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LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

Radford Road

What seems to have been lost in the mists of time is the fact that a station was planned and indeed built on the Coundon side of what is now known as Radford Road, on the Coventry to Nuneaton Railway. However for reasons currently unknown, the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) chose not to open the station to the public. What is known is that the station had been constructed at least by 1855. A letter published in the Coventry Herald on 23rd March 1855 refers to the 'new station in the Radford-road'. 'It was constructed some time ago'. The letter goes on 'Either it will be an accommodation to the public, or it will not. If the latter, it need not have been constructed; but if the former, the sooner the accommodation is placed within reach of the public, the better'. This seems to infer it was constructed sometime after the line was opened to the public in September 1850. A mention in the Coventry Herald in November 1855 brings up the question again and goes on 'I well know what it is to wade through dirt and filth from the Roman Catholic Chapel to the Counden [note the spelling; Coundon Road station opened initially as 'Counden Road'] station, and as so many persons are so anxious for this new station to be opened, allow me a corner in your next number to state it will never be opened; for the Directors' Inspector has distinctly refused to sanction it as a fit and proper place for a station'.

This seems to throw some confusion into the situation - why build it (if it ever was properly built, but some later maps show platforms in place as well as the station building) if the location wasn't 'fit and proper'?? Another piece in the Coventry Herald of 5th December 1856 says that the 'Town Council' are to make efforts to get the station 'in the Radford-road opened for public use'. It goes on 'We trust the movement will be successful, as there cannot be two opinions as to the greater eligibility of the new station over the one at Coundon, both as it respects its nearness to the Town, and its superiority of the road leading to it, the approach to the Coundon station (especially in the winter evenings) being dark, dirty and lonely'.

By Friday 13th February 1857, great chunks of Spon End viaduct had collapsed. The Lord Mayor reported that the 'Board' (ie Coventry Council) had written to the LNWR once again asking when the Radford station was going to open. Seeing as the arches had collapsed trains were terminating at Coundon Road. The LNWR's view was that the 'Coundon-road Station was nearer to the City and to the main station, than the Radford-road station, and that at present it is not desirable to open a station at Coventry'. The Lord Mayor's view was that 'though further from the main station, the Radford-road station was closer to the City and more convenient than that at Coundon'. The LNWR's response was that arrangements were in place for the 'present month' (!!]) and could not be altered (!!!). More on this when we find it.... On the same date, 'Mr T Hill wished to know whether steps could be taken to clear a footpath at Spon-end, where the arches had fallen-in? At present, foot passengers were subject to great inconvenience'.

There is no doubt that the station at Radford was built, despite its closeness to Coundon Road. The station house was built, but not in the same sandstone as Coundon Road station, Spon End Viaduct and all the other bridges on the section of line between Spon End viaduct and Foleshill. That includes the bridge on the Radford Road alongside which it was built.

Ron Kosys

A 1912 Ordnance Survey map showing the location of Daimler Halt prior to it being opened in March 1917
Ref: lnwrdh3392
National Library of Scotland
A 1912 Ordnance Survey map showing the location of Daimler Halt prior to it being opened in March 1917
View of Daimler Halt with a Coventry to Nuneaton local passenger train standing at the up platform as passengers board
Ref: lnwrdh3391
P Lee
The Coventry and Nuneaton route map showing Radford Station complete with platforms and name
Looking towards Coventry from Radford Road bridge with 'Radford Station building on the left on 2nd September 1971
Ref: radford_rd
R Kosys
Looking towards Coventry from Radford Road bridge with 'Radford Station building on the left on 2nd September 1971