If you were to look at a map of Leicestershire from about 75 years ago, you might well be struck by the criss-crossing of railway lines traversing the county. At least half a dozen travelling roughly south to north - a similar number east to west. Nearly all were coming from or going to somewhere - a testament to the area's "en route to another place" station in life, and to the many extractive industries - coal, brick clay, stone, and iron ore that gave the Victorian railway companies their rationale for their schemes. Virtually no branch lines and almost like a proper network you might think, except on closer inspection there wasn't much joining up and noticing that most of the county's market towns had two or sometimes three unconnected stations.
Then the GN & LNW Joint, threading its way through the Cotswold-like hills and valleys of the uncrowded eastern uplands, as both companies pursued their common purpose to break the Midland Railway's stranglehold on the coal trade of the East Midlands (as the Great Central was also to attempt later), seemed at the time a good idea ... except it was built too late (1879), by which time the Midland had built a new line to Nottingham and most importantly grabbed the iron ore trade for the then new steelworks at Corby. It never really got going, though odd bits of activity kept its freight service going until the 1960s, its timetabled passenger trains dwindling and dying a long time before.
So this booklet describes the scheming and plotting to get the line built in the first place, a survey of what was left in 1972, long after closure, and details of passenger workings. There's not much storytelling in there - though the line was blessed or cursed by the almost feudal social structures centred on Belvoir Castle and the Duke of Rutland, the foxhunting lobby and the arrival of Maharajahs and the Prince of Wales' retinue en masse at the start of the season, and the army came and went, as did the line's staple milk trade. So there's probably a good book on the Leicestershire Ghost Line still to be written, this modest booklet is OK to be going on with.