Company Directors


Michael Gough – Managing Director

Michael, born in Morecambe in Lancashire, moved to Leicestershire in 1976 to attend Leicester University.

His first board opportunity came at the age of 30 and has spent the last 32 years in senior board positions for a number of engineering-based companies at Managing Director and Commercial Director levels, featuring extensive periods in the Oil & Gas, Heavy Lifting Equipment and Engineer’s Tooling industries.

He joined the Great Central as Managing Director in 2017 with a brief to underpin the Railway’s unique and valuable heritage with a sound commercial foundation and thus protect its longevity.

He has held a keen interest in railways since boyhood.


Nicky Morgan - Director

The Rt Hon Baroness Morgan of Cotes – Nicky Morgan has been a supporter and GCR member for over a decade.

For a while she was effectively the Member of Parliament for the Great Central Railway and during her time in the House of Commons she helped to set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail.  In Government she served as a Minister in the Treasury as well as being Secretary of State for Education and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – all very relevant departments for the GCR.

She can hear the trains from her home in Cotes and is looking forward to supporting the GCR as a Non-Executive Director and from her new role in the House of Lords.



Richard Patching - Chairman

Richard’s arrival was in Nottingham in 1952, within a few hundred yards of GCR, and a keen interest in railways developed quickly. Unsurprisingly, the opportunity was grasped in March 1969 to join the newly created group intending to preserve at least part of the GCR.

On leaving school, University College London beckoned; a mathematics degree was followed by qualification as an actuary. In career terms, this developed over some thirty years into advising large employers on the financing and governance of their pension schemes.

Early retirement created an opportunity to become involved properly with GCR, and appointment as a director came along in 2008. Having served as the Railway’s General Manager (in a volunteer capacity) since 2011, Richard stood down from this position in 2017, to be appointed as the Board’s chairman.



John Houlston - Director

John was brought up in Quorn where his parents’ house overlooked the Great Central. He saw the line run down from a busy steam operation to a truncated service between Rugby and Nottingham and final closure in 1969.

It was in 1970 that John joined Main Line Preservation Group and became an active member of Quorn and Woodhouse Action Group.

He has recently retired from a forty-year career in aviation that culminated in being a Training Captain on Boeing 747s for Virgin Atlantic.

His current role at the GCR is that of Chief Locomotive Inspector responsible for standards and training of our locomotive crews. He is also qualified to drive both our steam and diesel



Eric Smith – Director of Health and Safety

Born in Leeds in 1941 during the war.  When his Father was posted abroad soon after, his Mother and he were picked up by his two Grandmothers and taken to live in Stocksbridge, a township to the West of Sheffield.  The nearest station was Deepcar on the Manchester to Sheffield GCR.  It was here that his Father, (after his return 4 years later), cultivated his interest in railways.  Little did he know at the time he would be associated with the “London Extension” of the same railway many years later.  Whilst he used to love the steamers (especially the green ones), he was never interested in the smelly diesels that replaced them.  Neither was he pleased when the line between Sheffield and Manchester was electrified!  In spite of his interest he would be the first to admit his technical knowledge of locomotives is limited.

Eric’s wife is from Penistone, well known as a major junction on the GCR.  They met at school and both worked at the local steelworks, part of the United Steel Company where Eric served an engineering apprenticeship.

After decent results at ONC, the company decided to send Eric to one of the Colleges of Advanced Technology, which became the University of Bradford whilst he was there.  Over the next few years he picked up a couple of other degrees (one of them extra-murally whilst working for British Steel).

Eric left British Steel in 1978 to join The Boots Company in Nottingham as a Senior Electrical Engineer and retired in 2001 as Head of Engineering Services.  Looking for something to do in his retirement, he wandered into the Shed one day to enquire about volunteering and that basically was that; still here!



Ian Wilson - Director

Ian Wilson was born in Accrington Lancashire.  He grew up, listening in bed to the sound of steam locomotives hauling trains up the notorious Baxenden Bank, he often was punished for being late to school due to looking over the shed wall at Accrington Shed (24A).
He moved to Leicester to continue his education, just in time to miss the end of the GCR in action.  He worked as a teacher of Physics and Drama and rose to the position of Deputy Head.  His responsibilities included timetabling and Safeguarding.On retirement he exchanged armchair support for the GCR for an active role.  Initially working as a member of the Volunteer Support Team, he later was asked also to lead the Education Team with the objective of further developing links with schools and colleges.
He also serves on the Membership Training and Education Advisory Committee (MTAC) of the HRA.



David Morgan – Director

David Morgan MBE TD - David was educated at Winchester College before entering the Royal Artillery Company, subsequently transferring as a volunteer to the Army’s transport/ logistical arm.

Meantime, David’s professional career was established following qualification in 1969 as a solicitor. His specialties were company and employment law, together with professional ethics, prior to retirement in 2013.

His interests in heritage railways were established firmly in 1967 as a volunteer in the newly formed group which grew into the current North Norfolk Railway; 1969 saw his appointment there as a director, with the position of chairman following four years later. A directorship of one of the predecessors of today’s Heritage Railway Association came in 1974, with David subsequently becoming its chairman for many years (besides associated roles with heritage railways internationally).

Many years of service at Great Central Railway began with appointment as a director in 1993, and included over ten years as chairman up to 2017



Clive Baines - Director

Born, bred and educated in Birmingham, Clive ran his own engineering company for 39 years before selling it to a management buy-out.

His involvement at GCR dates back more than 35 years and he has provided significant financial assistance to a number of projects at GCR

He also provides assistance to a number of other heritage concerns, not always railway.

He joined DCRT as a trustee in 2009 and the GCR plc board as a director in 2017



Mahmood Reza - Director

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