Main Line On Line

Annual General Meeting, Saturday, 29th July

Richard Patching : July 3, 2017 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 29th July 2017 at 10.30am (doors open from 10am).

This will be followed at approximately midday by the annual general meeting of Friends of Great Central Main Line.

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Great Central Museum – Work progress

GCR Admin : June 29, 2017 8:00 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra, News Banner

Planning is now well underway for the new museum at Leicester North, which will be part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and built next to the existing Great Central Railway station. The project is a partnership between the GCR, Leicester City Council and the National Railway Museum, and is planned to open to visitors in 2020/21.


In 2015, the GCR secured a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £10m grant allocation to build the museum which will house locomotives, carriages and other significant items, including from the NRM’s 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.


Architects WilkinsonEyre were selected last autumn with a winning outline design. Since then there has been continual refinement of the design details, involving discussion with the in-house track and signalling volunteers. They have produced a series of revised proposals including an alternative turntable position, a second (island) platform and buffer stops.

Drawing of the winning design looking south - Click image to enlarge

Drawing of the winning design looking south (this image does not show platform canopy extension or a second platform) – Click image to enlarge

Belgrave and Birstall looking south

The same view, during re-instatement of the track by volunteers in the late 1980s. The museum will be partly on the site of the former Belgrave and Birstall station – part of the old platform may be re-built.


"Iconic building" selected for new Leicester city railway museum - Click on image to enlarge

Aerial view of the winning design showing large external event space – Click on image to enlarge


Museum site plan concept - March 2017

Updated indicative site layout at Leicester North, March 2017 – Click to enlarge.


A museum project update and consultation meeting for volunteers and the public.

A museum project update and consultation meeting for volunteers and the public.


Leicester North will be a major new destination attracting visitors to the city from central England, nationally and from overseas.

Leicester North will be a major new destination attracting visitors to the city from central England, nationally and from overseas.


The railway is now recruiting a range of expert advisors to help with museum planning, as part of the HLF’s Development grant funding.  These essential members of the team include project managers, quantity surveyors (to pin down estimated costs), activity planners (to help consult with local communities) and a Business Development Manager (to help fund-raise for the project).
We are consulting with local schools, as learning will be a major feature of the new museum:

Message for teachers and tutors:

If you could please complete this survey, it will really help the plans. It should take about 5-10 minutes. All completed questionnaires will be entered into a draw to win one of two £50 Amazon vouchers. 

Visitor views survey.
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our recent survey asking for views and ideas for the new museum.  These are being analysed for details, which will be incorporated in the Activity Plan for the museum.  There will be further announcements of opportunities to feed ideas into the museum creation process in the future.  The winner of the survey prize draw will be notified shortly.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Major Grants Programme applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

Do you want to be part of our big project?
We are currently looking for volunteers to help with the following areas –
• Research on exhibition themes
• Assessing objects to the new museum
• Seeking and recording people’s memories
• Surveying the public and promoting the museum

If you can help with any of these, or would like more information, please get in touch at or call 01509 633853.

Heritage Lottery Fund

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Job Vacancy – Butler Henderson Cafe

GCR Admin : June 26, 2017 1:41 pm : Main Line

Job Vacancy

Great Central Railways Butler Henderson Cafe at Quorn Station seek an experienced part time assistant cook.
You must be able to work either a Saturday or Sunday as part of your working week plus extra hours during busy periods.
Tasks include cooking fresh meals, breakfasts and baking cake’s. Also pot washing, running, cleaning and helping out with general activities within the cafe.
If interested please drop in with your CV or email it to

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Bridge to the Future at the Model Event

Andrew Morley : June 19, 2017 5:29 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra

Thank you to everyone who visited the Bridge to the Future / Friends of the Great Central Main Line stand at the recent GCR model railway event. Hundreds of people came to ask about the project and make a donation. Your support makes the work possible. A key attraction was the updated model of the project, now complete with a moving freight train – hauled by Ivatt 2 46521 no less. It’s great to be able to talk to people about the project and show them where the work is now going on!

The model was originally built by Alan Brassey and has been revised by David Rae. The project team would like to thanks Friends of the Great Central Main Line, FJD consulting, the David Clarke Railway Trust, Bachmann Europe PLC and the family of Mr Stan Tombs.

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Bridge to the Future – Piling on the pressure!

GCR Admin : May 27, 2017 2:59 pm : Main Line, Main Line Xtra


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.

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GCR management

GCR Admin : May 19, 2017 8:55 am : Main Line

Chief Executive Officer

The board of the Great Central Railway PLC regret to announce Chief Executive Andy Munro is stepping down. He joined the company last year and has been instrumental in delivering progress on two major projects; the start of work on a new bridge over the Midland Main Line for the reunification scheme and the continued development of a new Heritage Lottery Funded railway museum at Leicester North station.

Mr Munro is leaving the GCR for family reasons and the board would like to place on record their thanks for his hard work and wish him well for the future.

His successor will be announced in due course.

Richard Patching, currently General Manager, will be Interim Chief Executive with a view to ensuring the railway’s efficient operation during the process of recruiting a permanent replacement for Mr Munro.



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Renaissance Railcars Appeal

Andrew Morley : March 16, 2017 12:00 am : Main Line, Main Line Xtra, News Banner

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.

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37714 to appear in new livery

Andrew Morley : March 11, 2017 8:07 am : Main Line

Class 37 37714 returned to GCR on 10th March freshly repainted into the British Rail Trainload Freight (Metals) livery. 37714 will appear in this livery for the first time in passenger service at our Spring Diesel Gala on 18th and 19th March 2017.

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

The loco, previously seen at GCR in the blue livery of Direct Rail Services is in the care of the Heavy Tractor Group.

More details on our Spring Diesel Gala can be found here.

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