Main Line Xtra

The Friends need you! Appeal to FoGCML Members

It is intended to present the FoGCML stand at a more regular number of events generally at the GCR
throughout the year in order to have more contact with visitors and members , get feedback from
members, inform members and visitors about the progress of the "Bridge", promote the railway
and events and promote FoGCML membership, raise funds via sales and donations and offer
members the opportunity to view and purchase exclusive FoGCML items without incurring P&P

When the "Bridge to the future" model update is completed by David Rae and returned for use on
the FoGCML stand, it will be accompanied by an explanatory video kindly being produced by Tom
Ingall, this will make the project mainly self explanatory, allowing the stand volunteers to
concentrate on answering any questions arising and conducting other functions of the stand.
No technical knowledge of the project will be required by volunteers, just the ability to engage and
enjoy contact with visitors and members.

In order to carry this out on a regular basis to benefit and support the railway we need additional
volunteers to join the existing team to help on the stand during these events but equally importantly
to help to prepare the stand equipment usually the day before the event commences and to return
the equipment into storage after the event.

To join the team you not have to commit on a regular basis, perhaps just a few hours occasionally to
help spread the workload and give others on the stand a break, all offers of assistance would be very
much appreciated and would help to support the GCR and FoGCML.

If any member would like to help in any way please contact me on or
contact the Volunteers Support Team at Lovatt House on 01509 633853 , giving your name,
membership number and contact details, asking them to pass the details on to me and I will call you

Once accepted your details will be passed on to the FoGCML stand support team who will contact
you when the stand is to be present at an event to see if you are available to assist.

Many thanks,
Barry Lycett
FoGCML Marketing Volunteer and Committee Member

70013 Oliver Cromwell due to return 10th/11th June

70013 Oliver Cromwell is due to return to action this weekend 10th/11th June subject to the successful completion of a steam test on Friday.

The British Railways Standard Class 7 (Britannia class) loco has been out of traffic in recent weeks while awaiting delivery of new superheater elements which have been installed at the GCR's Loughborough Locomotive Works.

70013 is due to return to main line charter duties shortly.

A member of a class of 55, 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" was built at Crewe and completed on 30th May 1951 and is famous for working part of the Fifteen Guinea Special (1T57), the final steam railtour on British Railways in 1968 before the introduction of a steam ban.



Bridge to the Future – Piling on the pressure!


Piling machine on site 26th May 2017

Piling on the pressure!
Physical work continues at the site of the new bridge over the Midland Main Line at Loughborough. However, the contractors have encountered an unexpected problem and we need your help.

As far back as January 2014 ground samples were taken around the site of the northern and southern bridge abutments. Now work has begun to drive concrete piles into the ground which will support the abutments. Unfortunately the piling machine has encountered water, which wasn't revealed in the test drilling.

This is not a technical problem but it does mean switching the current piling machine on site for a much larger one which can handle the previously hidden water. This - and the resulting short delay plus larger piles now needed - is likely to incur an extra cost of approximately one hundred thousand pounds.

Once again we need to ask you to help. Spread across the entire readership of the weekly newsletter and the members of Friends, this can be achieved with lots of small contributions, particularly when gift aid is applied. Please donate on line at Alternatively a new Bridge to the Future flyer is included with the next edition of Main Line magazine, due on doormats in the next week or so. Every penny we receive really helps us - and the reunification project to move forward.

N Gauge Model Railway Sales to support the Bridge project

The Friends have been gifted a collection of N Gauge scale model railway carriages, wagons, buildings and sundry items. These are all high quality, the rolling stock is mainly from Graham Farish, Peco and Dapol. The buildings are a mixture of plastic and card assembled kits. Please note there are no locomotives or powered items.

The collection was gifted by Friend and volunteer Michael Tombs, whose father owned the items. Selected items are being used to enhance the Bridge model display, but most of the collection is being offered for sale to contribute to fundraising for the Bridge. We wish to thank Michael for his generous donation.

There are three file catalogues which can be downloaded:


N Gauge model carriages - priced


N Gauge model wagons - priced


N Gauge model buildings - priced

Items can be reserved in advance for collection only at the GCR Model Gala on 16-19 June, where there will be a Friends stand in the Marquee at Quorn. Items will not be posted owing to the cost, risk of damage and work involved.
Every item has a serial number in the catalogue. You can check the items you wish to buy are available and reserve them by sending an email to Barry Lycett listing the serial numbers accurately, and including your Friends membership number.

To guarantee these, send a cheque payable to The Great Central Railway to Barry Lycett at his postal address which he will give on receipt of your email. Your cheque must be received by 12 June, and will not be cashed until after you collect your models at the Gala. Include your Friends membership number and telephone number.

For purchases totalling £30 or over, you can deduct a 10% discount from the value of your order.

