Main Line On Line

Volunteers needed at GCR Carriage and Wagon Works

Andrew Morley : July 28, 2014 10:13 am : Main Line, News Banner


The Carriage & Wagon Department urgently need volunteers to assist with maintaining and restoring our rolling stock at our Carriage and Wagon Works, Rothley.

Such work would be of interest to those with metal working skills including plating and welding, these are our most urgent needs. However, painting, upholstery and electrical skills are also required.

Interested?  Please e-mail Chris Lang, Carriage and Wagon Manager with a brief CV and your contact details to learn if we can provide you with a rewarding experience in heritage railway restoration.

Chris’s e-mail address is

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Tom Ingall : July 7, 2014 2:00 pm : Main Line, News Banner



The Great Central Railway has secured one million pounds of funding from the Government’s ‘Local Growth Deal’ as part of an £80m allocation to the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The money will support GCR’s Bridging the Gap project to reinstate 500 metres of missing track, reuniting two separate heritage railways, to create an eighteen mile railway stretching across the East Midlands. In partnership with Network Rail, GCR is embarking on a major infrastructure project which will bring new jobs, training and business opportunities not just to Loughborough but across the region. Already the railway has raised five hundred thousand pounds via a public appeal towards a key bridge which will carry Great Central trains across Network Rail tracks.

Bill Ford, Managing Director of GCR said, “We are delighted by the one million pound award. Thanks to the generous support of Network Rail and the public we’ve been able to make a start on this long held vision with our ‘Bridge to the Future’ campaign. Today, the government have come on board too, which will accelerate our plans to reunite the railways. Once complete, as well as becoming one of the best tourist attraction in the UK, GCR will offer improved testing facilities for the rail industry, opportunities for joint business ventures and bring a much needed boost to the local economy. We’d like to thank everyone in the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership for supporting our bid and securing the funding.”

The overall reunification scheme is expected to cost six and a half million pounds and trains could be running between the north of Leicester and the southern outskirts of Nottingham within five years. Besides the new bridge over Network Rail, an existing canal bridge needs to be repaired, a new bridge over an access road needs to be built and 300 metres of missing embankment reinstated.

The GCR is stressing that its one million pound ‘Bridge to the Future’ appeal for the required new bridge will continue. “We need to demonstrate our ability to match fund the government grant” added Bill “Money is still coming into the appeal and we are confident we will raise a million pounds by summer 2015.”

Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough said, “Local Growth Deals are part of the Government’s aim to devolve funding decisions away from Whitehall to local business-led partnerships and directly into projects which will make a real difference to the local economy.  I am delighted that Great Central Railway has received a grant of £1m towards the Bridging the Gap project.  GCR are working closely with Network Rail and various local partners on one of Loughborough’s the most exciting regeneration projects. An 18 mile heritage railway line, with a direct connection to the mainline rail network will create jobs and unlock further investment opportunities not just in the town but across the whole of Leicestershire.”

Alan Kemp, a director of Great Central Railway Nottingham said “We have planning permission for the Main Line bridge, we have started work on that vital part, and now we can make plans for the rest of the project too. Momentum is building to bring the Great Central Railway Nottingham together with our counterparts in Leicestershire to create something unique that the region and country can be proud off.”

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive of Charnwood Borough Council said, “As a shareholder and stakeholder in the Great Central Railway, Charnwood Borough Council is delighted that this funding has been secured.  Bridging the Gap is a long held ambition that will enhance the economic vibrancy and wellbeing of the Borough. That is now an important step closer to becoming a reality”.

For more details about the reunification project and to donate to the Bridge to the Future project see to

HOW TO DONATE: Donations can be made with a cheque made payable to ‘The David Clark Railway Trust’ and sent to the GCR HQ at ‘Bridge Appeal’, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 1SL. Using an appeal form (downloadable from standing orders can easily set up. Alternatively donations can be made online at – click on the ‘donate now’ button or the Bridge to the Future appeal link.

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Bridge to the Future: Planning permission granted!

Tom Ingall : July 1, 2014 8:02 pm : Main Line, News Banner

A Network Rail visualisation of the new bridge expected to be in place in mid 2015 © Network RailPLANNING PERMISSION GRANTED FOR ‘BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE’

The Great Central Railway is celebrating after planning permission was awarded by Charnwood Borough Council for a brand new bridge over the Midland mainline. The new structure is key to the aims to reunify two sections of the GCR and create an 18 mile heritage railway across the East Midlands. Volunteer experts from Network Rail are coordinating the build programme with the GCR committed to paying for the work.

Bill Ford, Managing Director of the Great Central Railway said, “This is a real milestone in the progress of this decades old dream as it moves towards reality. We really have to thank the entire Network Rail team for their hard work. Without them we wouldn’t be making such incredible progress.”

The conditional planning permission requires some small additional work before construction on the bridge can start. Two donated bridge decks (already partly refurbished) will be placed end to end, to create a single 36 metre long structure. It will be built over the Midland mainline, close to where the A60 road crosses the railway in Loughborough. In years to come, historic steam engines will cross the bridge hauling Great Central trains, while modern units on an electrified railway will hurtle underneath! Construction work itself is unlikely to start before Christmas to coincide with planned engineering shut downs on the national rail network.

