Main Line

Annual General Meetings, Saturday, 30th June

The Great Central Railway PLC's annual general meeting will be held at Eadon Hall, Loughborough Grammar School LE11 2DU on Saturday 30th June at 10.30 am (doors open from 10 am).

As usual, this meeting will be followed at 12.15 pm, or shortly afterwards, by the annual general meeting of Friends of Great Central Main Line


Crossing the Canal – It’s Money Match March!

The Great Central Railway’s appeal for funds to repair a Victorian bridge in Loughborough has passed the forty thousand pound mark. The ‘Crossing the Canal’ appeal is the latest fundraising for an exciting railway reunification project which will one day create an eighteen mile heritage line across the East Midlands.

The elegant bridge, which once carried trains across the Grand Union Canal on the north east side of Loughborough is set to be repaired when funds are available. The appeal has a target of four hundred and seventy five thousand pounds.

To have reached just shy of ten percent of our target in under three months is truly humbling,” said GCR Managing Director Michael Gough. “We’d like to thank everyone who has supported the appeal so far. We have had so much interest in the reunification project.

Already enthusiasts and the local community helped to raise money towards the construction of a new railway bridge over the Midland Main Line at Loughborough. This will one day carry Great Central heritage trains between the two existing halves of the GCR. Several other pieces of infrastructure need to be repaired or replaced. Once the project is completed, trains will run between the outskirts of Leicester and Nottingham.

To take the total raised even higher, during March 2018, a ‘money match’ campaign is running. Donations to the appeal during March will be matched pound for pound up to twenty five thousand pounds. “When we last held a Money Match March, for the new Main Line bridge,” continued Michael, “the response was incredible. People loved the idea of making their contribution go further. If the new fund is fully subscribed, we’ll be able to move the total up by another fifty thousand pounds and be even closer to crossing the canal.”

To find out more about the canal bridge appeal, the reunification project AND to make a donation online, head to Donations received online, or through the post in March 2018 will be matched pound for pound up to twenty five thousand pounds.

Donations to the appeal through the post can be made with a cheque (payable to ‘DAVID CLARKE RAILWAY TRUST’ with Crossing the Canal written on the rear) sent to, DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 1SL.


Weekend Shed Tours Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th March

Volunteer members of the Boscastle team will be offering informative tours of the Loughborough Locomotive Shed on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th March.

The tour times are: 10 30, 11 00, 11 45,  12 45, 13 30, 14 15, 15 30, 16 15; an additional tour may take place after the 14 49 arrival of the lunchtime dining train back at Loughborough, subject to demand and guide availability. 

Party size is limited at the discretion of the guide.

Please assemble outside the loco shed door and await guide.

Tours last approximately half an hour; please allow 10 minutes to walk to the shed prior to the tour and 10 minutes to walk back again.

Loco Shed Scene - Dennis Wilcock


There is no charge for the tour, but donations towards the overhaul of Rebuilt 'West Country' Class 4-6-2 no. 34039 Boscastle will be much appreciated - especially in view of the major work needed on the firebox.

PLEASE NOTE:  Visitors are required to be in possession of valid GCR travel tickets or platform tickets.   Tours are not suitable for children under 6, or for pushchairs.

All locomotives and attractions appear subject to availability. Great Central Railway reserves the right to amend or cancel any service.

60163 ‘Tornado’ weekend on the Great Central Railway Nottingham

The GCR Nottingham had a spectacular weekend on 10-11 February when it hosted A1 Steam Locomotive Trust 60163 ‘Tornado’ after the loco’s winter overhaul at Locomotive Maintenance Services in Loughborough, before returning to the main line.

Phil Stanway, Company Secretary of the GCRN agreed the deal to run the loco, which hauled 8 trains over the weekend, using 4 HST trailer cars from the 125 Group and a Mark 2 coach, tailed by 47828. 1200 people rode the trains, a great success for the GCRN.

The Friends of the Great Central Main Line were invited to support the event. Rather than organising a platform stand on a wintry weekend, we fielded a team, led by Bill Higson, to ride the trains, give out leaflets for the Canal Bridge appeal, explain the project and of course to welcome donations. Over £900 was raised, together with goodwill and enhanced understanding about the 'Bridge to the Future' project. Thanks to all concerned for their contributions.

