Open main menu

Sleaford railway station

Sleaford railway station serves the town of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, England. The station is 21.25 miles (34 km) south of Lincoln Central.

Sleaford National Rail
Sleaford Station - - 122462.jpg
Local authorityNorth Kesteven, Lincolnshire
Coordinates52°59′44″N 0°24′37″W / 52.995488°N 0.410350°W / 52.995488; -0.410350Coordinates: 52°59′44″N 0°24′37″W / 52.995488°N 0.410350°W / 52.995488; -0.410350
Grid referenceTF067454
Station codeSLR
Managed byEast Midlands Railway
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 301,349
2014/15Increase 312,888
2015/16Increase 321,288
2016/17Decrease 316,570
2017/18Decrease 309,326
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Sleaford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
View from the level crossing
Platform view

The station is now owned by Network Rail and managed by East Midlands Railway who provide all rail services.

Sleaford is the last remaining market town in Lincolnshire to be served by both north-south and east-west lines.


Early proposalsEdit

The Sleaford Navigation, which canalised a 12.5-mile stretch of the River Slea from its junction with the River Witham to Sleaford, opened in 1794. It facilitated the export of agricultural produce to the midlands and the import of coal and oil. Mills sprang up along the river's course and the Navigation Company's wharves were built near its office on Carre Street in Sleaford.[1][2] In 1827, the River Witham Navigation committee investigated the possibility of a railway allowing Ancaster stone to be transported to the Sleaford Navigation. The cost of doing so and competition from other quarries meant that their plans came to nothing.[3]

An 1836 scheme envisaged a railway between Nottingham and Boston which would have stopped at Sleaford, but the plans never left the drawing board. Another attempt, the Eastern Counties scheme, unsuccessfully tried to build a railway between Lincoln and Cambridge, with a branch to Boston via Heckington and an extension to Sleaford. After protests from the Sleaford Navigation company, the necessary Bill never passed. In 1845, the Ambergate Company designed a railway from Ambergate to Nottingham, with branches to Boston, Spalding, Grantham and Sleaford. A Bill to that effect passed through the Houses of Parliament in 1846, but the railway only reached Grantham. In the meantime, the more ambitious Great Northern Railway from London to York was also endorsed by an Act of Parliament; it passed through Grantham and a loop line from Boston to Lincoln was operating by 1848, yet its planned extension between Boston and Sleaford was not sanctioned.[4]

The railways arriveEdit

A new plan emerged in 1852 and was presented before Parliament the following year. The Sleaford, Boston and Midland Counties Railway would pass through Boston, Sleaford and Grantham. The proposals met with considerable support from businessmen in Sleaford, including a number of Navigation officials; they envisaged it as a mode of transporting coal and stone.[5] The Bill passed in August 1853. Constructed by Smith, Knight & Co. under the supervision of the engineers W. H. Brydone and Edward Harrison, the line between Barkston, near Grantham, and Sleaford opened on 15 June 1857.[6][7][8] An elaborate set of celebrations were organised for the opening day of the new Sleaford railway station, which saw all of the town's businesses close to allow their employees chance take part in the festivities; over 700 men from the area were invited to a free lunch on the cricket fields.[9]

The Grantham–Sleaford line cost £130,000 to construct, averaging at £11,850 per mile; the extension to Boston opened on 12 April 1859, at a cost of £6,500 per mile, considerably cheaper thanks to the flat terrain (the hillier Ancaster area, by contrast, required cuttings).[10] From the outset, the rolling stock was owned by the Great Northern Railway Company (GNR), who took over ownership of the line on 1 July 1864.[11]

New connectionsEdit

The Great Eastern Railway wanted to build a line from Cambridge to York, which would have passed through Sleaford and Bourne, but Parliament would not allow it.[12] The GNR submitted a proposal for a line between Bourne and Sleaford, which, after amendments to the route, was approved in 1865 and opened in 1872.[12][13] Next came the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway which opened from Spalding through Sleaford to Ruskington and from there to Lincoln Central in 1882. Kirk and Parry, Sleaford-based building contractors, built the line, while the Ruskington-based builders Pattinson's constructed the new stations along the route.[13] The line was designed to transport freight, which necessitated an avoiding line around Sleaford;[14] Sleaford station was also extended.[15] The last new line through Sleaford ran to RAF Cranwell and opened in 1916.[16]

Operations and later historyEdit

The Cranwell branch ran at a loss: in response to a Parliamentary Question, it was revealed that, allowing for a credit in respect of the c.15,000 tons of Government stores that were transported along it during 1924, the line made a loss of some £3,570, although it was reported that "any alternative means ... would involve considerably greater expenditure".[17] Having ceased to carry passenger traffic in 1927, it closed completely in 1956.[16]

19 September 1954. A1 4-6-2 No. 60136 'Alcazar' heads Trains Illustrated Fenland Rail Tour at Sleaford

Passenger services on the Bourne branch ceased on 22 September 1930.[12] The Spalding line closed in 1964.[14]

The Grantham to Boston and Spalding to Lincoln Central lines remain open, as does the north to south link line bypassing the station. This has recently been refurbished by Network Rail and returned to full operation after several years of disuse[18] (as part of the plan to route more freight trains onto the latter and away from the busy East Coast Main Line).