The Great Central Railway has set a target of raising one million pounds to pay for the work. Already just over £500,000 has been contributed by railway enthusiasts and well wishers from across the whole UK – and abroad.

Bill continued, “The bridge will ultimately enable us to link with the Great Central Railway Nottingham who run trains from Ruddington to the north of Loughborough. We’ll be able to create an 18 mile heritage line. While there are other structures to complete besides the bridge, the vision has clearly captured the imagination and we are very grateful to the thousands of people who have contributed to the appeal. Fundraising is vital for success and we’d urge people who want to see this happen to contribute.”

You can donate to the appeal by sending a cheque made payable to the David Clarke Railway Trust to Bridge Appeal, Great Central Railway, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 1SL.

Alternatively donations can be made online using a credit or debit card at


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GCR on the small screen – now on Sunday!

Andrew Morley : June 26, 2014 11:33 am : Main Line


The scene at Swithland Sidings during filming

The scene at Swithland Sidings during filming.

The Great Central Railway has a starring role on television on Sunday 29th June. Producers of BBC TVs long running hospital drama Casualty turned to the GCR for its realistic main line looks when it needed to stage a dramatic rail crash.

The production was filmed over several nights in February this year. Modern carriages were hired in and placed on their sides across the tracks at Swithland Sidings, where the GCR has four running lines.

Paul Pearson, the Casualty Location Manager, on behalf of the BBC said, dated 19th Feb 2014, “Thank you to everyone at GCR for a completely brilliant experience.  I am so glad we chose to come to Swithland: it looks great on the screen.  There is still a lot of work to go into the final product, of course, but everyone here is very excited about what we’ve done.

Richard Patching, General Manager of the Great Central Railway said, “We were delighted to host Casualty at the GCR. It was a tough assignment with lots of planning needed to get everything in place for the filming. Cranes had to be hired and track lifted to put the ‘crash scene’ in place and all this while we were running passenger trains at the weekends! Our teams had to work through the night but we’re sure the end result on screen will be worth it.

Swithland Sidings during the night shoot for the BBC's Casualty

The GCR has featured in an episode of Casualty before and is a regular destination for movie makers. Shadowlands, The Hours and Cemetery Junction are just three productions to take to the award winning line’s Leicestershire tracks.

Richard added, “Filming isn’t just good business for us, it brings real economic benefit to the local service sector with the crew staying in hotels etc. Afterwards, we’ll even get people coming to visit because they want to see where films and programmes were made so even counting the hard work it’s a win-win situation.

The episode is scheduled to be broadcast at 9pm on BBC 1 on Sunday 29th June. This episode was due to be shown on Saturday 28th but was rescheduled due to a World Cup football match going into to extra time.

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Week-end Shed Tours 12 – 13 July

Paul Taylor : June 25, 2014 2:48 pm : 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 12th and Sunday 13th July.

Tour times are on the half-hour and on the hour from 1.30 pm (Saturday) and from 10 30am (Sunday) to 4 30pm – except 1 00pm (guides’ lunch break).   Party size is limited to 12, with only one group in the shed at any one time:  best chances are on the hour.

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.   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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GCR 2015 Calendar now available

Dennis Wilcock : June 13, 2014 8:22 pm : Main Line

GCR-Calendar-2015The GCR’s 2015 calendar is now available in the shop at Loughborough Central and may also be purchased via the GCR’s website.

The calendar is lavishly illustrated with scenes from all parts of the GCR and will bring the atmosphere of our great railway in to your home.

To purchase via the website go to Shop on the main page where you will find the calendar under Recent Products.








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Weekly newsletter 04/06/14

Martin Ward : June 5, 2014 6:46 pm : Main Line

Please follow the link for the latest newsletter: Weekly Newsletter 2014-06-04 22

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Bridge to the Future appeal reaches halfway – £500,000!

Tom Ingall : June 4, 2014 9:00 am : Main Line, News Banner

A Network Rail visualisation of the new bridge expected to be in place in mid 2015 © Network RailThe Great Central Railway’s massive one million pound appeal to kick start the creation of an eighteen mile railway has now reached half a million pounds – the halfway point!

The money is being raised to pay for a new thirty six metre bridge which will carry the tracks of the Great Central, across the Midland Main Line. The two halves of the award winning heritage line are working with Network Rail to deliver the new bridge in 2015 as the Midland line is electrified. The new bridge is a key element of fulfilling a long held vision; reuniting two halves of the GCR – north and south of Loughborough.

Alan Kemp, from Great Central Railway (Nottingham) who run trains on the northern section of the line said, “We’re a year into the appeal with about a year to go until the bridge is in place. What better way to celebrate than to reach the half way point of our appeal campaign? On behalf of everyone at the GCR, north and south, thank you to everyone for donating to this really exciting project. Let’s roll up our sleeves, raise the rest and get the job done.”

Bill Ford from the GCRplc which operates on the southern section said, “With the strong commitment of Network Rail and so much support from the community around the railway we can look forward to the day the new bridge will be in place. After that we need to crack on with the remainder of the works before we can open the railway and start delivering economic benefit along the whole route of the line.”

To donate:

Send a cheque marked payable to the David Clarke Railway Trust to; Bridge appeal, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 1SL

Donations can also be made on line here using credit and debit cards. Download an appeal leaflet from the same site to set up a standing order to contribute a small sum every month.

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