Main Line On Line

SANTA STEAM TRAINS – 28th Nov to 24th Dec

Kate Tilley : November 15, 2015 10:46 pm : Main Line, News Banner

Christmas is a magical time at Great Central Railway.  Make your Christmas extra special by joining us on our Santa Steam Trains.  It’s the perfect start to you family Christmas – to find out more, visit the event page


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Quorn & Woodhouse Station – Biffa Award

Kate Tilley : October 7, 2015 10:44 am : Main Line

Contact: Lili Tabiner, GCR 07939484516 /

Date: 07 October 2015


Biffa Award Award!


The David Clarke Railway Trust team are celebrating after a key restoration project picked up a national award. Biffa Award funded the renovation and interpretation of the station yard at Quorn and Woodhouse station, and has now declared it the top ‘Cultural Facility’ project.

The Coventry Transport museum was the setting for this year’s Biffa Award ceremony. The Biffa Award team were joined by nearly 80 people to help celebrate the incredible work projects across the country have done in ‘Building communities. Transforming lives.’

More than 240 eligible projects were whittled down to a shortlist of just 20 across the five categories: Community Buildings, Recreation, Small Grants, Cultural Facilities and Rebuilding Biodiversity, as well as an overall winner.

The restoration project at the Great Central Railway’s Quorn & Woodhouse Station won the Cultural Facilities prize.

Thanks to the grant of £46,416 from Biffa Award, Quorn & Woodhouse Goods Yard has been transformed to include features which recreate some of the facilities which would have been found in the days when the GCR was a Main Railway running to London Marylebone.

The project aimed to enhance the visitor experience, particularly for the younger generations, many of whom would never have seen a working goods yard in a typical rural railway station. A timber goods platform has been built which incorporates a cattle dock, where animals would have been kept prior to transportation and coal staithes erected to show how coal would have been stored ready to be loaded onto the tenders behind the locomotives.

The station stairs and roof have been authentically repaired and refurbished to address structural problems. A corrugated tin clad building (The Tin Shed) which dates from the opening of the railway in 1899 has been rescued from its dilapidated state, re-clad and refurbished to create a community meeting room.

The project was managed by two of the Great Central Railway’s long serving volunteers, Brian Screaton and Tom Chaplin who attended the award ceremony at Coventry Transport Museum on Thursday 1st October. (see picture above)

Bill Ford, Chairman of the David Clarke Railway Trust said, “We are delighted with this award which is a fitting tribute to the hard work of everyone who took part in the project. From the grant application, to the design, to managing the contractors who undertook the work it has been a real team effort. As we continue to develop the railway, unlocking the secrets of how and why the railways were built and how they served communities is really important and we are thrilled Biffa Award have funded and now recognised the work.”

The Great Central Railway is planning to build a new heritage railway museum at its Leicester North terminus and was recently granted a first round pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The improved facilities at Quorn and Woodhouse station yard will contribute to the concept of a working museum; whereby the railway and its out stations will demonstrate the everyday activities of a typical Victorian Railway


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Vulcan Flypast on Sunday

Kate Tilley : October 5, 2015 11:14 am : Main Line

Surprise in the skies over Leicestershire on Sunday as the last air-worthy Vulcan bomber – on its way to Warwickshire – paused its progress to take a couple of laps around Swithland Reservoir, giving visitors an unexpected and almost private airshow!  We were unable to announce the event unfortunately – in fact any leakage would have prevented the display from happening all together.

4-10-15 Impossible Pictures dot com ! GW Vulcan-46521

Photo courtesy of Graham Wignall

Check out the footage below:



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2016 Night Steam Calendar available at the emporium

Tom Ingall : September 12, 2015 10:08 am : Main Line

Hot off the press and straight into the Loughborough Central emporium. Last years GCR Night Steam Calendar sold out, raising thousands of pounds for the reunification appeal.

No surprise then- its back for 2016! A whole 12 months of evocative photography from the talented lens of Andrew Rapacz can be yours for just £10.

Once again thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of the Greta Central Main Line, every penny will go to the reunification appeal. So get Christmas sorted today, support the appeal and get down to the emporium to grab your copy before they all go!

AND STOP PRESS – a handful of 2014 Autumn Steam Gala DVDs have been found and are now on sale at the emporium too. Previously thought to have sold out, this incredibly popular 2 hour film can be yours for just £10. Another great Christmas present, but again very limited stock!

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DMU service – Saturday 12th September

Andrew Morley : September 11, 2015 12:29 pm : Main Line

The DMU leaves the Mountsorrel branch and heads for the Up Loop 30 May 2012 © Steve TaylorWe regret that the 09:40 DMU service from Loughborough and 10:10 return journey from Leicester North on Saturday 12th Sept have been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

The first departure from Loughborough is a steam-hauled service at 10am.

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BRIDGE NEWS – ‘pause’ of the electrification programme

Kate Tilley : August 17, 2015 2:21 pm : Main Line

GCR plc Website Statement 17 August 2015

GCR plc met with Network Rail on Friday 14th August to discuss the implication of the Government’s ‘pause’ of the electrification programme.

