Main Line On Line

Museum – Winning Design Revealed!

GCR Admin : October 27, 2016 7:51 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra



“Iconic building” selected for new Leicester city railway museum – Click on image to enlarge.

WilkinsonEyre design will host unique collection of locomotives at the Great Central Railway

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported project to develop a brand new railway museum in Leicester has taken a leap forward with the announcement of the winning architects design.

WilkinsonEyre’s striking design was chosen from a shortlist of six candidates following extensive public consultation in early October 2016.

The exciting new museum, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, is a partnership between the award winning Great Central Railway, Leicester City Council and the York based National Railway Museum. It will house significant locomotives from the national collection, bringing them closer to the heart of the country than ever before. They will sit right alongside the heritage railways terminus at Leicester North station.

Andy Munro the Chief Executive of the Great Central Railway said, “This will be a museum for the whole of the city and the county and it was vital we consulted as widely as possible before choosing the winning design. There were several key factors to consider; would the new building be the right environment for the intended displays, was it iconic enough considering where it will sit on the city skyline and of course, does it fit with the projects budget? The museum team were set a hard task by such a high standard of shortlisted schemes, but we’re confident we have chosen the right one.

The WilkinsonEyre design will see three two storey exhibition halls constructed alongside Leicester North station. A glass wall will allow visitors arriving by train to see into the museum and vice versa. The choice of this design also allows the Great Central to retain the existing railway station building and platform, which volunteers had campaigned for, while allowing for future expansion. It will also mean the project budget can be concentrated on the exhibitions and their educational benefits, rather than remodelling the station area.

Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum commented “We have a number of irreplaceable locomotives which will go on display within the museum. Famous names like ‘Green Arrow’ and ‘Butler Henderson’ deserve to be shown off in a building that is just as iconic, but crucially has to be able to protect the exhibits too. The Wilkinson Eyre design provides the optimum conditions to display these important items from the National Collection within a building of stunning visual presence.

Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre said “We are delighted to have won this project in such a strong competition and we are looking forward to progressing the design which will be a great asset for Leicester.

Andy Munro concluded “We are looking forward to working with Wilkinson Eyre and our partners to help realise our vision for the museum.  This is an important project for the Great Central Railway and represents a new chapter in the 50 year life of the railway.  It will help us to further the preservation of the heritage of the GCR whilst at the same time create a new tourist attraction in Leicester, contributing to the on-going regeneration of the City.  It is also a tribute to the Heritage Lottery Fund who have worked with us and helped us get to this significant milestone.

In 2015, the Great Central Railway secured a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £10m grant allocation to build a museum which will house locomotives, carriages and other significant items from the National Collection. The many exhibits will tell the story of how the GCR and other railways contributed to the social and economic history of Leicester and the County. The estimated cost of the museum is £18m with the HLF contributing £10m.


A second view of the design –  Click on image to enlarge.

Comments are closed

Friends of Great Central Main Line – Raffle draw

Kate Tilley : October 24, 2016 10:06 am : Main Line

The Raffle was drawn on Sunday 9th Oct at the Autumn Gala and the prize winners, who have now all been notified, are as below.

Total raised towards the Bridge to the Future Appeal was a magnificent £10,682 and many thanks to everyone who bought tickets.

1st Prize – ticket no 0415 Mr Paul Evans.

2nd Prize – ticket no 21844 Mr John Grew

3rd Prize – ticket no 20941 Mr Ian Silcock

4th Prize – ticket no 25344 Mr Arthur Hewitt

5th Prize – Ticket no 0867 Mr J Bryan


Comments are closed

Museum – Shortlisted design concepts revealed…

Andrew Morley : October 3, 2016 3:00 pm : Main Line, News Banner

Main Line Museum

Six Architects have been shortlisted to produce a design for the new Museum at Leicester North.  Their fabulous designs are on display at the Platform Café Greenacres until Sunday, 9 October over the Autumn Gala Weekend between 10.00 and 16.00.

The winning design will be selected by a panel of experts from the GCR, Leicester City Council, the National Railway Museum and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The winning design is expected to be announced later in October, following  a process of due diligence to verify the costs independently.


Comments are closed

Press Release – William Ford

Kate Tilley : September 1, 2016 10:28 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra

Contact: Andy Munro – 07899 902832

Date: 01 September 2016


Over the past forty years the GCR team led for much of that time by Bill Ford have steered the Great Central Railway through some difficult and challenging times and the railway today is unrecognisable from the organisation which Bill inherited. It is a wonderful testament to all of our friends and supporters that the railway is, at last, in a position to progress both the project to install the Bridge over the Midland Mainline as well as a new National Railway Museum at the GCR’s Leicester North station.

Over the past two years discussion has focused on how to strengthen the Board of Directors to ensure that we have a greater level of experience at this critical time of expansion of the railway, and we have recently appointed four new non-executive directors and a new Chief Executive Officer to the Board.

For some time Bill has recognised the impact of running the railway has had on his health, and that as a youthful 78 year old a slight reduction in workload may be a good idea. Bill has therefore chosen to retire as Managing Director at the end of September 2016. The Board will continue to benefit from Bill’s skills and experience as Bill will oversee the many special projects which Bill wants to see completed as Director-Special Projects.

