Roade Railway Cutting Exhibition
8th & 9th Sept 2018 (part of Heritage Open days)

Visitors to the Exhibition were very impressed by the display about the history of the Cutting and asked for a book on the subject.  Chris Hillyard has responded to their requests and CUTTING REMARKS The Story of Roade’s railways and Cutting through the ages is now almost ready for print. Publication is delayed due to Covid restrictions - please check this website for updates.

The weekend Heritage Open Days Grand Exhibition celebrating the 180th Anniversary of Roade Railway Cutting on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September at Roade Village Hall, was officially opened by -

The Leader of the House of Commons &
Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire

The Rt. Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP


This prestigious award, which recognises the Roade Cutting as a National Transport Heritage Site, was unveiled by Stuart Wilkinson, Chairman of the Transport Trust, and Chris Hillyard RVM, Roade Local History Society.

Click here to see more information about the Red Wheel.

Supported by:

8th & 9th September 2018
Click here to see the poster advertising this event.

Roade Local History Society's main event for the year celebrated the 180th Anniversary of the opening of the London to Birmingham Railway in 1838. The event was held over the weekend of 8th/9th September. It was included in the Heritage Open Days calendar and catalogue for 2018.
One of the most challenging and time consuming elements of the line’s construction was the excavation of Roade Cutting, which ranks as one of the major engineering achievements of its day. The Society applied to have this feat recognised by the Transport Trust by awarding it Red Wheel status, this prestigious accreditation being a highly sought after recognition of significant transport heritage. The application was successful and the Red Wheel was unveiled during the event. The completion of the Cutting removed the last obstacle to the opening of the world’s first long-distance intercity railway.
Another First for Roade!

Our event to mark this anniversary included a representative scale model with a detailed history of the trials and tribulations which befell our community during its building and widening, and the social and economic impacts on the area. We are grateful for the tremendous help we received with making the model from the Elizabeth Woodville Schools at both Roade and Deanshanger and society members and a resident Artist.

The event also remembered the significant loss of life which befell the Navvies and pioneering railway company servants, and included previously unseen film and images of the locality. Many other groups and individuals supported this event, including the Northampton Model Railway Society displayed a period model of Northampton Castle Station.

Below are some photos of the Roade cutting model

Two of the many areas depicted in the Roade Cutting model
built by Roade Local History Society and Elizabeth Woodville School

Northampton (Castle) Station built by Northampton & District Model Railway Club

The Roade Cutting model during construction

Larger versions of the images above open in a new window when clicked

L to R: John Martin, Michael Pearce, Chris Hillyard, Jarred Chapman.
John and Chris are RLHS members. Michael is a teacher and Jarred is a student at Elizabeth Woodville school.

Many visitors enjoyed guided tours of Cutting sites.

Videos of the Cutting event

The exhibition was attended by David Wortley of 360in360 Immersive Experiences, who has kindly posted to Youtube some spherical videos he took of the event. In these, it is possible to pan around the video (left and right, up and down) as though you were there at the time and turning your head...........drag the video around on the screen with your mouse or use the arrow controls in the top left of the Youtube videos and have a go!

(links below open in a new window)

Opening Ceremony  -

Red Wheel Plaque Unveiling -

Cutting Walk Part 1 -

Cutting Walk Part 2 -

The Society’s Model of Roade Cutting was Highly Commended in the
London & North Western Society 2019 Model and Engineering Railway Competition 

This was excellent news as there was stiff competition and we were advised that “the calibre of the entries was superb and ... it would have been justified if at least half of the entries had been awarded joint winners”.

Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Best Event Award
for Roade Local History Society

On 4th July 2019 RLHS received a Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Award for our HODs event in September 2018, 'Roade Cutting 180th Anniversary & National Transport Heritage Site Designation 2018'. We were delighted to win as there was strong competition.

There are details of the Awards on the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Facebook
The proud RLHS representatives, Peter Mawby and Chris Hillyard (holding plaque), are on the extreme right of the group photograph.  Both played a vital part in the project and thoroughly deserved recognition.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the event such a success, including:
Elizabeth Woodville School (EWS) North & South Campus for support and help from staff and students throughout the project.
Northamptonshire Community Foundation, Milton Keynes Heritage Association and local sponsors for financial support.
The Transport Trust and its Chairman, Stuart Wilkinson, for unveiling the Red Wheel and Alastair Inglis for applying for it.
The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP for opening the event
Model Team - John Martin, John Armitage, Alan Atkinson, Chris Hillyard, Peter Mawby, EWS
All the exhibitors and stall holders.
Northampton Transport Heritage bus service.
Graham Onley for loan of photographs.
Chris Clayson for organising the Roade Cutting walks.
Alvin Barby, railway historian and modeller.
Ron Johnson for the publicity which raised the profile.
Photographers Aldo Brustengi and Tony Hall.
David Wortley for 360⁰ videos of the event.
Roade WI and all the other local groups and individuals who volunteered at the event.
RLHS members.
Heritage Open Days Organisers.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation Annual Awards 2019

We were delighted to be shortlisted for a Northamptonshire Community Foundation Award in the Best Newcomer category re our Roade Cutting Exhibition. John Martin was also nominated for the Lady Juliet Townsend Award for Volunteering for his vital part in creating the Cutting model.  Unfortunately John was not well enough to attend the Awards event on 6th November but those who went had a great evening and were very impressed by all the saintly volunteers who were honoured there. RLHS didn’t win Best Newcomer but out of 14 nominees, in John Griff’s words, Saint John Martin was one of 2 Highly Commended volunteers.