• John Oyston

Great Central Railway from Loughborough to Leicester

The Great Central Railway runs for just over 7 miles through the beautiful Leicestershire countryside, from Loughborough to just north of Leicester. Steam and diesel hauled services operate on this section of the former mainline from Manchester London Road and Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone.


The service starts from Loughborough and runs to Leicester North, calling at Quorn & Woodhouse and Rothley. In between Quorn and Rothley the line takes the Swithland Viaduct, across the Swithland Reservoir.


Loughborough Station Photo John Oyston
Loughborough Station Photo John Oyston

Visit Wartime Quorn and Edwardian Rothley Stations Each of the stations on the line has its own unique style and reflects a different era in the railway’s history.


The terminus at Loughborough is designed in 1950’s style with a period style WH Smith’s kiosk, emporium, museum and gift shop. Passengers can also take a short walk to the locomotive shed to see various steam and diesel engines being stored, or restored.


The next stop, Quorn & Woodhouse, shows 1940’s life in wartime Britain. The station displays a wide range of 1940’s posters and the waiting rooms, and booking office, are furnished in period style. At the end of the platform, the tearoom in a recreation of a wartime station buffet, complete with an old wireless and newspapers from the war. Prices are quoted in old pence, but payment is accepted in new money, with an appropriate exchange rate.


Quorn and Woodhouse Station Photo John Oyston
Quorn and Woodhouse Station Photo John Oyston

Rothley station reflects Edwardian era, at the start of the 20th century, with gas lit platforms helping to recreate the glamour and style of this bygone age. Across the car park, from the station platforms, and old coal and corn store has been converted to Ellis’s Tea Rooms.


The end of the line is Leicester North which, unlike the other stations on the line, has been built by the Great Central Railway Company from scratch. The style is 1960’s and the National Space & Science Centre is about a 20 minute walk from the station.


Dine on the Train on Saturdays and Sundays A restaurant car runs on trains on Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes and Saturday evenings, an inclusive ticket includes first class train travel and a three course meal. Advance booking for these trains is essential. Wheelchair users can dine on the train, providing they can transfer from the wheelchair to a seat once on board; notify the railway when booking to ensure a seat near the door.


Trains run every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year and on selected midweek dates in periods of high demand (usually school holidays). An ‘All Line Day Runabout’ ticket currently costs £18, and gives unlimited travel for a day; though premium prices may apply for special events.


Special Events Include Wartime Weekend and Beer Festival


The railway has a regular and varied program of special events. The line is the only double track mainline preserved railway in Britain. This gives it the capacity to run extra trains on event days. Special events planned for the rest of 2021 include: Beer Festival (July 22 to 25) , Wartime Weekend (September 10 to 12) and a Autumn Steam Gala (September 30 to October 3) .


1940’s Weekend Photo John Oyston
1940’s Weekend Photo John Oyston

Getting to The Great Central Railway


By Rail


The nearest mainline stations are Loughborough and Leicester. It is a 20 minute walk between the stations in Loughborough. From Leicester the number 25 bus runs every 15 minutes from Haymarket Bus Station (Bus number 26 on the return journey).


By Car


Parking is not easy at Loughborough or Leicester North. The railway recommends that drivers park at either Quorn or Rothley stations. Both are just a short distance from the main A6 road and are well signposted.


Great Central Railway , Great Central Station,Loughborough, LE11 1RW. 01509 230726


#Leicester #Loughborough #Railways


All information was correct at the time of writing, but we urge you check current opening times and prices before travelling.

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