Main Line

7027 “Thornbury Castle” coming to GCR

GWR ‘4073’ CLASS “THORNBURY CASTLE” TO BE RESTORED AND BASED AT THE GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY

GWR 4073 Class number 7027 “Thornbury Castle” has been sold to a private buyer, the present owners JJP Holdings have announced today. Under the sale and purchase agreement, the Great Western locomotive is to be restored at the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire and will run there for the duration of its next 10-year ticket.

The new owner, who is a significant supporter of the GCR, has confirmed that it will not be made available for any mainline operation. It requires significant restoration which will be carried out at the Great Central’s locomotive works in Loughborough under the watchful eye of their Chief Engineer, Craig Stinchcombe.

The loco, currently housed at the West Somerset Railway’s Williton depot, will be transported by road to Loughborough during week commencing 27th January.

Built in 1949 by British Railways at the Swindon works, N0. 7027 was initially allocated to Plymouth Laira before moving to Old Oak Common some 10 years later, with its last shed allocation being Reading before being withdrawn from service in 1963 and being transported to Woodham Brothers Scrapyard at Barry. It was purchased by the Birmingham Railway Museum and left Barry in 1972. Subsequent to this it was purchased by the Waterman Railway Heritage Trust and remained in scrapyard condition for stays at Crewe Heritage Centre and Peak Rail until being purchased by the current owners in July 2016

Jonathan Jones-Pratt (JJP) said, “We are obviously sad in many ways to lose this iconic engine from the Group but, at the same time, very pleased as I always wish to see the right decision being made for these wonderful engines.   For me, this is a good move for Thornbury and we have been pleased to play a key part in ensuring the engine is restored as a Castle and we are satisfied that there is the right commitment to rebuild the engine to the right standard.  We wish the Great Central team well with the project and, personally, I welcome the chance to help them along the journey.   The engine will now leave the WSR over the coming weeks for her new home where I am sure the team will be waiting to get started!

GCR’s Managing Director, Michael Gough commented “We are very excited that this iconic locomotive is coming to the GCR and very proud that the new owner has chosen to have it restored in our works and for it to run here at the Great Central once completed. This is a major project and will involve significant hours and expense but we are ready for the challenge and looking forward to its arrival next week.

Annual General Meetings, Saturday, 4th July

The Great Central Railway PLC's annual general meeting will be held at the Loughborough Grammar School LE11 2DU on Saturday 4th July 2020 at 10.30 am (doors open from 10 am).

As usual, this meeting will be followed at 12.30 pm, or shortly afterwards, by the annual general meeting of Friends of Great Central Main Line.

Car parking is available on-site, including disabled parking closest to the building entrance.

A map to the venue is available for download here.

 

Eric Boulter

We are very sorry to report the passing of Eric Boulter who passed away on Sunday after a long period of illness.

Eric will be fondly remembered for his years of service on the Griddle Car, with his customary shouts of "plates are hot" as he served many a satisfied customer their all-day breakfast.

Eric was a well respected member of the GCR family and will be sorely missed.

We will publish details of Eric's funeral arrangements when these are known.

Weekend Shed Tours Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th January

Volunteer members of the Boscastle team will be offering informative tours of the Loughborough Locomotive Shed on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th January.

The tours will be at:

  11 00, 11 45, 12 45, 13 30, 14 15 and 15 30.

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

YOUR CHANCE TO SEE RESTORATION, OVERHAUL AND REPAIR WORK IN PROGRESS AND HEAR ABOUT THE PLACE OF 'BOSCASTLE' IN THE STORY OF THE GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY.

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.

GCR on TV – Antiques Road Trip

A brand new episode of Antiques Road Trip will be on your screens on Thursday, 9th January at 16.30.

This will be special for Great Central Railway and all its supporters because we hosted Catherine Southon and the team last September - this will be the first viewing of the results!

It goes out as usual on BBC One.

FoGCML 2020 Calendar

Inspector Vignoles film

Many of you will be familiar already with the Inspector Vignoles books authored by Stephen Done. With their success, thoughts have turned to the possibility of a TV series based on our fictional detective and his investigations of dastardly murder and crime up and down the GCR in the 1940s and 1950s.

