Main Line On Line

Come and See Peppa & George! Sat 7th & Sun 8th March

Kate Tilley : March 5, 2015 2:30 pm : Main Line, News Banner

Join Peppa and her little brother George for an exciting day out for all the family on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

Peppa and George have come to the railway lots of times and they’ve loved it so much they’re coming again.  You can meet Peppa and have your photo taken with her and then meet George and have your photo taken with him too!  There are lots of lovely things to see and do, funfair rides to play on, a miniature railway and to keep you nice and dry we have even put up a special marquee where you can watch magic and tricks from our children’s entertainer.  Take a ride on the big steam train, choo choo, and for an extra special treat why not get your face painted just like Peppa’s, OINK OINK

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Week-end Shed Tours 14th & 15th March

Paul Taylor : March 4, 2015 9:00 am : Main Line

Volunteer members of the Boscastle team will be offering informative tours of the Loughborough Locomotive Shed (not normally open to visitors) on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March.

Tour times are at 10 30, 11 00, 11 30,  12 00, 12 30;    13 30,14 00, 14 30, 15 00, 15 30.

Party size is limited to 12, with only one group in the shed at any one time.

Tour lasts half an hour:  please allow 10 mins. to walk to the shed prior to the tour and 10 mins. 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.   Illustrated Shed Guidebook available for £3, only from your Guide – a unique ‘Boscastle’ publication.

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.

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Money Match March is here!

Tom Ingall : March 1, 2015 9:46 am : Main Line, News Banner

Don’t delay – act today to DOUBLE your Bridge to the Future donation.

Our £1m pound appeal, to pay for a bridge over the Midland Main Line has hit £750,000. With construction of the bridge itself now expected to start within weeks, we need to push onto the target.


To encourage further support a fund has been made available by a supporter of the railway. Donations to the Bridge to the Future Appeal received between the 1st of March and 3rd April (Good Friday) will be matched pound for pound, up to fifty thousand pounds.

Give any amount – and it will be matched. Even better, gift aid can be claimed on your donation too, so please make the declaration if you. Thank you for all your support – and please, don’t hold back. In March, a ten pound donation will count as £20 towards the appeal!

“We’re calling it Money Match March,” added Bill “and it could see us push onto the home straight of our appeal. Everyone at the Great Central both north and south has been truly humbled by the generosity of people right across the country. We’re sure they will be delighted by the continued forward progress!”

* Amounts received via monthly standing orders are excluded from the special terms set out above.

Read about the latest progress with the reunification project

More about the programme involving local schools with the project



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Mothering Sunday Luncheon – 15th March

Kate Tilley : February 23, 2015 4:37 pm : Main Line, News Banner


Looking for a treat for mum this Mother’s Day? We still have some availability on our First class dining train

Your four-course lunch is served aboard our First Class Restaurant Cars as a steam locomotive takes you on a leisurely journey through the Charnwood’s glorious countryside. Your meal is served during the journey and there will normally be a pause on Swithland viaduct with its magnificent views across the reservoir to Charnwood Forest.

Visit the event page for further information…



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Dennis Wilcock : February 20, 2015 1:45 pm : Main Line, News Banner

Northside embankment stub ground investigation works (Feb 2015) (c) Adam Mcallister

Embankment study forges ahead, with Main Line bridge construction expected in weeks

 ‘Money Match March’ Donation Scheme unveiled

An orange jacketed army are back in action on the Great Central Railway reunification project! Contractors with drill rigs are on site investigating the ground conditions where 300 metres of embankment will be built.

The embankment will take the new railway from the existing canal bridge at the rear of the Great Central sheds at Loughborough, northwards towards a brand new bridge over the Midland Main Line which is being built in partnership with Network Rail.

The embankment and bridge are part of a string of replacement infrastructure required to link together two halves of the Great Central Railway creating an eighteen mile heritage line stretching between the outskirts of Nottingham and Leicester.

The ground study follows the completion of an ecology study for the route. Besides examining the ground where the new embankment needs to be built, the contractors will also investigate the condition of a surviving stub of embankment north of the new rail bridge where the tracks of the two railway companies will meet. This will establish what remedial work may be required there.

“We want to ensure every element of the reunification project is shovel ready”, said Bill Ford, the Managing Director of the Great Central Railway, “so that as funds become available we can press straight ahead into construction. “These works are part of a range of studies for the main missing embankment, which will inform the design and support our forthcoming planning application. It’s very encouraging to see real and sustained progress being made.”

Meanwhile, the railway’s appeal to raise money for the key missing bridge over the Midland Main Line has hit £750,000 – three quarters of the way to the million pound target. Enabling works are expected to begin on site in the next few weeks ahead of the main build, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Now, to encourage further support for the million pound appeal a fund has been made available by a supporter of the railway. Donations to the Bridge to the Future Appeal received between the 1st of March and 3rd April (Good Friday) will be matched pound for pound, up to fifty thousand pounds. Further details will appear in Main Line No.163 to be with members of Friends by 1st March, 2015.

