Great Central Railway June 15th 2011

With just over one hour’s journey, we arrived at Loughborough with time to spare for a cup of tea in the buffet, before the first train of the day at 11-00.

 After a refreshing cup of tea, a wander around the platform before boarding the train.

Sitting in platform 1 was the luxury rake of Pullman carriages, used for special occasions.

The steam locomotive in service on the day was the ex GNR 0-6-2 class N2,  No. 1744.

This monstrous tank engine, now owned by the Gresley Society, came off shed and backed onto the train, ready for the signal to depart.

With 159 passengers, including a party of school children, the seven carriage train left for Leicester North just after 11-00 am. The first stop was at Quorn and Woodhouse station, where contractors were extremely busy excavating a large circular hole to house a turntable, to enable locomotives, and rolling stock, to be turned around.

Also at Quorn and Woodhouse a Class 37 locomotive (in need of a coat of paint) was engaged in a shunting operation.

Leaving Quorn and Woodhouse, the train passes over two viaducts, as it crosses the large expanse of water, known as Swithland reservoir.

The next station along the route was Rothley, another busy station, which houses the carriage workshops, along with a G scale garden railway layout.

A large number of various style carriages, including some older teak ones, were parked in the sidings, awaiting their turn in the restoration programme.

Thirty minutes after leaving Loughborough, we arrived in Leicester North station. which is currently the end of the line.

After the N2 ran round, we left on the return journey, and arrived back in Loughborough at 12-15, where we had lunch in the buffet, followed by another train ride on the 1-00 0’clock. After this second trip we had a walk down to engine sheds and workshops, and passed the fireman from the engine,changing the lamps ready to take out the 3-00 train.

On display was a newly painted set of Royal Mail carriages.

In the sidings was a line up of diesel traction units.

As we walked along the path by the track, a diesel 08 shunting locomotive was moving the standard 2 loco 78019 into the shed area.

Outside the main building was GWR loco No 4953 Pitchford Hall, alongside LMS Stanier 8F No 8624.

Venturing into the workshop area of the engine house, we saw the Ivatt 2MT 46521 under major restoration.

With the running gear complete, and cab painted in red oxide primer, the team of fitters are eagerly waiting for the return of the boiler from Crewe, before getting their teeth back into the heavy side of restoration. In the workshop, on the day of our visit, a few engineers were seen working on the variety of locomotives based at this Leicester Heritage Site.

A return walk to the platform took us past the signal box.

The Standard 2, 78019 was now parked up outside the main shed ready for duty when called for.

As we left Loughborough, after an enjoyable day amongst a team of friendly people, the N2 departed with the 3-00 o’clock to Leicester North.

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