Main Line On Line

Great Central & More – Steam, Rail & Ale – Rail Holiday

Kate Tilley : February 3, 2016 1:21 pm : Main Line, Main Line Xtra

Our rail holiday partner, Railtrail Tours, have recently been awarded the 2015 British Travel Awards silver award in the category ‘Best Rail Holidays Company’

Railtrail logo_300dpi

Amongst their extensive programme of escorted rail holidays of the UK and Europe this one may be of particular interest to you as it includes our Model Railway event in June and much more! When booking any Railtrail Tour please state you saw the tour advertised at the Great Central Railway as the ‘Bridge Fund’ receives a welcome donation boost.

Thursday 16th June 2016 – 5 days – Fares from £499

A brilliant Steam, Rail & Ale tour timed to coincide with the huge Great Central Model Railway event plus steam on the Great Central North. Add in a private steam passenger and photo freight charter on the Foxfield Railway plus Marston’s Heritage brewery, the much loved Titanic brewery and a visit to England’s oldest inn, dating from 1189!


  • Great Central Day Rover pass
  • Admission to the GCR Model event at Quorn
  • Steam on GCR – Nottingham
  • Heritage bus rides
  • Tour of Marston’s brewery
  • Private passenger steam charter Foxfield Railway
  • Private photo steam charter of mineral train
  • Visit to Titanic brewery and taster
  • Farewell drink at ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’

The tour is based at the former Midland Railway Hotel in Derby and includes Half Board, rail travel from any station in the UK, and all excursions

The full tour programme can be viewed at

Copies of the 2016 Classic UK & European tours brochure are available at all stations. Whilst the Steam, Rail & Ale tours can be viewed on their website


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Weekend Shed Tours 13th & 14th February

Paul Taylor : December 29, 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 13th and Sunday 14th Febuary.

Tour times are at: 10.30, 11.00, 11.30 am & 12.00, 12.30, 1.30, 2.30, 3.00 & 3.30 pm

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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Reunification – latest Bridge Statement

Richard Patching : December 4, 2015 4:39 pm : Main Line, Main Line Xtra

Contact: Bill Ford – 07515 598329

Date:  Wednesday, 2nd December 2015



The recent delay and revised timescale of the electrification of the Midland Mainline has had an inevitable impact on the Bridging the Gap project in that the efficiency savings, which were originally anticipated as a result of contractors combining work on both projects, are now lost.

Following meetings with Network Rail in both Derby and London, GCR plc has decided, with the full cooperation of Network Rail, to take over the management of the total project to reunify the two sections of the GCR north and south of the Midland Mainline ‘gap’ at Loughborough. This includes replacing the missing bridge over the Midland Mainline.

GCR’s project managers, FJD, have now taken over the management of the entire project on GCR’S behalf and will continue to liaise with Network Rail to secure the required consents and collaboration.  The ‘pause’ has also given GCR the opportunity to review the MML bridge design and look at combining it with a new bridge over Railway Terrace together with the section crossing Preci Spark car park.  The two Reading bridge decks will be incorporated into this structure to save costs.

It is now anticipated that work on other sections of the Gap project will start in the spring with the restoration of the Canal bridge and preparation work on rebuilding the embankments.

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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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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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Two steam locomotives and one diesel operating this weekend.

Locomotive roster to be announced.

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