Autumn Steam Gala – Thurs 4th to Sun 7th October 2018

70 years since the 1948 locomotive exchange trials...

Our Autumn Steam Gala takes place from 4th to 7th October 2018, with a busy passenger service on Thursday, stepping up a gear on Friday with the addition of freight trains, and on Saturday and Sunday a very intensive timetable indeed, including a very frequent passenger service with goods trains and Travelling Post Office demonstrations. An event not to missed!

We're delighted to be bringing two guest locomotives to GCR as we look back to the 1948 locomotive exchange trials at the beginning of the British Railways era.

Bulleid light pacific 34092 "City of Wells" and Thompson B1 1264 and our own Modified Hall 6990 "Witherslack Hall" which ran during the trials on this very line are our stars for the event, with up to 7 additional locos from the home fleet in operation during the event.

Click here to buy tickets online

  34092 "City of Wells" appears in un-rebuilt condition in early British Railways livery.

Appearing courtesy of the East Lancashire Railway.

  Thompson B1 will appear in LNER Wartime livery and specially renumbered as 1251 Oliver Bury (which ran in the 1948 trials)

Appearing courtesy of the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust and North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Major Attractions

The gala will feature an intensive timetable with a large number of train movements only possible on the GCR's double track, with the most frequent train service on Saturday and Sunday.

The main highlights of the gala are due to include:

  • Intensive timetable - Possibility for over 90 movements at Loughborough on Saturday & Sunday.
  • 10 steam locos in service on Saturday and Sunday, 5 on Friday, and 3 on Thursday.
  • "The Express" - A non stop passenger service from Loughborough at 13:45 each day.
  • Recreating a main line experience: Trains passing throughout the day on our double track.
  • TPO demonstrations. Travelling Post Office trains pass at higher speed on Saturday & Sunday.
  • Goods trains. See the railway at work with passing goods trains (Fri/Sat/Sun) including mineral wagons, and our recently restored box van train.
  • Free heritage bus link between Loughborough Central and Loughborough Midland (East Midlands Trains) stations.


Home Fleet Locos

In addition to our two guests locomotives we're expecting to have at least six locos from the home fleet selected from:


6990 "Witherslack Hall" 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" appearing courtesy of the National Railway Museum
9F 92214 Leicester City
BR Standard 5 73156 9F 92214 "Leicester City"
Stanier 8F 48624
Stanier 8F 48624 Ivatt Class 2 46521
BR Standard 2 78018 Fowler 3F 47406

Passenger Timetables

The full Working Timetable is included in the event programme which is available free of charge to holders of travel tickets for the event (or £3 otherwise) from all our Booking Offices at the event while stocks last.

Holders of tickets purchased online - please present your ticket at any Booking Office window to receive your complimentary programme.



No booking fees!  We do not charge booking fees for our tickets. The prices below are the prices you pay.

£ Thursday Friday Sat or Sun Any 2 days Any 3 days All 4 days
Adult 20 23 29 47 60 70
Senior Concession 19 22 28 45 57 66
Child 11 12 15 24 32 36
Privilege/Friend (Adult) 13 16 22 33 41 50
Privilege/Friend (Child) 7 8 11 17 22 25
Family 1A + 3C 31 35 45 75 95 110
Family 2A + 3C 50 55 70 105 120 140


Tickets may be booked online here, or purchased on arrival at the event at any of our Booking Offices.Book Tickets Online


Return, single and short hop tickets will not be available. Return tickets may be purchased after 3.30 pm (Saturday & Sunday), or 3.00pm (Thursday & Friday), at the prices applicable on a normal operating weekend (£17 for adults, £16 senior concession, £9 children, etc.)

