This was our first workday held on a week day and everything was perfect. We had fabulous weather, two roaring bonfires, six or so volunteers and boy did we clear a whole load of trees in the picnic clearing.
However, the line from Rugby was not the first to reach Leamington. The L&BR had opened a branch from its mainline at Coventry in 1844 which terminated at Milverton, midway between Leamington and Warwick. This terminal Station was originally called Leamington despite being a mile from the town. When the LNWR line from Rugby was built in 1851, it extended west of Leamington crossing the River Leam on a stone Viaduct to make an end-on connection to the branch from Coventry.
Meanwhile, however, the Great Western Railway (GWR) Oxford to Birmingham line was being constructed through Leamington and the line from Rugby ran parallel to it. The GWR’s original Leamington station opened in 1852 and its successor on the same site is still open today. Two years later, the LNWR opened its own station alongside the GWR station. The LNWR’s station was north of the GWR’s and at a slightly lower level. This new station was named Leamington Avenue and the former LNWR terminus on the line from Coventry was renamed Warwick (Milverton).
The line from Rugby to Leamington opened throughout on 1 March 1851. It was originally built as single track but as traffic grew the line was doubled in stages from Rugby: by January 1884 the whole route to Milverton was double track. The lines were designated Up to Rugby and Down to Leamington.
The Leamington branch diverged from the LNWR mainline half-a-mile west of Rugby Station at Trent Valley Junction. Local trains for Leamington used the down (north) end bay platforms at Rugby. At the other end of the line, services from Rugby ran through to Warwick (Milverton) and this practice continued until closure because the loco shed and servicing depot for the Rugby-Leamington-Coventry lines was at Milverton.
In 1895, a junction was constructed when the single track line from Weedon to Daventry was extended westward to join the Rugby to Leamington line. Marton Junction was two miles west of Marton station in a deep cutting through a ridge of high ground. The junction remained in use until the withdrawal in the mid-1980s of the infrequent freight trains supplying the Rugby Portland Cement Company’s works beside the line near Long Itchington.
Before that, however, regular passenger services on the Rugby to Leamington line had been withdrawn in June 1959 (although diverted passenger services occasionally used the line after this date). General goods traffic lasted a few years longer but the line closed as a through route in the mid-1960s. However, as noted above, the line from Rugby as far as Marton Junction (together with the first three miles of the line towards Weedon) remained open until freight services to the cement works finished.