To this end, the opportunity was taken some twelve months ago to shoot a short “taster” production in just one day here on the Railway. The weather was agreed by all involved to have been totally foul but maybe this has added to the mood and mysteriousness which was captured. Just click Inspector Vignoles to watch and enjoy for twenty minutes.

Community Membership of Friends

Friends of the Great Central Main Line are introducing a new class of Community Membership.

The purpose is to encourage organisations, of any size or type, to support the Railway and show their connection with us. These may include businesses, charities, education or public bodies, of any size or type. A new leaflet will be available shortly from the Friends office at Lovatt House; also the Friends web page has been updated.

A short launch event is being held at Quorn Station Marquee on Wed 23 Oct, with light refreshments, from 4.15-5.30 pm. Do please contact Friends@gcrailway.co.uk for an invitation if you’d wish to attend or for further details.

Fifty years at Loughborough Central

Fifty years have now passed since the last British Rail operated DMU headed north to East Leake and Nottingham.  It is also fifty years since work began to restore Loughborough Central following many years of neglect.  Windows and doors were smashed; lead was ripped from gutters and the canopy; dry rot was rampant.  Latterly the canopy required a complete rebuild.

To commemorate this landmark the Station Restoration Team will be presenting a photographic display in the General Waiting Room at Loughborough Central Station during the forthcoming Autumn Gala (3rd to 6th October).  Over 200 photographs will display the work carried out at Loughborough since 1969.  The restoration of the various rooms; installation of a new water supply; repairs to roofs and gutters; manufacture of replica poster boards; replacement of drainpipes; rebuild of the canopy and even the repair of platform trolleys.  All aspects of the on-going maintenance of Loughborough Central Station will be on display.

Not to be missed!

ADB975397 – Test Car 2

An interesting project is currently taking place at GCR, where an important vehicle used in railway testing is being restored...

Test Car 2 was originally built at Wolverton in 1962 as Mk 1 Brake Second Corridor (BSK) number 35386 as part of Lot 30699 and fitted with Commonwealth bogies.

Class 47 47221 with Test Car 2 during slip/brake testing on the East Coast Main Line north of York on 30th June 1985. Image (c) Dave Bower.

The coach was temporarily adapted for use by the Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineers (DM&EE) as a test car in 1974, and renumbered ADB975397. This was after the previous Test Car 2, DE320041 was irreparably damaged after a failed slip/brake test. The new Test Car 2 received further modifications in 1976 including changes to the interior layout and installation of a generator.

Between 1974 and 2006 Test Car 2, based at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby was mostly used for Slip/Brake testing of vehicles on the WCML between Crewe & Winsford. On occasions, Slip/Brake testing was also carried out on the ECML north of York, most notably a Mk 3 coach in 1985. Testing was required to verify the braking characteristics of new vehicles and the best way to do this was to slip them and allow them to brake on their own without influence from any other vehicle.

Test Car 2 in Serco livery prior to restoration at Quorn & Woodhouse. Image (c) Dave Bower.

When not in use for Slip/Brake tests, the coach was often seen coupled with Test Car 1 to provide additional braking effort when carrying out vehicle ride testing at higher speeds.

In 1994 an unusually large amount of instrumentation was installed when Test Car 2 was used as the main test coach for the pantograph and traction performance testing of Class 92 locomotives. The Class 92 tests included four days of operations between the Dollands Moor freight yard, through the Channel Tunnel to the Fréthun freight yard near Calais.

When British Rail was privatised, Serco Railtest took over the role of testing vehicles until slip testing paths became difficult to arrange and Test Car 2 was retired to the Old Dalby Test Track in 2011.

In 2016 Test Car 2 was lined up for disposal and saved by a GCR volunteer. It was moved to the GCR and now falls under the care of the Quorn Wagon Group who are currently in the process of restoring the vehicle to its BR testing glory.

Test Car 2 at Quorn with newly applied livery in late June 2019. Image (c) Dave Bower.

With thanks to Matt Baker and Dave Bower for providing the information and images for this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next running day

Friday to Sunday - Winter Steam Gala
Up to 10 steam locomotives are in action during our Winter Steam Gala from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th January 2020.

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