Leicester Belgrave Road Station was a Great Northern Railway (GNR) terminus opened on October 2nd 1882. It was the terminus of the GNR's branch line from the Great Northern and London and North Western and the main services were to Peterborough and Grantham.
At the time rail travel was the quickest and cheapest way to travel around the UK, even though huge investment had been made into laying the rail lines it was up to 50% cheaper than coach travel!
Even if you were poor you could usually afford rail travel as three different classes of travel existed - third class meant travelling in open topped carriages but the price was such that the less well off in society could use trains.
Because of the reasonable price of rail travel seaside fishing villages suddenly became fashionable and popular and day trips to the coast became common. Belgrave station was quick to take advantage of this and offered summer specials, taking Leicester folk to Skegness and Mablethorpe at reduced prices.
Railways changed the way people lived in many ways, not just making travel easier and less expensive but also food and other goods became cheaper. Manufacturers didn’t have to pay as much for transport so all sorts of products became more readily available at cut-rate prices.
This was especially true for farmers who could get their perishable products to market quickly and cheaply, this included Fisherman who could now bring fresh fish to inland town and cities.
This all had a noticeable effect on the trade around Belgrave with shops and businesses thriving at this time as the village expanded and turned into a suburb to the City.
The rail lines that were served from the Belgrave Station were never as busy as others in the East Midlands and combined with the rise of the motor car and the demise of rail travel the fate of the station was inevitable.
The last regular passenger train stopped at Belgrave in 1953 with the summer specials running for another 9 years until 1962. This was also the year that the last goods trains ran on the lines past Belgrave Station.
The station was finally demolished in 1972 and the site is now where the Belgrave branch of Sainsbury’s (built in 1982) is. The site is due to be redeveloped over the next few years as Sainsbury’s is moving to the top of Melton Road onto the GE Lighting site. The redevelopment will include many small business unit, shops and residential areas.