Daily Archives: June 25, 2014

Some Old Lines – The Great Central Railway

Some Old Lines

Great Central Railway


QuornQuorn & Woodhouse Station

The Great Central Railway (GCR) was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 in anticipation of the opening in 1899 of its London Extension (see Great Central Main Line). On 1 January 1923, it was grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway. Today, small sections of the main line in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire are preserved; see Great Central Railway (preserved). Several other sections of GCR lines are still in public operation.

BelgraveBelgrave & Birstall Station

Nowadays the Great Central Railway (GCR) is a heritage railway in Leicestershire, named after the company that originally built this stretch of railway.
The GCR is currently Britain’s only double track mainline heritage railway, with 5.25 miles (8.45 km) of working double track, period signalling, locomotives and rolling stock. It runs for 8.25 miles (13.28 km) in total from the large market town of Loughborough to a new terminus just north of Leicester.

RothleyRothley Station

I’ve come across a few photos of old stations on the Great Central Railway.
The Great Central Railway was one of Britain’s biggest closures. The line from Sheffield to London was built at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries and designed for high speed running. It was built to the continental loading gauge as the entrepreneurs of the Great Central had ideas of building a channel tunnel and running through-trains to the centre of the country. The line was built on a grand scale and the architecture was well known.
Typical country stations were Quorn, Rothley and Belgrave & Birstall. Built as island platforms, the stations were more economical to staff and operate.

EPSON scanner imageBelgrave & Birstall Station
View southward, towards Leicester, London etc.; ex-GC Sheffield – Nottingham Leicester – London Main line (closed mainly 5/9/66). Station closed 4/3/63, but reopened by Great Central Railway as ‘Leicester North’, being southern terminus of restored line from Loughborough (Central), which reached here on 3/7/91. The photograph shows the station in the original form typical of ‘London Extension’ stations – an island platform accessed from entrance buildings on a bridge.
© Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.