GCR IN PRESERVATION
1999 summary , Jan. - April
May - July Aug. - Dec.
1998 summary Jan. - April
May - Sept. Oct. - Dec.
1997 Summary Jan. - June
July - Dec.
Graham Oliver was appointed full time Chief Executive and Richard Lovett as full
time accountant. Double track reached Quorn from Swithland in December. Bracket
signals were installed at Swithland and Loughborough. The diesle gala stared visiting
D7659 and D4. 31418 arrived on the line, and D9019 daparted. Kolhapur was
repainted in BR green livery. 48305 entered service, and 34101 departed. 6990
appeared on test runs in December. 30777 returned to the line in October. Other
visitors included 4422, 45596, Yvonne and 47279. 52322 also visited with
some historic carriages for the filming of "Secret Agent". Five Class
20/3 engines were tested on the line. The N2 went on holiday for the summer, and
Hilda moved to new home. The Windcutter project won an ARPS commendation,
and the railway won a certificate of excellence in the Ian Allan Railway Heritage
Awards. Ruddington depot reconnected to main line, and passenger services commenced
to 50 steps bridge.
Main Line wins Steam Railway shield for second year running in ARPS magazine competition
- Nicola Holley becomes Editor. Michael Draper appointed Finance Controller. Swithland
ground frame commissioned, No 44767 George Stephenson arrives followed on 3rd
February by Robert Nelson No. 4 arriving from Gloucester & Warwickshire Railway
for three weeks to launch 25th anniversary celebrations. Double track extended
from north end of Swithland viaduct to near Kinchley Lane in March. First diesel
only Gala on Friday 25th March with some steam on 26/ 27th proves a success. D5401
and D7018 visited. 'N2' re-enters traffic after overhaul. Nine day Thomas' event
held - rebuilt Austerity as No. 1 Thomas and SR Class 'N' No. 31874 as No. 5 James
loaned from Mid-Hants Railway - 'Troublesome Trucks' staged at Quorn - the first
time the Down loop at Quorn had been used for running. 25th Anniversary Gala on
4/5th June - No. 5593 repainted in black and silver as No. 5552 Silver Jubilee.
25th Anniversary Dinner at Loughborough University on 25th June. The County Council
replaced the A6 road bridge. July - GC(N) alters its name to Great Central Railway
(Nottingham) Ltd. No. 46229 Duchess of Hamilton visited in August for running-in.
No. 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley spent most of the year on the railway. 7029 was replaced
by 5080 in October. 34101 Hartland entered service, and 30777 Sir Lamiel
made a Christmas visiting a film set in Birmingham built from track belonging
to the GCR(N). 60019 and 5553 both arrive for overhauls.
Main Line wins both ARPS magazine and publications competitions. Line closed south
of Rothley from 4th January - 23rd March by DoT for building of A46 Leicester
Western By-pass bridge. Bus service provided between Rothley and Leicester North.
Planet - reproduction from Manchester Museum at Science and Industry arrives for
trials on 12th February. 8th-26th March, Trackwork start on Phase 2 of double
track ballast laid from Rothley to Quorn, track laid from Rothley to south end
of Swithland Viaduct. Full services resume to Leicester North on 3rd April. '10.30
Limited' introduced 4th April running non-stop Loughborough-Leicester. Bridge
over Rothley Brook in poor condition 15 mph speed limit imposed and emergency
repairs undertaken. GC(N) recover track from old Ruddington station site, following
support from David Clarke - levels at Heritage Centre altered by Nottinghamshire
County Council. Track from Ruddington to Rushcliffe Hall (2.5 miles) bought by
Nottinghamshire County Council, Rushcliffe Borough Council and GC(N) for £77,500
- MLST provide £10,000 grant to GC(N) towards purchase. Shadowlands filmed
at Loughborough 4-6th May - station painted brown & cream and dirtied with
No. 7029 and No. 45231. Official opening of extended Museum an 10th June Museum
wins commendation from Leicester Heritage. Patrick Whitehouse deputises for Graham
Oliver at Museum opening - which turns our to be his last engagement as he dies
suddenly on 17th June his ashes are placed in the firebox of Clun Castle near
Swithland. Rothley stage two signalling commissioned on 18th July. Cafe and shop
at GC(N) Ruddington opened to public - first steam weekend track laying starts
from the centre to Asher Lane. New pit in No 1 road at Loughborough shed built.