  1. Members of Friends of the GCML are entitled to Privilege fares upon production of membership card. (These are available from Booking Offices; unfortunately we are unable currently to sell these online).
  2. Heritage Railway Association passes will not be valid for this event.
  3. GCR shareholders' discount vouchers will be valid for this event.
  4. Working members of other heritage railways with whom GCR has reciprocal arrangements for reduced fares will be eligible for Privilege fares upon production of valid membership cards and work permits.
  5. Same arrangements apply as in point 1. above for holders of ex British Rail and Train Operating Company passes.
  6. Platform tickets at Loughborough and Quorn (including Quorn car park and yard) are priced at £7 on Saturday Sunday and £5 on Thursday and Friday – these can be offset against runabout tickets purchased for the Gala.

NOTE: A complimentary copy of the Gala programme is included in the above travel ticket prices (whilst stocks last) and includes full working timetable. Normal programme price is £3.


Free heritage bus link.

A free heritage bus link will operate from Loughborough Midland (East Midlands Trains) station to Loughborough Central station on Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th October only.

Buses are expected to run at regular intervals from 0810 Saturday and 0845 Sunday until the last bus back from Loughborough Central to Midland at approx 1810.

The full bus timetable is available for download here.

Two or more buses will be in use each day. This bus link is also available for anyone who wants a short ride on a heritage bus.

Buses run courtesy of Leicester Transport Heritage Trust



* Buffet - serving real ale, hot and cold drinks and selection of homemade sandwiches. Open from: 9.30am on Thurs and 8.30am on Fri, Sat & Sun.
* Shed apron open for a browse (subject to operational requirements). A roped area in front of the signal box will provide a viewing opportunity for activities taking place in the shed area. Please note that the locomotive shed itself is not expected to be open during the gala.
* Award winning GCR museum
* Well stocked retail shop
* Emporium - railway 'Olde Curiositie Shoppe' full of books, CDs, DVDs oddities etc

Quorn & Woodhouse
* Real Ale: Over the weekend, we'll have a range of cask beers from Nottingham Brewery on offer, plus cask ciders. These will be served at the recently restored Tin Shed in the yard. Open: 11 am daily. 5pm close on Thurs, Fri & Sun, 6pm on Sat.
* Butler-Henderson café - fully licensed and serving delicious home made sandwiches and cakes. Great photo opportunities from the garden viewing area. Open: 9.30am to 5pm on Thurs & Fri. 9am to 6pm on Sat and 9am to 5pm on Sun.
* Naafi café - 1940s style tea room, under the railway arches.

* Ellis's tea room - fully licensed and serving delicious home made sandwiches and cakes.
* A great place to watch the trains go by within the sheltered cuttings (platform ticket required if not travelling).
* Station tea room serving delicious homemade cakes.

Leicester North
* Station tea room for hot and cold drinks.

Car parking
Loughborough: LE11 1RW. On street parking is available but the surrounding roads will be busy. Many double yellow lines have been added to roads in the area, so parking is increasingly scarce; you may need to park some distance from the station and neighbouring residents don't necessarily welcome you doing this!
Quorn: LE12 8AG.This is GCR's main car parking area. Thursday & Friday: the station yard car park will be available free of charge. Saturday & Sunday: a charge of £3 per car per day will apply (no exceptions) for parking in the neighbouring field. If approaching the station from the A6 or Quorn village, the field is immediately on the left hand side after crossing the bridge over the GCR line; the walk back to the station is some 200 yards. For these two days, the only parking in Quorn station yard will be for holders of registered disabled passes (free - see below).
On-street parking in the immediate vicinity of Quorn station is subject to Council operated parking restrictions.
Rothley: LE7 7LD. There is very limited car parking in the station yard. Also, on-street parking in the immediate vicinity of Rothley station is very limited with Council operated parking restrictions.
Leicester North: LE4 3BR. There is limited car parking on the immediate approach to the station.

DISABLED PARKING: The station yard at Quorn will be available for blue badge holders and our less able-bodied visitors who do not have a blue badge. To reserve your space, please email with your name and vehicle registration details.

LOOKING TO STAY A LITTLE LONGER? There are some accommodation providers in the area and here are some options

All locomotives and attractions appear subject to availability, GCR reserve the right to cancel or amend any service.

Passengers are conveyed by the Company's trains in accordance with the Company's "Conditions of Carriage" (as shown on this website).

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