Andrew Morley

Santa Steam Trains – 25th Nov to 24th Dec

Winter Steam Gala – 26th to 28th January 2018

Crossing the Canal – Bridging the Gap part two!

Crossing the Canal

Bridging the Gap part two!

With our new bridge across the Midland Main Line almost complete we are now turning our attention to the next phase of the project. We want to work on the existing canal bridge at Loughborough which needs repairing.

For the all the details please visit our dedicate Crossing the Canal webpage at

Bridge to the Future – Bridge nears completion

The Diesel Brake Tender

The forthcoming Lash Hurrah event on 18th/19th November will see the unveiling of a new and unique vehicle.

The diesel brake tender was one of those railway vehicles that no one paid any attention to until they had all gone. At the end of the 1950’s British Railways was pressing ahead with the mass introduction of new diesel engines to replace the steam engine, as well as a mass replacement of wagons. It was soon discovered that the new diesels did not have the same braking ability as the steam engines they were replacing and not all the new wagons had train brakes either. This resulted in British Railways converting a number of old carriages that were also being replaced into weights that could be used to assist the diesels when stopping these unbraked trains. By the late 1970’s when most unfitted goods trains had either been upgraded or replaced the use of these tenders was no longer required, so they fell into disuse and were scrapped.

The vehicles could be seen all over the country, with many being allocated to the Nottingham area for use on the many coal trains that operated from the regions collieries.

None survived into preservation, but a group of engineers from 'Railway Vehicle Preservations', based on the Great Central Railway, decided to build a new one to enable demonstrations to be recreated using the extensive wagon and diesel collections based on the railway. In exceptional cases they also saw use on passenger trains.

The new diesel brake tender is expected to work all weekend at the Last Hurrah and can be seen on goods trains and some passenger services.

FoGCML 2018 calendar

FoGCML 2018 calendar.

Friends of the Great Central Main Line have produced a 2018 calendar with all proceeds going to the Reunification Project appeal.

Thirteen exceptional pictures from talented photographers will take you through the year. The calendar is A3 is size with room to write appointments.

Each calendar costs £10 and will soon be available from the Emporium at Loughborough Central station. Alternatively you can pre-order one by emailing the Chairman of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line

Flying Scotsman steams through Loughborough

World-famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman hauled a main line railtour "The Cathedrals Express" through Loughborough early this afternoon, passing under the GCR's new bridge.

60103 has passed the site recently during the construction of the abutments and a small crowd gathered on the A60 road bridge to witness the recently restored loco pass by.

The charter had left London Victoria at 08:43 on route to York with a booked arrival time of 15:52.

We look forward in years to come to GCR trains passing over the completed bridge which will eventually provide us with a connection to the national network.

The bridge over the Midland Main Line is the first major milestone in achieving our long term goal of an 18-mile heritage railway. See for more details on the project.


Bridge installation takes place!

With a crowd looking on, the GCR's new bridge across the Midland Main Line has taken a major step forward with the two main beams being successfully lowered into place in the early hours of Sunday 3rd September 2017.

A more detailed account of events is available at

Bridge to the Future – Crane assembly begins

The 1,000 Tonne crane which will be used to lift the deck of our new bridge across the Midland Main Line into place is now arriving at the construction site in sections.

The bridge deck is being fabricated off-site and is expected to be lifted into place when the Midland Main Line is closed to traffic.

For the latest updates see

Class 26 Driving Experience

Make a childhood dream come true!

Visiting Class 26 D5343 is available for Driver Experience on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th September 2017.

Take control of D5343, visiting GCR courtesy of the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group for a total of 32 miles with a rake of carriages on our double track railway.

For just £475, this is a unique opportunity to drive a visiting locomotive saving almost 15% off the standard Notch 2 price is too good to miss.

With only 4 places available, book now to avoid disappointment!






Class 26 Driving Experience £475 - September 2017


  • Welcome Briefing, including free tea/coffee for guests
  • Introductory DVD
  • Two return trips both with carriages, driving a main line diesel loco.
  • Lunch for the Driver
  • Guided tour of Loco works
  • Visit to signal box
  • Free train ticket for 2 guests
  • Presentation Certificate
  • 12 months free membership of Friends of the Great Central Mainline
  • Free "Through the Window" guide



Please call 01509 632323 (9am to 5pm) to make your booking.


Diesel Gala:

Class 26 D5343 is visiting GCR for our Diesel Gala on 9th/10th September. Click here for details.



“Locomotive Driving” - Booking Conditions 

Following receipt of the voucher, the holder should contact the Booking Office on 01509 632323 for a range of dates upon which the chosen package may be booked; once the date has been agreed, this is treated as a firm booking.

  • All bookings are made in accordance with the Company’s Conditions of Carriage and the special condition that the Company reserves the right to cancel, amend or alter any service offered and that no refunds will be provided where an alternative or amended service has been offered.
  • Participants must be over 18 years of age and be physically and mentally fit with reasonable hearing and vision. In particular participants must be capable of climbing up and descending the vertical steps between the footplate of the locomotive and ground level (approximately 6’).
  • The Company reserves the right to refuse access onto locomotives to anyone who appears to be unfit to operate them. This includes anyone who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Applicants need not have any previous locomotive driving experience.
  • All bookings should be accompanied by full payment or credit / debit card details.
  • If you are unsure whether the person for whom the booking is intended can meet all of these conditions please call our booking office for advice before purchasing an experience.
  • Please make all cheques payable to Great Central Railway PLC.


A full refund will only be offered up to 14 days from the date of purchase subject to a £20.00 administration fee. Thereafter refunds will only be considered in exceptional and unforeseen cases where, for instance, the recipient has suffered serious injury or illness within the unexpired term of the voucher and in the opinion of the Company would be unable to undertake the experience.


The following fee will be payable upon change of date or cancellation:-

  • Within 2 weeks of booked date 20% of purchase price
  • Between 2 weeks and 6 weeks 10% of purchase price
  • Failure to turn up on the day without prior notification will result in the voucher being considered redeemed.


Our next running day

This Weekend
Our Santa Steam Trains are in operation this Saturday, with three steam locomotives in service.

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Main Line Xtra

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Special Events

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