Formal opening of Nottingham Heritage Centre at Ruddington on 10th September -
No. 5593 is star attraction. No. 6998 Burton Agnes Hall arrives 28th September
- next day No. 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley arrives. Memorial service for Bruce Lovatt
at GCR on 13th November. Christmas Day Dinner train runs for third consecutive
year with extra train in afternoon - free travel for all neighbouring property
Trial running with No. 7029. Second pair of hydraulic buffers delivered. Winter
Steam Gala on 22/23rd February - seven locomotives in steam including No. 506
in black as No. 62660 - most successful event ever nearly 10,000 visitors and
over £30,000 taken. Farewell to Butler-Henderson on 24th February. No. 506
repainted in GCR green on exhibition on 3rd April at Loughborough before going
to NRM York on April 12th. Stage One Rothley signalling commissioned on 28th March.
April: 'Windcutter' appeal launched by Steam Railway - £14,500 raised in
three weeks. Top of Swithland box craned onto base on April 15th. Loughborough
Refreshment Room re-opened after refurbishment. Daily running and griddle car
service starts for first time on 7th May. First four wagons arrive ex-NCB Onllwyn
for 'Windcutter' arrive in August; by October 28th wagons bought first run with
No. 5224 on 7th November. 25th September No. 60532 Blue Peter arrives. No. 34039
Boscastle moves 20 yards under own steam for first time since 1965 on 7th November.
GCR Share issue launched 12th November with Leicester-Marylebone charter train.
Sections are steam hauled with No. 46203 Princes Margaret Rose (Derby-Dorridge)
and No. 6024 King Edward I (Didcot-Dorridge). No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester on
display at Marylebone where issue is launched by Sir Richard Marsh - by end of
year £198,000 is subscribed. Bruce Lovatt dies on 17th November after a long
illness. No. 34039 returns to traffic 21st November. GCR presented with Independent
Railway of the Year award by HRH the Duke of Gloucester on 24th November, Ian
Allan unveils plaque at Loughborough on 12th December. No. 4472 arrives 7th December.
Christmas Day Dinner train runs again - was fully booked by April. Post Christmas
Gala with No. 4472 as star attraction is very successful. GC(N) ceases activities
at Rushcliffe Halt, concentrating its efforts at Ruddington.
No. 13180 arrives from Swindon & Cricklade Railway - road transporter used
to turn No. 7760 to face north. No. 5029 Nunney Castle arrives from Didcot for
1,000 miles of running in on 24th January. David Taylor becomes MLST Chairman.
Mel Holley becomes sole Editor of Main Line. GCR announces five year plan. Considerable
publicity on television through No. 5029. No. 34101 Hartland arrives on 18th March.
Work starts at Rothley on signalling 31st March. First draw of MLST's 800 Club
in April. Construction of station platforms at Leicester North site starts 3rd
April - 'cutting of first sod' by Leicester's Lord Mayor and Mayor of Charnwood
on April 25th. Hydraulic buffers from Marylebone brought to Quorn on 27th April,
Official inspection of Leicester North on 24th June. Trial running starts on July
2nd. Rocket works special trains from Loughborough to Rothley for media on July
4th. Official opening of Leicester North on 5th July by Rt. Hon Michael Heseltine
presents cheque for £110,000 from City Action Team to stations costs and
Leicester City Council present cheque for £100,000. Rocket and No. 35005
perform at opening ceremony - Thomas Cook 150th birthday celebrations also held.
Steam fair at Rothley. By 16th July all trains working through to Leicester North.
25th July, No. 30926 Repton arrives from NYMR - works first train on 31st July.
No. 7029 Clun Castle arrives August 29th on loan from Birmingham Railway Museum.
Ex-Aylesbury Swithland Box construction started 7th November. Phase one of double
track started on 25th November - Up loop and Down main at Swithland plus pointwork
laid by 11th January 1992. For the first time on a preserved railway, Christmas
Dinner special train on 25th December.
GCR management restructure in January. Plans announced for Leicester North Station,
double tracking and Swithland scheme. Line between Leicester North and Rothley
tamped in March. Rothley box manned for first time on 1st April. No. 68009 to
Tyseley and No. 7760 received from Tyseley on 23rd June. No. 68088 at East Leake
for open day on 16th July. Rothley - Leicester North line inspected by Major Olver
and passed for traffic. Main Line wins second place in ARPS magazine contest.
David Clarke presents £75,000 the first of four annual payments in support
of Swithland/double track scheme. October/November trial running of Nos. 5593
and 35005. Neasdon South Junction box removed to Quorn on 3rd November. Official
opening of Birstall extension by Dame Margaret Weston of the Science Museum, President
of ARPS on 15th November. Special train with No. 506 to Rothley and No. 7760 on
push/pull to Birstall site. GC(N) formed limited access to buildings at Ruddington
- efforts concentrated at Rushcliffe - Landscaping of Country Park at Ruddington
completed and Heritage Centre fenced off.