Currently Network Rail are examining the impact of the Government’s recent announcement and a nationwide review is underway. This is expected to report in September.

Meanwhile GCR plc is considering its options to ensure that the project stays on target. Furthermore Network Rail confirmed that they remain fully supportive of the Bridging the Gap project and are doing all in their power to ensure that the current pause on the electrification programme does not interfere with GCR plc’s original plans.

Part of Network Rail’s assessment will involve looking at which elements of their upgrade programme will still go ahead – such as bridge reconditioning work. However a timescale for this is not yet known.

Currently, GCR plc has been working hard with its Project Managers FJD to complete the preliminary surveys and studies on the rest of the 500 metre ‘Gap’ and if there are further delays on the MML bridge project, other elements of the scheme can be quickly brought forward. These include constructing the new embankment, refurbishing the Canal Bridge, building new abutments and installing one of our existing bridge decks over Railway Terrace.



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Bridge to the Future latest

Tom Ingall : July 20, 2015 1:48 pm : Main Line


Landmark heritage project continues despite Midland Main Line Electrification ‘pause’.

Network Rail offer continued support and volunteer time.

The Great Central Railway’s landmark project to create an eighteen mile heritage railway remains on course to succeed. Despite the government announcing work to electrify the Midland Main Line has been paused, Network Rail will still assist the heritage line in building a critical new bridge.

Reuniting the two halves of the Great Central in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire requires five hundred metres of Victorian railway to be replaced. A key component is a new bridge to carry the heritage trains over the four tracks of the Midland Line at Loughborough. This structure was originally expected to be installed during work to electrify the Midland Line later this year.

The decision regarding electrification will mean the timescale to install the new bridge will change. However, at a recent meeting Network Rail and the Great Central re-iterated their joint commitment to complete the work. In time this will ultimately allow the rest of the reunification project to be completed.

Bill Ford, the Managing Director of the Great Central Railway said, “Naturally, both the GCR and our partners at Great Central Railway Nottingham on the other side of the ‘gap’ are disappointed the construction of the bridge will slip back. However, we are very pleased that Network Rail still want to help deliver the structure. They have been very supportive, despite the changes they face following the decision to pause electrification work. Work is accelerating on the other elements of our plan to create an eighteen mile heritage line, so with the time pressure of imminent electrification removed, we are looking afresh at the construction sequence.”

Haven’t donated yet? Please support the project here

Nine hundred and twenty thousand pounds has been raised towards the building of the bridge after the GCR launched a nationwide appeal in 2013. The money has been donated by railway enthusiasts around the world and by many others in the local community. Some of the opportunities for saving money on the scheme, created by carrying out the bridge construction at the same time as electrification have now been lost. As a result more money may be required to complete this element of reunification.

Richard Walker, Route Delivery Director, Network Rail, said: “We are understandably disappointed that electrification has been paused, but in every challenge lies the seed of opportunity. We now have additional time to  review the way in which the bridge works at Great Central Railway are delivered. Our commitment to supporting GCR remains unchanged: we have already had huge success by engaging with local schools and inspiring the engineers of tomorrow, and we look forward to continuing that throughout the project.”

Public money has not been invested in the project but several members of staff from Network Rail have freely given their time to the community led scheme.

Bill Ford concluded, “So many people across the country, young and old have donated towards the cost of the new bridge. Together with our plans for a new railway museum at Leicester North, the reunification vision represent a real legacy for future generations. Our plans may change slightly, but we are determined to succeed with the support of Network Rail. This is a project which is moving forward and the support we have had across the board is very gratefully received and inspires us to go forward!”

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Bridge to the Future appeal reaches £900k

Tom Ingall : June 1, 2015 12:40 pm : Main Line

Appeal experiences ‘museum bounce’

Construction work expected to get underway in the autumn

The Great Central Railway’s Bridge to the Future appeal has now raised nine hundred thousand pounds, within sight of its million pound target. The money will be used to construct a new railway bridge across the Midland Main Line, part of a chain of infrastructure which will ultimately reunite two halves of the GCR. This will create an eighteen mile heritage railway.

Donations to the appeal have surged forward in the last week, following news that the Heritage Lottery Fund have earmarked almost ten million pounds for the separate Leicester Railway Museum project.

“The support for the Bridge to the Future project continues to inspire us,” said GCR Managing Director Bill Ford. “The local community have come together with railway enthusiasts around the world to raise a significant sum and we’re very grateful. We are just £100,000 short of our initial million pound target which is a tremendous achievement.”

As the project (a partnership with Network Rail) develops, construction work on the bridge has been moved back from summer to autumn 2015. This is to tie in with work on the nearby A60 road bridge over the Midland Main Line, as part of the electrification project. Contractors on the two projects will able to share equipment and site compound space, making the most efficient use of resources.

“We look forward to physical work starting relatively soon and reaching our one million pound funding goal.” concluded Bill. “Behind the scenes, much work has been done to prepare the way for the rest of the reunification project. The Midland Main Line bridge is just the start of a very exciting heritage adventure.”


To donate to the appeal, download an appeal form at or send a cheque made payable to the David Clarke Railway Trust to ‘Bridge Appeal, Lovatt House, Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, LE11 1SL

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