an extra hourly London to Kettering service, with the possibility of extending this to Corby.

On April 27, 2009, the dream of a rail service for Corby became a reality when the Secretary of State for Transport Geoff Hoon officially opened the new station in the Old Village.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the ceremony, including civic dignitaries, rail campaigners and residents.

From that day the town enjoyed a full service to London with 13 trains a day running to St Pancras.

Mr Hoon said: “Corby has a long railwaying history and it’s absolutely right that Corby should have a modern station.”

He paid tribute to former Corby MP Phil Hope who campaigned for the station, and to the contributions made by Corby Council, North Northants Development Company and its predecessor Catalyst Corby, EMDA, East Midlands Trains and Network Rail.

Since then, the station has gone from strength to strength, with passenger figures increasing each year.

In the first year of operating the station was used by 115,400 passengers and the figures for 2012/2013 more than doubled to 232,792.

Recently Network Rail announced Corby station is to benefit as part of a multi-billion pound five-year investment programme which includes the electrification of the Midland Main Line, reaching Corby at the end of 2017 with Nottingham and Derby to follow at the end of 2019 and Sheffield at the end of 2020

There are also projects to allow more services to run on the routes between Bedford and Kettering and Kettering and Corby. In December, rail supporters successfully campaigned to plug a two-hour gap in the timetable and the 10.16am service to London St Pancras was introduced.