|Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society|
Great Central Railway DMU
Locomotive and coach 1 GCR
Locomotive and coach 2 GCR
Locomotive and coach 3 GCR
29 participants boarded a Bullocks coach to head for the Great Central Railway’s autumn steam gala on Saturday 5th October last year. The trip also provided an opportunity to visit the King Richard III museum in Leicester but only 4 people took advantage of that. We last visited the GCR autumn steam gala in 2007 and the 2019 version certainly lived up to its reputation of being one of the country’s leading steam galas. Many of the line’s resident fleet of steam locomotives were in action including Jinty 0-6-0 47406, Ivatt class 2 2-6-0 46521, standard class 2 2-6-0 78018, 9F 2-10-0 92214, 8F 2-8-0 48305, Hall 4-6-0 6990 Witherslack Hall and Standard class 5 4-6-0 73156 (featured recently on the Yesterday TV channel). The stars of the show were the two visiting Southern engines: ex-London & South Western Railway T9 4-4-0 no. 30120 from the Swanage Railway and Schools class 4-4-0 no. 926 Repton from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The Great Central Railway’s double track line (between Loughborough and Rothley) enabled an intensive passenger train service to operate and there were also demonstration freight trains and Travelling Post Office trains which exchanged mailbags at speed just south of Quorn & Woodhouse station. The railway’s heritage DMU also provided a service in between the steam-hauled trains in a recreation of how things were in the 1960s. I personally found this particularly nostalgic. It is a shame that modern trains do not provide such good all-round views! It was possible to view locomotives on the shed “apron” at Loughborough Central and one of the train sets in use featured a griddle car.
The Great Central Railway is nearly eight miles long and is unique in providing the “feel” of a main line in steam days. Once the 550 yards of line north of Loughborough Central linking up with the Great Central Railway (North) is completed in a few years’ time, the combined line will be 18 miles long. A new bridge over the Midland main line was installed between 2017 and 2019 and the bridge over the Grand Union canal is currently being refurbished.
Those who went on the trip thoroughly enjoyed it and several people said that the gala far exceeded their expectations. We hope that more of you may decide to come on our next coach trip!
We have not yet decided the destination of the next Society coach trip but it may run to the Llangollen Railway (to view the new station at Corwen) in 2021.
Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society
Registered Charity (No. 1093098)
© April 2020