Less-able access to the Great Central Railway

The GCR welcomes everybody to our heritage experience, and we are striving to make your visit as pleasant and memorable as possible, especially for our less-able visitors who deserve equal access.

Please note that by their very nature, heritage stations and vehicles were built in less enlightened times where access was not designed for less-able people, but we are making strenuous efforts to rectify this, so in the interim, restrictions still apply. For this reason, we detail this summary to assist you in getting the best of access to our stations and trains.

In any cases of doubt, please ring our Loughborough Booking Office on 01509 632323 and they will be pleased to assist.

Parking your car

Parking exists at all our stations. There are dropped kerbs at Leicester North, whilst there is level kerb-free access at Quorn and Rothley. There are designated disabled parking spaces at Quorn and Rothley stations, and it is hoped to add more at Leicester North, plus Greenacres.  Loughborough has just two disabled parking bays; regrettably the Highways Authority has placed these bays adjacent to dropped kerbs, effectively blocking the latter.  At Lovatt House in Loughborough, disabled parking exists to the side of the building, but prior arrangement may be necessary to gain access, particularly as there are no double-yellow lines protecting the entrance. From there, access is via a ramp at the rear of the building.

From the car to the station

From the parking areas, there is paved and level wheelchair-friendly access to the platforms at Leicester North and Rothley. Quorn has gravelled access from the carpark so wheelchair users may need an assistant, and this will be upgraded to a paved access soon. The platform ramps at Quorn and Rothley are a bit steeper than modern ramps so assistance by a friend or carer may be necessary. At Loughborough there is a lift from street level to the platforms.

There are stairs from street to the platforms at Loughborough, Quorn and Rothley, and these are not suitable for wheelchair use. Note! The wooden attachment at the side of the stairs at Loughborough is NOT a ramp, as it is far too steep, and is a preserved relic of the facility to get mail bags and bicycles down to the platform.

Getting on the train

All stations and trains carry portable ramps for safe access by wheelchair. Note that at off-peak times Quorn, Rothley and Leicester North stations may be unmanned, so assistance should be sought from the train staff.

Some trains have specific less-able accommodation, but not all. It is advised that a call to the booking office should be made to enquire which train carries this facility. We are working hard to provide further less-able coaches. Ambulant disabled persons should be able to access the rest of the train via ramped wheelchair access into the guards van. The design of heritage rolling stock has narrow aisles and corridors, so wheelchair access is not possible along the train.

On the stations

All stations except Leicester North have level wheelchair access into the station buildings, but we are working on this latter problem. Access can be made here by ambulant disabled persons or by wheelchair users with an assistant or carer.


Less-able toilets exist at all stations and cafes, also at Greenacres and at Lovatt House.

Apart from the specific less-able coach, there are no disabled toilet facilities on trains.

Cafes and restaurants

The Platform cafe at Greenacres (Leicester North), Ellis’s at Rothley, Butler-Henderson at Quorn and the buffet at Loughborough all have wheelchair-friendly access. Table design at each location varies, so close access to some tables may be easier at some and not at others, depending upon the type of wheelchair used, but our friendly staff will make sure you are looked after.

Note that Ellis’s at Rothley has a lift to get to floor level due to its elevated position.

Dining and Pullman trains plus Griddle and Buffet cars

It is regretted that due to the design of heritage coaches, we are unable to provide access to specific wheelchair spaces for dining or snacking passengers. For ambulant disabled persons, wheelchair or other access can be achieved via a ramp into the guard’s van, and then along the corridor. You are strongly advised to talk to the Loughborough booking office on 01509 632323 at the time of making reservations. Note that in any case a turn-up-and-go facility does not exist for dining or Pullman trains, and pre-booking is necessary.

Other attractions

The loco shed – Due to the nature of the processes carried out in this building plus the layout of workshop facilities, the shed is not normally open to the general public for safety reasons as it is a working area, except by prior arrangement – please speak to the Booking Office at Lougborough. The shed is not particularly wheelchair-friendly because of narrow aisles and a very oily floor, and the presence of pits and locomotive parts all around. However, prior arrangement will allow wheelchair access inside the door and part way along the shed, providing an assistant or carer accompanies you, but your wheels will get oily! Access to the shed is gained from a signposted path leading from Loughborough Central station. This path is ash-surfaced and wheelchair users will need an assistant or carer with them to traverse this section.

Signalboxes – being operational areas, there is no public access to these, and the steam-age staircases are definitely not wheelchair-friendly!

The Emporium, shop and Museum facilities at Loughborough – Both of these have level access suitable for wheelchairs, although the Emporium is very compact and wheelchair access all round the displays may be difficult. However, our friendly staff will be pleased to assist.

The turntable and mail-drop areas at Quorn

Until the pavement improvements take place here, there is no direct or smooth access to these attractions, although powered chairs may be able to access. Access to within the locality of the turntable can be gained by following the ‘military road’ which is the road on the left as you enter the station yard and where the general parking is located.  The use of a carer or assistant is considered necessary to get to these attractions

Swithland sidings

This an operational area not accessible to the public.

The Mountsorrel branch

Much development work is taking place here, with future plans for less-able access via wheelchair-friendly paths to many nature trails and other attractions such as a heritage centre. More news will be published as these become available.

The Carriage and Wagon works, Rothley

Public access is normally not permitted, except at Open days at Galas, as this is a working area. However, aisles are narrow with machinery or specialised tools present.

Group visits

We shall be happy to accommodate parties of less-able visitors, but advance notice will be necessary to arrange parking, access and the necessary rolling stock. Please ring the Loughborough booking office who will be pleased to initiate the necessary arrangements.

The hard of hearing

Whilst the above deals mainly with less-able access to the GCR’s facilities, we should add that there are induction loops at all our booking office windows.


Please take care when on or around our stations. The platform edge is picked out in a white line. However, being Listed heritage structures, the current measures to differentiate doors and floors in modern buildings, may not be present in our stations. Station staff will be happy to assist if needed.

On our website, please click on the ‘view’ tab, then on ‘zoom’ to enlarge the page/typescript.

In any case of query or difficulty, please enquire at, or telephone the Loughborough booking office – 01509 632323. If at a station, the staff will be happy to assist. If on a train, please speak to the Guard or the Travelling Ticket Inspector. We want to assist in any way we can to make your visit enjoyable.

Wheelchair access

As powered scooters are designed for the about-town environment and come in different shapes and sizes, many of them are unsuitable for train travel.

Three-wheeled scooters can generally be accepted into luggage areas of brake vans provided they fall within the following size dimensions and are a maximum length of 1000mm and width of 700mm and:
- have a maximum speed of 4mph
- do not exceed 200kg when carrying the user
- have a free-wheeling facility for use in case of power failure
- have sealed batteries.
- be able to negotiate gradients of up to 30 degrees

Wheelchairs can be carried, in the designated spaces, on most of our trains so long as they fit within the following dimensions:

  • length 1200mm
  • width 700mm
  • weight (including passenger) 200kg

Our next running day

This weekend

One steam locomotive and our Diesel Railcar are in action this weekend 22nd and 23rd January 2022.

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