The south bay platforms at Leicester Central, circa 1965. See Details

It is often said that the end of the London Extension came about on 3rd September 1966. In a sense, this is true, but it certainly was not the end of the line - so to speak. In fact, this date only marked the railway's closure as a trunk route, and with it the end of services to Sheffield and Marylebone. From here onwards, all that would operate would be a diesel multiple unit service between Nottingham Victoria and Rugby Central. North of Nottingham the line would be lifted and scrapped, as would much of the line between Rugby and Quainton Road.

However, Leicester Central was unusually busy on that September day as many enthusiasts and commuters alike turned out to travel on the last trains to London. The timetable remained the same as usual, but the trains themselves had to have extra carriages added to meet the demand; there was even a special train that ran from Waterloo to Sheffield and back. Some people just came out to watch, rather than ride on, the last trains. Some of them had been present at the opening of the line, and now they were witnessing its closure. It was a very sad day.

Ex-LMS Black 5, No. 44984, on the last through train to Marylebone. See Details

The new service started almost immediately, with six trains making the return journey each day. From Leicester Central, the few passengers could travel to Rugby, Lutterworth and Ashby Magna to the south, or Loughborough, East Leake and Nottingham to the north. Before long, Nottingham Victoria was closed and the service called at the reopened Arkwright Street station in the city instead. The closure of Victoria also heralded the withdrawal of staff from the stations, with tickets for the new service now being bought from the guard on the trains. Unfortunately for the Leicester Central staff, this meant that their jobs had become, like the railway itself, surplus to requirements. The service continued until early 1969, but was finally withdrawn completely on 5th May.

British Rail notice: withdrawal of passenger services, March 1969 See Details