The railway is operated by The Rushden, Higham and Wellingborough Railway (RHWR) and presently has half a mile of track. It uses a Class 142 “Pacer” diesel unit operating passenger trains on event days throughout the year. It has steam and diesel locomotives currently under restoration. The railway is also available for private hire.
The railway was built by The Midland Railway in 1894 and became the only branch line in Northamptonshire. The line ran from Wellingborough through Rushden to Higham Ferrers.
Such was the need to carry materials and products for the boot and shoe trade in Rushden, a large goods facility was provided with regular freight traffic running between passenger services.
Regular passenger trains ceased in June 1959, although the line continued to see Saturday specials running until around 1965. The last known passenger train to transverse the line was on the 18th May 1968, formed of a diesel multiple unit on an enthusiast’s special.
Freight traffic continued until November 1969 when the line finally closed. The last train being formed of a class 25 diesel which collected twelve iron ore tippler wagon from Higham Ferrers Station.
Soon after closure the track was lifted with Rushden Goods Shed and associated yard becoming a highways depot and the station building was rented to various businesses.
In 1984 Rushden Historical Transport Society obtained a lease on Rushden Station building which led to its eventual purchase in 1996. After many years of hard work by members, the site was developed and restored and on the 13th June 2009 RHWR ran its first passenger train from Rushden Station exactly fifty years to the day the last regular passenger service ceased.
In 2011 the line towards Higham Ferrers was extended by a quarter a mile of track, whilst 2015 saw the start of Phase Three which adds a further half a mile of track linking, Rushden and Higham Ferrers for the first time in fifty-five years.
A fourth and final stage will eventually see the railway establish a halt in Higham Ferrers extending the line to total length of approximately one mile.
During 2023 our Class 142 “Pacer” will run during our special events. Please see our What’s On page for more information.
All passenger rides comprise two journeys between Rushden Station and the end of the line at Prospect Avenue and take approximately 15 minutes.
Society telephone: +44 (0)300 302 3150
Society email: email@example.com