The next appearance of the Friends stand and operating Bridge model will be at the highly recommended Nottingham model railway exhibition on 17-18 March at Harvey Hadden Sports Village, NG8 4PB. Call by if you’re visiting!

Photos at Rushcliffe Halt by: David Rae (top) Bob Stephens (lower)

Museum at Leicester North – News Release

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.

Bonfire Night

The Railway's Bonfire & Fireworks event at Quorn on Friday night attracted a record attendance and it was a highly successful night.

Priority for entry needed to be given to visitors who had booked in advance. Unfortunately the event's popularity was such that the Railway needed to close the entrance gate into Quorn last night - this decision was made for crowd safety reasons and to avoid exceeding the capacity agreed with the authorities. We would like to apologise for the disappointment this would have caused to visitors without tickets arriving shortly before the event began.



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

Theft of Christmas presents

We're very sorry to report that over 370 Christmas presents have been stolen from GCR. The presents were taken from a coach at Quorn & Woodhouse station.

The presents were intended for children between the age of 3 and 10, and all were wrapped and carried stickers showing the various age ranges.

These presents were left in stock from 2016 and were about to be donated to charity, including the Childrens Hospital at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

This theft will not affect our forthcoming Santa trains.

If anyone has any information on this incident, please contact Leicestershire Police on 101. The incident number is 161 from 26/10/17.

Platform Café at Greenacres, Leicester

A press release was issued on 18 October re the intended closure of the Café with effect from 1st November 2017. Further details are given on the link below.

Closure of Platform Cafe

Bridging the Gap – press release re Canal Bridge


Contact Lili Tabiner 07939 484516
Date: 05/10/2017 


Great Central Railway is preparing to renovate a historic bridge over the Grand Union Canal as part of its project to create an eighteen mile heritage railway. The bridge is a late Victorian structure which crosses the canal in Loughborough, just to the north of the Railway’s engine sheds.  

In September, long held ambitions to build a new bridge over the four track Midland main line were realised by enthusiasts who want to reconnect two halves of the Great Central Railway. This bridge was the first part of a chain of infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt to create an eighteen mile heritage line running almost between Leicester and Nottingham. 

Michael Gough, the Railway’s General Manager said, “As the final touches are applied to the new bridge, the question now being asked is ‘What next?’  The most obvious section to tackle next is renovating the bridge over the Grand Union Canal. Undertaking this work does not require planning permission and access to the site is relatively easy from both the rear of the engine shed and from the canal towpath beneath.”

A full survey was carried out on the bridge in 2014 which allowed contractors to establish what work is needed to repair it. It last carried trains in 1969 before the original Great Central Railway was shut by British Railways. Michael adds: “We have obtained three quotes for the work and expect it to cost in the region of £400,000. We believe we can raise the funds for the work over the next 12 months.”

To avoid disruption to canal boat traffic which is at its busiest in the summer months, the railway is looking to carry out the work in Autumn 2018.

The overall reunification project remains close to the hearts of the Railway’s thousands of supporters who have wanted to see the Great Central Railway PLC based in Leicestershire and the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) reconnected.

Over the past four years, there has been a concerted effort to finally achieve this ambition, and a major fund raising drive was launched in 2013 to take the project forward. Thanks to the generosity of supporters, and a £1m grant from the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, close to £3m has been raised with £2.5m spent on erecting the bridge over the main line. The remainder has been spent on designs and plans for the remaining sections.

The project is a complex one with many challenges to overcome, not least the need to meet modern environmental standards. Furthermore, in recent years, building work has encroached onto the original embankment; also the newly built bridge spanning the main line railway, and an access road to a recycling centre, require additional clearance.  To overcome these constraints, a new alignment has been designed to ensure the line can be successfully installed with modern materials and techniques being employed to comply with 21st century regulations.

The Railway’s supporting organisation, Friends of Great Central Main Line is committed to maintaining the present momentum from building the bridge over the Midland main line. The Friends are therefore aiming to kick start the Canal Bridge project with an initial grant of £10,000. A strategy is to be developed by the Railway with Friends, and other major stakeholders, to agree the way forward for further successful fundraising.

To learn more about the project and to offer support via a donation, please visit:

Bridge To The Future - Great Central Railway


Our next running day

This Weekend
Two steam locomotives, one diesel loco, and our diesel railcar are in service this weekend.

9F 92214 J94 68067
English Electric Type 1 D8098 Metro Cammell Diesel Railcar

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