Sleaford is still one of only a few places still to have signal boxes named 'North', 'South', 'West' and 'East' around the area. With the North and South boxes on the Peterborough to Lincoln Line, and then the West and East boxes are at each end of the station on the Grantham to Boston Line. So if travelling from Lincoln Central to Peterborough on the train you would pass all four boxes. The North and South boxes are however due to be decommissioned as part of the upgrade work mentioned above at the end of 2013.

Station MastersEdit

  • Mr. Brittain ca. 1859
  • Mr. Lewin ca. 1862
  • Edwin Dibben ca. 1876
  • James L Rayner 1882 - 1885[19] (afterwards station master at Spalding)
  • Arthur Frederick Borwell 1885 - 1897[20]
  • William Durston Bagg 1897 - 1925[21]
  • Edward Walter Hammond 1926 - 1936
  • E. Mitchell 1936 - 1937
  • Ernest Edward Haynes 1937 - 1940[22]
  • S.J.W. Pickering 1940 - 1943[23]
  • F.M. Wright ca. 1947
  • A.J. Marshall ca. 1955


As of December 2018 there is an approximately hourly service each weekday to Nottingham via Grantham and to Skegness.[24] A limited service operates on Sundays with additional trains during the summer months.

There is also an hourly service on the Peterborough to Lincoln Line northwards to Lincoln Central and southwards to Spalding and Peterborough – the Peterborough service does not run in the evenings. There is no Sunday service on this line.[25]

Preceding station     National Rail   Following station
East Midlands Railway
Poacher Line
East Midlands Railway
Mondays-Saturdays only
Historical railways
Line and station open
Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
TerminusGreat Northern Railway
Line and station closed
Line and station closed
Great Northern RailwayTerminus



  1. ^ Pawley 1996, pp. 64–66
  2. ^ "History – The Company". Sleaford Navigation Trust. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Archived at the Internet Archive on
  3. ^ Ellis 1981, p. 79
  4. ^ Ellis 1981, p. 79-80
  5. ^ Ellis 1981, p. 80
  6. ^ Ellis 1981, pp. 80–81
  7. ^ Historic England. "Sleaford and Boston Branch Railway (1365060)". PastScape. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Opening of the Boston, Sleaford and Midland Counties Railway.-Grantham to Sleaford". Illustrated London News. 20 June 1857. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  9. ^ Ellis 1981, pp. 81–82
  10. ^ Ellis 1981, pp. 83–84
  11. ^ Ellis 1981, p. 85
  12. ^ a b c Historic England. "Bourne & Sleaford railway (1365418)". PastScape. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  13. ^ a b Ellis 1981, p. 86
  14. ^ a b Historic England. "Spalding and Lincoln Railway (1365440)". PastScape. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Sleaford railway station (1062114)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Heritage Gateway Record for RAF Cranwell – Reference Name MLI83189". Lincs To The Past. Lincoln, England: Lincolnshire Archives. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Cranwell and Sleaford Railway. HC Deb 17 June 1925 vol 185 cc494-5". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. 17 June 1925. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  18. ^ Network Rail starts renovation work on Sleaford Avoiding Line Railway Technology website news article; Retrieved 3 July 2013
  19. ^ "Popular GNR Official". Lincolnshire Chronicle. England. 28 September 1855. Retrieved 2 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  20. ^ "Appointment". Grantham Journal. England. 24 April 1897. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  21. ^ "Sleaford Station-Master Dead". Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian. England. 21 November 1925. Retrieved 2 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  22. ^ "Stationmaster Retiring". Boston Guardian. England. 7 August 1940. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  23. ^ "LNER Retirement". Lincolnshire Echo. England. 17 September 1942. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  24. ^ GB eNRT December 2018 Edition, Table 19
  25. ^ Table 18 National Rail timetable, May 2018


External linksEdit

  • England – Lincolnshire (Map). 1:10,560. County series, Epoch 1. Ordnance Survey. 1891. Sheet 106/NW. ; Sleaford station on 1891 OS map.