Mountsorrel Branch and TPO running days 22nd 23rd July 2017

Special event to celebrate special piece of railway history at the Great Central Railway.

The Great Central Railway is offering a choice of destinations for the very first time for travellers. The award winning Leicestershire heritage line is well known for transporting thousands of families between Loughborough, Quorn and Woodhouse, Rothley and Leicester North stations. Now for the first time it can say ‘all change for Mountsorrel’.
On the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of July, trains will run from the GCR’s main line route onto the newly rebuilt Mountsorrel branch line. Trains have run on the branch before from the new heritage centre but they have always stopped short of connection to the main line. The ‘through trains’ will mean passengers can join at Quorn or Rothley stations and go direct to Mountsorrel.

Ticketing arrangements.

Online tickets

Online tickets are no longer available this event - we have limited the number of tickets sold online in order to help ensure that tickets are available to purchase on the day for the majority of services.

Runabout tickets already purchased online are valid for:

  • Unlimited travel on the Railway’s main line between Loughborough and Leicester on the day and...
  • One round trip on the Mountsorrel Branch diesel railcar service: starting from Quorn and reaching Swithland; then over the branch from Swithland to Mountsorrel and back; then Swithland to Rothley; and finally Rothley back to Quorn direct.


Pay on the day

The usual range of tickets at GCR will be available from the station booking offices at Loughborough, Quorn, Rothley & Leicester for journeys between these stations (but excluding any journey on the diesel railcar service). Normal fares apply except that HRA passes will not be valid.

To access the diesel railcar service, a supplementary ticket must be bought for £6 (£4 for children age 5 to 15 inclusive), which will be valid for one round trip. These tickets are available only from the special booking office at Quorn (in General Waiting Room) upon production of a valid ticket for the day on the Railway’s main line between Loughborough and Leicester. Please note that supplementary tickets for the Branch will not be sold, and will not be valid, if a ticket for the main line cannot be produced.

Please note that due to limited capacity on the railcar, it may be necessary to limit the number of supplementary tickets sold at Quorn for the next Branch train due to depart.



Our combined timetable for main line and branch operations is available for download here.


“We’re delighted to be chalking up some railway history.”, said Michael Stokes from the Great Central Railway. “Passengers will be able to travel onboard our vintage diesel railcar from Quorn station to the branch line junction at Swithland Sidings, before travelling directly onto the branch line to Nunckley Hill and Bond Lane stations at Mountsorrel. At the same time our main line trains will run between Loughborough and Leicester. It is a really special moment to offer a choice of destinations and routes to travel on, and very unusual in the heritage railway world.”
The event comes almost a decade since  efforts to rebuild the branch line began. After clearing a heavily overgrown trackbed the local community have come together to relay more than a mile of track, create a wonderful heritage centre for Mountosrrel and a nature trail. It was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in January this year.

Steve Cramp who led the project said, “Our open weekends with trains on the branch have been very popular but having through trains from the Great Central Railway for the first time is very exciting. It will mean passengers can travel directly to our new heritage centre to discover the story of this industrial railway. We hope to stage shunting demonstrations with our Mountsorrel Railway wagons and of course the popular nature park alongside the railway will be open to explore.”

It is hoped in future, with changes to the signalling at the junction where the two lines meet, that through trains can operate more regularly.

To make the weekend extra special Railway Vehicle Preservations Travelling Post Office set will recreate a once common sight on the national rail network, dropping off and picking up mail bags at speed. Three steam locomotives, a heritage diesel will run passenger trains and take turns on the travelling post office demonstration train.

“It is a weekend not to be missed” concluded Michael. “It is a salute to the many thousands of hours invested by the community in the Mountsorrel Railway project. The branch line and main line couldn’t be more different. It’s a pleasure to be able to recreate an entirely new experience.”

Travelling Post Office drops

On both the Saturday & Sunday, we'll be running three special Travelling Post Office (TPO) trains.

“Blink ... and you will miss it!”

It is an experience and spectacle that can only be truly demonstrated at the Great Central Railway with its double track and main line atmosphere. Here at the GCR we are home to what is probably the finest collection of Travelling Post Office coaches not just in the UK but anywhere in the world. The rake of Mark 1 TPO coaches that perform the exchange of mail at Quorn & Woodhouse have been carefully restored by a group of volunteers from Railway Vehicle Preservations, who also re-enact the exchanges for the benefit of everyone.

Please ensure that you are at Quorn & Woodhouse in good time to see the exchange as the gates from the platform will be locked before the mail train departs from Loughborough. This will enable you to witness the mail crew placing the mailbags on the lineside equipment and opening the net equipment that will collect the mailbags from the mail train. Please feel free to ask them any questions, they are a knowledgeable team on all matters relating to the operation of these trains.

Once you have experienced the exchange of mail at Quorn & Woodhouse you will need to visit the unique and historic London & North Eastern TPO coach that is open for inspection by the “Tin Shed”. This vehicle was built at York in 1937 and appeared in the 2016 BBC2 documentary “Full Steam Ahead”. Inside you will be able to take a look at how these coaches were built to sort mail, they look nothing like any other railway carriage that you have ever been in. Imagine how the mail used to be sorted on the move, even have a go at sorting yourself. Just remember that sorting staff had to be able to accurately sort 300 letters over a 12 minute period but for staff on the TPO it was 380 over the same period and whilst the train was moving! Volunteers from the TPO team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

While inside, imagine being on board the “Night Mail” and sorting the mail during the night, while the rest of the country was sleeping, so that the mail would drop through the letterbox first thing in the morning before breakfast. Talking of breakfast, don’t forget the famous GCR “all day” breakfast available on the griddle car.

Our next running day

This Wednesday
One steam locomotive and our Diesel Railcar in action this Wednesday.

Locomotive roster to be announced.

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