Speaking about his time at the GCR, Bill Ford said:

“I am proud to have been at the GCR for so many years during which time we have seen the GCR grow into one of the finest heritage railways in the UK. The re-erection of the bridge over the main line has been an ambition for over twenty years and I am delighted that it has finally been secured and the money raised on my watch. I am also very proud that the GCR has been awarded the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grant in Leicestershire’s history to build a new museum: the bridge and the museum will help to bring further success to the GCR”

Commenting on Bill’s new challenge, Michael Gregory, GCR President, said:

“There is no doubt in the minds of all the GCR staff and volunteers that without Bill’s energies and efforts the GCR would not be here today, let alone as strong, efficient and successful as it is. All at the GCR owe a huge debt to Bill. I look forward to working more closely with him to see these special projects which we have talked about for too long become successful additions to the GCR’s facilities.” 



Comments are closed

Auction of Bachmann Train Packs

Dennis Wilcock : July 13, 2016 8:00 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra

The auction has now been concluded and the successful bidders informed.

At the recent GCR Model Event at Quorn & Woodhouse Bachmann Europe made a very generous donation of two of their excellent high quality train packs to support the Reunification Project.

Friends has decided that the best way to utilise this generous donation is to auction the two packs on this page and put the proceeds to the DCRT Grand Summer Draw which is in aid of the Restoration of Bridge 331 over the Grand Union Canal north of the Locomotive Shed at Loughborough.

To make a bid email with your bid and name. Each pack has a reserve price. The latest bid will be posted here. The auction will be concluded at the end of July, 2016.

The two packs are as follows:

372-400 Box ArtworkGraham Farish N Gauge Train Pack

Longmoor Military Railway

The pack contains WD Austerity No.400 “Sir Guy Williams” and three LMR suburban coaches all in Longmoor Military Railway livery.

Retail Price: £139.95

Reserve Price: £70.00

Latest Bid: £80.00


30-525 Box Artwork

Bachmann Branch-Line OO Gauge Train Pack

The Shakespeare Express

The pack contains GWR Hall Class No.4965 “Rood Ashton Hall”, three Chocolate and Cream Coaches and an EFE Stratford Upon Avon open top tour bus.

Retail Price: £219.95

Reserve Price: £110.00

Latest Bid: £120.00

A chance to gain a bargain at the same time helping to progress Reunification! Happy bidding.

Comments are closed

Investment Gives Boost to the GCR’s Projects

Dennis Wilcock : June 20, 2016 5:52 pm : Main Line, Main Line Xtra, News Banner

Leicestershire County Council has announced an investment of £250,000 in one million shares in GCR plc. This gives a major boost to the Reunification project part of which is to Bridge the Gap across the Midland Main Line and to the new museum to be built at Leicester North.

The Press Release from the Council reads:


(a)       That the County Council continues to work in collaboration with the Great Central Railway (GCR) and other partners on highways and supporting infrastructure in order to facilitate the expansion of the GCR and maximise the resultant benefits for the local economy;

(b)       That £250,000 be allocated from the Council’s Economic Development earmarked funds to purchase one million shares in the Great Central Railway Plc.;

(c)       That surplus track and lineside infrastructure from the site of the former Snibston Discovery Museum be donated to GCR for use in the Heritage Railway Museum.


Loughborough is identified as a priority Growth Area within Leicester and Leicestershire’s Strategic Economic Plan, and supporting its wider growth is therefore a priority for the Council.

The County Council is working in partnership with GCR, Charnwood Borough Council and Leicester City Council to overcome associated structural, land and highway issues which will ultimately unlock the expansion of the site. When delivered, this major infrastructure development could double the annual visitor numbers to the surrounding area, provide increased employment opportunities (direct and indirect) and help to initiate the wider regeneration of East Loughborough Industrial Heritage Quarter.

The purchase of shares in GCR will help secure the successful implementation of the expansion proposals, in particular the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, reaffirming the site as one of Leicestershire’s unique and leading tourism attractions.  It will also position all three local authorities (the County, City and Borough Councils) as comparable shareholders in the site.

Bill Ford, the GCR’s Managing Director said “The news of the further support from LCC on both our museum and Gap projects is very exciting.  It now means that we have all 3 councils very much in support of our future growth allied to the bridging the gap and museum concepts. With a partnership of the NRM in York and the ongoing support of the Science museum in London, we are on course to produce one of the most spectacular railway preservation projects anywhere in the world.

The East Midlands is not generally associated with tourism, but with excellent motorway, rail and air connections our being centrally placed brings in huge advantages to a relatively underdeveloped part of the UK.

We have transformed the financial base of GCR Plc in the last 9 years and are achieving the goals set at that stage.”


Comments are closed

Annual General Meeting, 25th June

Richard Patching : May 3, 2016 11:34 am : Main Line

The Great Central Railway PLC’s annual general meeting will be held at Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics., LE11 1SL on Saturday 25th June 2016 at 10.30am (doors open from 10am)

Comments are closed

New Bridge to the Future Web Page Published

Dennis Wilcock : April 26, 2016 8:45 am : Main Line

The Bridge to the Future web page has now been updated. It will carry all the latest news in relation to the project to re-unify the two halves of the Great Central Railway to create a 18 mile intercity steam operated heritage railway between the outskirts of Leicester and the outskirts of Nottingham.

You can access the pages through the Bridge to the Future logo on the GCR home page

Comments are closed
« Page 1, 2, 3 ... 30, »



Our next running day

This Weekend

Two steam locomotives and one diesel loco are operating services this weekend.

Click here for more details...

Make a donation

To make a donation to our supporting charity click the Donate button below

Donate to the Charity

Main Line Xtra

If you are a Friend of the Great Central Railway, you can access Main Line Xtra which provides additional news, special offers and features. To access Main Line Xtra click here

Want to become a Friend? Join now by clicking here

Special Events

This is a selection of our special events, to see the full list, click here

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016

Visit England Quality Assured Attraction