Rothley South Ground Frame installed in January. Robert Nelson No. 4 goes to Toddington
on 13th February. No. 6106 GWR 2-6-2T arrives on loan en route from Haworth to
Didcot on 5th March. Changes to GCR and MLST Boards - Graham Oliver becomes Chairman
GCR and David Pladgeman Chairman MLST. No. 5080 arrives from Tyseley on 12th May.
Questionnaire issued to all members-overwhelming response. GWR gala 21/22nd May
with Nos. 6106, 5080, 6990, 5224. Bill Squires, official photographer, killed
in car accident in USA 23rd July. Peter Gibson, MLST secretary, killed in car
accident 8th October. No. 5593 Kolhapur arrives at Quorn 12th October. First 'Night
Steam' event held in November. 'N2' No. 69523 taken out of traffic for overhaul.
Workshop and store under the bridge at Loughborough completed by MLST. MLST Nottingham
Group form the 'Northern Development Association' to move the Ruddington extension
'up a gear'. MLST members recover materials from redundant buildings at Ruddington,
prior to demolition. Stock arrives at Rushcliffe Halt.
MLST AGM and special train for members on 30th January over 1.5 miles of Birstall
extension. New crossing for path to loco shed at Loughborough opened on 20th February.
Track relaying at Swithland - shuttle to Quorn only on 27th February. Vintage
bus service introduced from 2nd April between Loughborough Midland and Central
stations. Track laid to Birstall platform. GCR board re-organised - Lionel Blower
becoming chairman of both GCR and MLST Boards. Mel Holley and John Gosling take
over as joint Editors of Main Line. No. 68009 becomes first steam locomotive to
Birstall. Wrexham Central box bought and delivered to Quorn. 'Deltic' No. D9019
arrives 16th October. 'Santa Specials' from 26th November very busy - 12,344 passengers
ARPS premier award for best preservation scheme awarded to Duke of Gloucester
Trust for restoration of No. 71000. Over £150,000 raised for Birstall extension
by February, New down siding installed at Loughborough and all signalling alterations
completed by 4th May. No. 71000 leaves for Crewe on 27th June. Robert Nelson No.
4 used at British Gypsum Open Day - Rushcliffe. DMU operates over first mile of
Birstall extension for working members only on 22nd August. Repeated on 23rd August
and 2nd and 5th September. No. 68088 to Ratcliffe power station open days. D306
used for great train robbery film Buster at Swithland - night shoots on 26-29th
October. Pre-booking 'Santa Specials' start on 20th November - all December trains
No. 35025 arrives in February at Quorn. Diesel days first Saturday every month
from April to November. Trial running of No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester and 6990
Witherslack Hall. Formal Launch of No. 6990 on 8th October. No. 71000 in service
15/16th November. MLST launches appeal for funds for Northern Extension in May
- by year end over £8,000 raised. MLST board reconstituted in June, now separate
from GCR board, to concentrate on membership aspects. 'TRANSP0 86' at Quorn in
September, 9 steam and 6 diesels in procession.
Work starts on laying Quorn loop - north point installed on 19th January. GCR
Management Committee appointed - starts work in February. Southern extension proposed
with costs estimated at £200,000. No. 5224 goes to Didcot for GWR 150 celebrations.
New Guide to GC published. Official start of Birstall extension inaugurated by
HRH the Duke of Gloucester 8th July. Four track panels laid at Rothley - MSC scheme
for ground clearance etc. Charnwood Borough makes £88,000 contribution to
extension. Stage 3 Loughborough signalling inaugurated 3rd May. B.R. agrees in
principle to allow single span bridge to cross Midland main line. Landing stage
proposed on Grand Union Canal.
Bruce Lovatt becomes Chairman of GCR. Graham Handley ceases to be General Manager
from January 1st. Mayflower leaves on loan to Tyseley in June. Additional motive
power arrives in May - No. 40106 and 3-car DMU. D3101 arrives on the line in November
and D9529 comes from the NYMR to provide spares for existing Cl. 14s. Coal strike
affects services - only small locomotives used, with diesels for lightly loaded
trains. Charnwood Borough Council initiates study to turn down trackbed into a
footpath. Last BR train to Ruddington 'Ruddington Requiem' on 9th June. No. 5224
first steamed on 14th October having been restored from Barry condition in under
six years. 'J94' No. 25 arrives 22nd December from Kent & East Sussex and
is in steam hauling trains in 5 hours.