“We’re calling it Money Match March,” added Bill “and it could see us push onto the home straight of our appeal. Everyone at the Great Central both north and south has been truly humbled by the generosity of people right across the country. We’re sure they will be delighted by the continued forward progress!”


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Three local schools get in on the bridge building

Tom Ingall : February 12, 2015 4:05 pm : Main Line


Project backed by Secretary of State for Education and Loughborough MP, Nicky Morgan

Youngsters from a group of Leicestershire schools are being lined up to help create a new section of railway in the county thanks to a partnership between Network Rail, Great Central Railway and Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC).

The heritage railway’s ‘Bridge to the Future’ project, with Network Rail, will give students hands-on experience of how science, technology engineering and maths (STEM subjects) play a vital part in railway design.

The Bridge to the Future project will reinstate a 500 metre section of the Great Central Railway – the UK’s only double track, main line heritage railway – and students will be able to take part in a real engineering project in the heart of their community.

The project has been created by Network Rail and Great Central Railway, working in partnership with AMCO, Carillion, Murphy, Charnwood Borough Council, LEBC and FJD Civil Engineers. It has been launched in three Loughborough schools: Charnwood College, Limehurst Academy and Woodbrook Vale High School.

The eight week programme will take students through the process of building a bridge. They will learn how to:

  • -  complete ecological / wildlife surveys,
  • -  test ground stability through geotechnical surveys
  • -  obtain planning consent
  • -  plan, design and build embankments and bridges
  • -  understand the complex processes involved in improving and maintaining the rail network
  • -  calculate costs

At the end of the project, students will design and build a model of a bridge based on the specifications for the bridge which will carry Great Central Railway’s steam trains over the Midland Main Line railway.

Layout 1


Bridge to the Future aims to encourage all students to consider careers in engineering and raise aspirations towards STEM careers. Male and female engineers, environment managers and project managers from Network Rail, AMCO, Carillion, Murphy and FJD will take lead roles during the programme, and will be joined by a variety of STEM professionals.
Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough and Secretary of State for Education, said: “So much of what I do on a national level as Secretary of State for Education is informed by my experience as a constituency MP, and Bridge to the Future is a prime example of this. The project brings together two of my great passions: encouraging more young people to study STEM subjects, and ensuring more of them leave school with the skills and experiences that employers value. These two things are crucial if we want more young people to have the chance to fulfil their potential and succeed in life.”

“It is great to see these two passions that I spend so much time talking about on a national level being brought together here at home. I congratulate the schools and businesses involved and look forward to seeing the project develop.”

Lili Tabiner, Great Central Railway, said: “The Bridge to the Future project is a complex feat of civil engineering, but before any structure is built a lot of work is needed so the new railway can operate for many years. Experts are guiding us through every stage of the process and each of these disciplines requires specialist skills that are obtained through the study of STEM subjects.”

“By taking students on site visits, and through the guidance of engineers working on the scheme, we hope the project will encourage more students to take up science, technology, engineering and maths.”

Vanessa Breward, STEM Coordinator at LEBC, said: “Bridge to the Future is a fabulous real-life STEM project. Britain is great at engineering and we are working with STEM Ambassadors to inspire students of today to become engineers and other STEM professionals to meet the growing demands of industry. The scheme will give students experience of a major engineering project, developing soft skills through project management, problem solving, team working and communication activities as well as building on science, technology, engineering and maths skills. The schools are very excited to be involved in this real insight into the world of work.”

Richard Walker, Network Rail’s Route Delivery Director who is responsible for the programme to modernise and electrify the Midland main line, said: “This is a hugely exciting project which gives a real insight into the diverse, interesting, challenging and rewarding railway careers, in engineering and associated disciplines. It also gives us a great opportunity to preserve the heritage rail network, and promote the works we do to make the rail network better for everyone.”

Notes: For more information about the real life reunification project, head to our project pages

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Autumn Gala DVD back in stock at the emporium

Tom Ingall : February 7, 2015 7:48 am : Main Line

Updated February 7th 2015!

Our spectacular Autumn Gala highlights DVD is back in stock at the Loughborough Central station emporium (open most weekends).

The DVD costs just £20, with every penny going to the Bridge to the Future appeal.


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Visit by HLF Trustees

Tom Ingall : February 2, 2015 5:55 pm : Main Line

Butler Henderson on display sketch (c) Event communication Ltd

We’re bidding for ten million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help create a brand new railway museum alongside Leicester North station. It is a joint project with the National Railway Museum and Leicester City Council. You can read all about the project including some of the proposed exhibits here.

As part of the bid process, trustees from the Heritage Lottery Fund will visit the site and hear from the project partners in the middle of February. Thank you to everyone who responded to the invitiation in the last Friends email to have their say on the project. We’ll be sharing your views with the HLF panel. There is still time to have your say by sending an email to

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