Great Central Museum – Work progress

Announcement - 14th December 2017.

We regret to report that the Heritage Lottery Fund has informed Great Central Railway that it will not be supporting plans for a new railway museum at Leicester North.

The full News Release giving details can be downloaded here.

Media Interviews

Courtesy of the BBC.

BBC Radio Leicester - Interview with Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor - Friday 15th December 2017.


BBC Radio Leicester - Interview with Michael Gough, Managing Director of Great Central Railway - Tuesday 19th December 2017.



Previous updates up to 14th December 2017.

Planning is now well underway for the new museum at Leicester North, which will be part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and built next to the existing Great Central Railway station. The project is a partnership between the GCR, Leicester City Council and the National Railway Museum, and is planned to open to visitors in 2020/21.


In 2015, the GCR secured a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £10m grant allocation to build the museum which will house locomotives, carriages and other significant items, including from the NRM’s collection. The many exhibits will tell the story of how the GCR and other railways contributed to the social and economic history of Leicester and the County. The estimated cost of the museum is £18m with the HLF contributing £10m.


Architects WilkinsonEyre were selected last autumn with a winning outline design. Since then there has been continual refinement of the design details, involving discussion with the in-house track and signalling volunteers. They have produced a series of revised proposals including an alternative turntable position, a second (island) platform and buffer stops.

Drawing of the winning design looking south - Click image to enlarge

Drawing of the winning design looking south (this image does not show platform canopy extension or a second platform) - Click image to enlarge

Belgrave and Birstall looking south

The same view, during re-instatement of the track by volunteers in the late 1980s. The museum will be partly on the site of the former Belgrave and Birstall station – part of the old platform may be re-built.


"Iconic building" selected for new Leicester city railway museum - Click on image to enlarge

Aerial view of the winning design showing large external event space - Click on image to enlarge


Museum site plan concept - March 2017

Updated indicative site layout at Leicester North, March 2017 - Click to enlarge.


A museum project update and consultation meeting for volunteers and the public.

A museum project update and consultation meeting for volunteers and the public.


Leicester North will be a major new destination attracting visitors to the city from central England, nationally and from overseas.

Leicester North will be a major new destination attracting visitors to the city from central England, nationally and from overseas.


The railway is now recruiting a range of expert advisors to help with museum planning, as part of the HLF’s Development grant funding.  These essential members of the team include project managers, quantity surveyors (to pin down estimated costs), activity planners (to help consult with local communities) and a Business Development Manager (to help fund-raise for the project).
We are consulting with local schools, as learning will be a major feature of the new museum:

Message for teachers and tutors:

If you could please complete this survey, it will really help the plans. It should take about 5-10 minutes. All completed questionnaires will be entered into a draw to win one of two £50 Amazon vouchers. 

Visitor views survey.
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our recent survey asking for views and ideas for the new museum.  These are being analysed for details, which will be incorporated in the Activity Plan for the museum.  There will be further announcements of opportunities to feed ideas into the museum creation process in the future.  The winner of the survey prize draw will be notified shortly.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Major Grants Programme applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

Do you want to be part of our big project?
We are currently looking for volunteers to help with the following areas –
• Research on exhibition themes
• Assessing objects to the new museum
• Seeking and recording people’s memories
• Surveying the public and promoting the museum

If you can help with any of these, or would like more information, please get in touch at or call 01509 633853.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Our next running day
This Weekend

Our Santa Steam Trains are running this weekend.

Make your Christmas extra special by joining us on our Santa Steam Trains (pre-booking is essential for our Santa services).

Click here for more information

Subscribe to our newsletter
Make a donation
To make a donation to our supporting charity click the Donate button below

Donate to the Charity
Main Line Xtra

If you are a Friend of the Great Central Railway, you can access Main Line Xtra which provides additional news, special offers and features. To access Main Line Xtra click here

Want to become a Friend? Join now by clicking here

Special Events

This is a selection of our special events, to see the full list, click here

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016

Visit England Quality Assured Attraction