To collect your models, come to the Friends stand and show your Friends membership card to collect your models. You will be able to check the condition before accepting these. If you do not wish to accept some or all items, your cheque will be returned and you can pay any balance in cash.
A copy of the catalogues will be available at the Model Gala, for Friends and visitors to buy unsold items from the collection at the event.

Contact details: Barry Lycett, Email:

Renaissance Railcars Appeal

Renaissance Railcars DMUs

Work is underway on Renaissance Railcars next restoration project after a successful start to their recent appeal. The group need to raise around £6000 to get number 50203 back into service. The vehicle, which is the oldest member of Renaissance’s fleet, turns sixty next month. It arrived at the GCR back in 2003 and was stored awaiting its turn in the restoration queue. Not only does it require body work, but control gear reinstalling and rewiring.

Hundred of pounds have been raised so far after a flyer was sent out with the last Main Line. “We’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far,” said Tom Ingall of the group. “This is an appeal where small amounts really do make a difference. With hundreds raised to celebrate the significant birthday of number 50203 we look forward to pushing the work forward. If you haven’t donated yet but would like to do so, we’d really welcome your contribution.”

The aim is to have a second DMU set available for traffic on the GCR as soon as possible. This will allow the railway to develop services. It is expected that 50203 will be painted in the mid 1960s livery of all over rail blue and partnered with vehicle number 50266 which will also be repainted from its current unlined green livery.

To donate to the appeal please send a cheque made payable to the DAVID CLARKE RAILWAY TRUST to “DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 1SL” If you have a copy of the appeal flyer, please use it to make a gift aid declaration. Alternatively download the flyer here.

A new livery for Class 37 37714

Class 37 37714 has recently spent a short time away from the railway at Derby to receive a repaint into a new livery.

37714 newly repainted in BR Trainload Freight (Metals) livery.

The new Trainload Freight (Metals) livery first appeared on British Rail in the late 1980s following the formation of Trainload Freight (TLF) in October 1987. The new organisation was formed out of the previous Railfreight trainload freight operations division and continued until BR privatisation in 1996, albeit reorganised again in 1994.

The TLF division was divided into separately branded industry sub-sectors, to service high-volume customers; these were Coal, Construction, Metals, and Petroleum. Each sub-sector locomotive was given a coloured identification decal/logo positioned between the centre body side and the cab; the branding was also supported by a vertical decal “repeater” strip adjacent to the offside cab door.

Trainload Freight

As a member of the 37/7 subclass (which have additional ballast weight to assist in maintaining traction when starting heavy trains) 37714 appears as a member of the "Metals" sector.

The loco will also carry a new name which is to be revealed at the Spring Diesel Gala.

Updating the ‘Bridge to the Future’ model display

The N-gauge scale model of the project to Bridge the Gap between the North and South sections of the GCR has been seen at many events since being built by Alan Brassey some 5 years ago. As a result of the recent design changes to the civil engineering works on the project, it is now rather out of date and also a little tired from its mainly outdoor appearances at events on Loughborough station platform.

The model still has a useful role to play for the next few years in explaining the bridge project to visitors, and in the vital fundraising needed to pay for it. I have agreed to update and refresh the model, using the latest engineering visuals of the design from FJD Construction.

The model will have its last outing in its existing form on the 'Friends' stand at the GCR Diesel Gala on 18-19 March. After that I will update it, to reappear in time for the Model Railway Gala on 16-18 June. The Museum is then interested in displaying it once the bridge project is complete.

Can you help?

The display could benefit from more N scale details, such as scale cars and light commercial vehicles, canal craft, people, animals and other details which are appropriate to the present day and location. A classic steam or diesel loco and a few coaches or wagons for the GCR line would also be an attractive feature. Possibly the GCR section can be made operational, or simply to show a static train.

If you have any N scale items such as these which you no longer require, please consider donating them for use on the model. A suitable 'non-running' locomotive would be welcome. I can repaint or recondition items where necessary.  Not very much is needed, but as an '0 scale' modeller I don't have a stock of items to use on this project.

Items can be left in a packet marked for my attention at the 'Friends' stand at the Diesel Gala, or alternatively send me an email describing what you'd like to donate, to: Thank you.

Black 5 boiler lifted for work

45305's boiler is lifted from the frames. Photo: David Thompson.

45305's boiler is lifted from the frames outside Loughborough Locomotive Works. Photo: David Thompson.

Loughborough Locomotive Works was the scene of major works involving the 45 Ton steam crane on Wednesday 1st March.

Black 5 number 45305 requires repair works to be undertaken which involves the boiler being lifted from the loco's frames ready to receive attention.

45305 bolier lift

GCR CME Craig Stinchcombe operated the 45 Ton steam crane during the lift. Photo: David Thompson.