Proposal mooted for public footpath on empty portion of trackbed next to running
line. Fund raising scheme started for Quorn loop - estimated cost £25,000.
Parapet of Great Central Road bridge opposite Loughborough station hit by a lorry
causing substantial damage. Road/Rail/Steam exhibition at Quorn over Easter a
great success; an intensive timetable trains every 50 minutes between Loughborough
and Rothley plus two shuttles to Quorn only. MLST's carriage for disabled passengers
launched on 29th June. Shine on Harvey Moon filmed at Loughborough.
No. 506 has successful tests teaming on 25th March. No. 7957 arrives on 10th May.
Dennis Wilcock takes over the editor's chair. Stirling Single No. 1 continues
to work trains - it returns to NRM on October 5th. First demonstration run of
the Mail set on 8th May.
Overdraft hits £60,000 - "A very tight corner", but traffic figures
improve during the year. Littleton No. 5 is sold to Bristol Suburban Railway.
King Haakon 7 leaves for Bressingham on 21 at April. Work starts on overhauling
No. 506 to working order. 'Austerity J94' arrives on 10th November. Stirling Single
No. 1 arrives. There is a special weekend for first public steaming on 5/6th December.
The Railway's financial position deteriorates and only one edition of Main Line
is published. An advert for a general Manager appears in take railway press. Marston
Thompson and Evershed No. 3 which last worked in 1973 is dismantled for overhaul.
Graham Handley appointed General Manager.
No. 39, rebuilt as 0-6-0 side tank used on freight on 1st January. No. 1306 first
steamed on 12th May, Four Mark 1s purchased from Nene Valley Railway. No. 92212
arrives on 29th September from Barry. Barnum coach purchased from Severn Valley
Railway and arrives on 11th October. QWAG loaned to British Leyland at Wellingborough.
Eight railtours were planned for 1980.
Services resumed to Quorn on 18th March and Rothley on 22nd April. Loughborough
and Birstall Light Railway Order 1 978 is effective from 3rd April the Company
can operate independently of BR. 'N2' enters service on 16th April. Fifth Anniversary
of MLST railtours a large and ambitious programme starts to run down as BR makes
arrangements more difficult. Second 'B1' No. 1306 Mayflower arrives 13th June
from Steamtown, Carnforth. No. 5224 arrives ex - Woodhams, Barry on 2nd November.
Quorn to Rothley section purchased for £71,000. A short term bank loan of
£45,000 and other loans of £220,000 taken out to cover the cost. Charnwood
Borough Council purchases the land between Loughborough and Birstall. GCR starts
first regular full meal service on trains - a preservation first. Belgrave &
Birstall Station buildings in an extremely perilous state and are demolished on
18th/19th June by the Railway's volunteers. HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits
GCR on 13th July. In the autumn, No. 39 converted into a side tank. Train services
suspended from 6th November whilst under bridge No. 344 north of Quorn is rebuilt
by volunteers and Rothley run - round loop laid. Limited service to Rothley from
17th December to 1st January 1978.
Regular services recommence on 3rd January. Decision taken to form a public company
and launch a share issue to purchase the line. BR extends their deadline to 1st
July. GCR Company (1976) Ltd is incorporated. The race against time starts. 'Black
5' No. 5231 is named 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion The Worcestershire & Sherwood
Foresters Regiment on 9th May. Thirteen trains per day are operated at weekends
all year round. GCR purchases single track from Loughborough to Quorn for £107,568.
BR agrees to leave single track between Rothley and Quorn in situ till 31st December.
Trains can continue to run to Rothley provided that GCR pays 'interest' of £21,100
per month, The section south of Rothley is abandoned. The other single line from
Quorn to Loughborough is lifted and services suspended whilst work is carried
out, Thompson 'B1' No. 1264 arrives from Barry on 21st July. Blowback on King
Haakon 7 occurs at Woodthorpe on 7th March. Bill Ford becomes GCR Chairman. Loughborough
south points installed on 10th October.
Butler-Henderson arrives on 14th March from Clapham Museum and is unloaded the
next day. The run round is installed at Quorn. Track value is reassessed by BR
Property Board and the figure is doubled to £279,000. The track retention
charge is increased to £3,300 for Loughborough to Belgrave & Birstall
section. A special service of trains is run between Loughborough and Rothley on
6th September. 'N2' No. 4744 arrives 21st November from Keighley & Worth Valley
Railway. Another new arrival this year is No. 6990 on 29th November. BR informs
MLST that track and ballast will be ripped up on 1st April, 1976 unless purchase
is agreed by then.
