Leicester North Station is the southernmost station on the GCR. It replaces the original station (Belgrave & Birstall ) that had served the London Extension of the GCR faithfully since it was opened in 1899. The station was closed by BR in 1963 as part of the general run down of the line to London Marylebone.
Owing to the very dilapidated condition of this station (owing to vandalism and neglect) it was decided demolish the original station in 1977 and build a new station a little further south and re-name it Leicester North to reflect its position within the City of Leicester. The new station was envisaged as a terminus station with two platforms, an end concourse and a major terminal building. The station is at the end of the current single track section of the line from Rothley. In the 1980s a campaign was launched to reinstate the lifted rail line between Rothley and Birstall. This Birstall Extension was opened by Dame Margaret Weston on 15th November, 1990. With the aid of the City Council the new station Down platform, concourse and the stub platform forming the initial part of the Up platform was completed in 1991 and officially opened on 5th July with a galaxy of locomotives including the Rocket replica of the National Railway Museum.
For a variety of reasons, not least the discovery of a high pressure water main under the site, the proposed terminus building was never started and the station consisted of just platforms with a coach delivered each running day to provide all necessary facilities. A fund raising campaign was started to build proper facilities and on 9th March, 1999 The Countess of Lanesborough cut the first sod to start the construction of the present station building consisting of a Waiting Room, Refreshment facilities with Ticket Office, a General Office and toilets. After a protracted building programme the station buildings were opened in 2002 giving passengers much needed facilities.
Further improvements to passenger facilities were added in 2009 when a canopy was built at the station enabling passengers to shelter from inclement weather. On 6th August 2009 the canopy was declared officially open by the Mayor of Charnwood and the Lord Mayor of Leicester.
In 2012 the railway opened the Greenacres site and the new restaurant The Platform just south of the station. With these facilities and the proximity to the National Space Centre and the Abbey Mills Pumping Station it is confidently predicted that Leicester North will become a major attraction and boarding point for a trip on the unique preserved main line that is the Great Central Railway.
Many further improvements have been made recently and more will continue to be made as and when finance allows.
Our small Waiting Room is open every operating day, and contains several interesting pictures and posters. Paintings by a local artist are on display, and can be purchased. A percentage of the price being kindly donated by the artist to help with station funds.
The Buffet is open as often as staffing levels permit and from where, visitors and passengers can purchase tea/coffee/hot chocolate etc, along with crisps, biscuits and home made cakes (made by staff members) are available quite often.
All in all, we strive to ensure that our station is as attractive as possible, to which end we have a very active maintenance team who are constantly doing battle with nature and the elements, strimming, mowing, weeding and planting, as well as ensuring that the station building and immediate area are kept in as good a condition as possible.
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