The lifting work was undertaken in-house with GCR Chief Mechanical Engineer Craig Stinchcombe operating the crane steam crane.

We'll bring more news on 45305 as work progresses.

45305 has been a regular at GCR in recent times, and also operates on railtours on the national network.

The Stanier Class 5's (or "Black 5") were designed by William Stanier for the London Midland and Scottish Railway and began to appear in service in 1934. Originally numbered 5305 before nationalisation the loco was built in 1937 by Armstrong Whitworth. It spent its working life operating over the more southerly sections of the former LMS network and saw its final allocation to Lostock Hall (in Preston), and  lasted to the end of main line steam on British Railways in the summer of 1968 before being sent for scrap. Thankfully No.5305 became  the last locomotive on the scrap line of Drapers of Hull, who broke up 742 former BR locomotives. No.5305 was to have been the 743rd and last, but it was decided to keep it and bring it back to full running order. 5305 is owned by the Draper family and is maintained by the 5305 Locomotive Association.

45305's boiler is craned into position having been lifted from the loco frames. Photo: David Thompson.

45305's boiler is craned into position. Photo: David Thompson.

FoGCML Winter Gala ‘Friends’ stand update

From Barry Lycett, FoGCML Members Marketing Volunteer


Many thanks to all members who responded to my appeal for Main Line back issues to sell, and who took the trouble and expense to donate them to us, some were posted from Scotland.

We now have a large stock ready for future events and as storage space is limited, please do not send any more for the time being. I will put out another appeal when more are needed so please hang on to them for now.

The members’ sales stand and "Bridge Appeal" model were in attendance at the Winter Gala last weekend, plus the Museum stand on the Saturday.

Many thanks to all who called at the stand and chatted, both members and visitors. Some of whom made donations and purchased items. One visitor donated a cheque for £100, many thanks for that.

The Bridge model attracted enormous interest and additional donations. It was manned by a team of knowledgeable, professional and expert volunteers who continually answered a barrage of questions sometimes quite technical from many visitors. This showed the appetite for regular progress updates as the Bridge project advances. I was fortunate to overhear so I also know a little more about the project.

Thanks go also to all the volunteers who helped in making the stand a success. More volunteers would be welcome for future events to either help on the stand during the event or for the preparation and dismantling side of things which often goes un-noticed.

If you would like to help, even just for a couple of hours at these events please register your interest by contacting the Volunteer Support Team at Lovatt House on 01509 633853 or email , who will then contact you to arrange an interview.

A number of new FoGCML members were recruited, including one from California USA who also made a sizeable donation, so thanks to him.

Thanks also go to John Price and Ron Copse who collected donations on the trains with a combined total of around £500.

Final figures have yet to be calculated but the generosity at the event will have raised well over £1,000 for railway funds, so well done everyone.

Hopefully if all goes to plan, we will next be attending at the Diesel Gala in March, so hope to see you all there.

Barry Lycett
FoGCML Members Marketing Volunteer



Renaissance Railcars, based at the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire are celebrating after their three car set was named Railcar of the Year by the Railcar Association. It’s their second win in the public vote in three years.

The group comprises active GCR volunteers who share a passion for DMUs. They maintain the Metropolitan Cammell (former class 101) vehicles on the heritage line. The award has been taken by the ‘three car formation’ of numbers 51427, 50321 and unique buffet car 59575 (which is a former class 111). 51427 and 50321 have been a mainstay of traffic since arriving at the GCR in 2003 but have recently been subject to comprehensive repairs and repainting. 59575 won the Railcar of the Year award when it entered service in 2014.

Tom Ingall of Renaissance Railcars said, “We know our humble DMU vehicles are popular with the travelling public and we’re very proud to have received this award. For our members who fund and carry out the work it is just recognition of their efforts. Putting the three vehicles together in tip top condition is the culmination of more than a decade of graft. We’re delighted to be part of the GCR scene and mix amongst the steam and heritage diesel services as a ‘window onto the double track’. We’d like to thank everyone who voted for the vehicles.”

It was nominated by the Railcar Association “for its continued reliability operating most weekends of the year at the Great Central, for the quality and speed of the latest overhaul and for its interest as the only working DMU set in the country currently containing an (authentic) buffet car.”

Renaissance Railcars is now beginning the overhaul of another Met Camm built vehicle, number 50203. It is envisaged it will be partnered with another member of the Renaissance fleet number 50266, creating a second operating DMU train for the GCR. This work is expected to take approximately two years. An appeal has been opened to fund the work which will involve body work repairs and rewiring. Donations are invited by cheque (made payable to David Clarke Railway Trust with the words “Renaissance Railcars” written on the reverse) sent to DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, LE11 1SL.

Our next running day

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
One steam locomotive (to be announced) and our diesel railcar are in service on passenger trains this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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