75th Anniversary of opening of London Extension is held on 9th March. A special
train is operated under BR dispensation on 27th March - No. 5231 fails at last
minute with detective firebox stays. Duke of Gloucester arrives on 27th April.
Regular services resume 14th July under direct British Rail supervision. King
Haakon 7 sold to new owners. No. 5231 re-enters service on 19th October.
First public open day held on 20th January. Five locomotives on site - Robert
Nelson No. 4 and No. 39 are steamed regularly. Station is open every weekend with
footplate rides. Boscastle is first steam locomotive on site arriving on 19th
January. No. 5231 arrives soon after. The first MLST railtour is on 17th June
with its destination as Wales. Track lifting continues the line is now single
from Birstall to Rothley. Sections have been singled between Rothley and Quorn.
During 13 weekends, 25,000 people visit Loughborough. One of the first locomotives
to offer footplate rides is 0-4-0ST Marston Thompson & Evershed No. 3. A team
under the leadership of Lionel Blower move all the platform edging slabs at Quorn
& Woodhouse Station to provide clearance for the cylinders of imminent arrival
of King Haakon 7 Restoration of derelict signal box at Loughborough starts. The
frame from Ruddington is subsequently installed. Crossover north of Loughborough
Station is reinstated, The bridge over Midland main line is demolished and the
embankment is removed - main line connection is lost. Following special dispensation
from BR, King Haakon 7 works a special train from Loughborough to Quorn for fund
raising for lobster and clam bake on 24th June. Work starts on erection of engine
shed at Loughborough. No. 5231 returns to steam and hauls inaugural train from
Loughborough to Quorn 30th September. Operation is subsequently suspended while
application for LRO progresses from the end of November. £1,100 per month
'track retention fee' is charged by British Rail.
High cost of land in Leicester and proposed road schemes cause Abbey Lane Sidings
10 be abandoned as southern terminus. Thurcaston Road, just south of Belgrave
& Birstall Station is new southern limit. BR indicates that certain lengths
of track are required for re-laying elsewhere. One of the double track lines south
of Quorn & Woodhouse would be removed. Part of the booking office at Belgrave
& Birstall is demolished by vandals. Restoration work at Rothley and Quorn
stations underway. Station, track and land at Loughborough leased from BR by MLPG
in early December.
Main Line Steam Trust Limited incorporated on 22nd November as charitable trust
with Richard Willis as Chairman and Lord Lanesborough as President. Negotiations
to purchase Leicester Abbey Lane-Rothley section under way. Continued vandalism
at Belgrave & Birstall Station. Sponsored track walk from Abbey Lane Sidings
to Loughborough raises £5,000. Bruce Lovatt launches main appeal on 29th
October, The target is £75,000. The amount is expected to be raised in nine
Graham Oliver appointed Editor of Main Line. Loughborough station offices leased
to MLPG. Track to remain in situ north of Leicester, MLPG have until 25th March
to produce a viable proposition. Plans for use of GC trackbed near Loughborough
for by-pass shelved after considerable MLPG pressure and lobbying led by Roger
Holmes and Malcolm Law. Richard Lovatt appointed Treasurer, taking over from Roger
Holmes. Bruce Lovatt takes over as Deputy Chairman.
Main Line preservation Group formed in January with John Kirby as Chairman. Richard
Willis takes over as Chairman in March with Frank Herrick as Vice Chairman and
Stuart Smith as General Secretary. The Main Line No. I was published during the
Spring as a quarterly newsletter edited by John Kirby and printed on a Gestetner
duplicating machine. George Dow becomes 1000th member. British Rail passenger
services on GCR between Rugby and Nottingham withdrawn on 5th May. MLPG reserves
two coaches on a Flying Scotsman special train to Tyseley Open Day via Leicester
in May over 25.000 MLPG leaflets are distributed on the day. Main Line No. 2 published
in the Autumn, nominally as a replacement for a duplicated version of The Main
Line No. 2 which was printed but not distributed. The new magazine was designed
and compiled by Graham Oliver but for political reasons John Kirby's name still
appeared as Editor. MLPG places adverts in Railway World to recruit members, Fire
guts ground floor buildings at Loughborough Station on 4th November. Track lifting
between Rugby and Leicester commences.
This history of the line in preservation was written for Mainline 86, by Stanford
Jacobs, Mel and Nicola Holley with assistance from David Putt.
GCR Home Page
© Richard Drew for the Great Central