Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust stand at GCR 50th Anniversary Gala


17th June 2023 - 18th June 2023    
10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Great Central Railway
Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Forest Road, Quorn, LE12 8AG

The Great Central Railway (GCR) is celebrating 50 years of preservation.

The former Great Central Railway was closed in 1969 by British Rail. Efforts to reopen the line began immediately with a band of volunteers campaigning to get access to the line.

In 1973, the first trains ran only two miles between Loughborough and Quorn and Woodhouse station. They were hauled by a locomotive from Norwegian State Railways and featured an old wooden carriage.

Since then the operation has grown with trains running to Rothley station and then a new platform at Leicester North. A second line was laid to create a double track railway with heritage signalling. Nowadays carefully restored steam and diesel locomotives run passenger and demonstration freight trains, bringing visitors from all over the world to Leicestershire.

The railway is now operated as a not for profit PLC, with shareholders investing in the line in return for a say in how it’s run. It’s also supported by members of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line and the David Clarke Railway Trust.

The Great Central Railway will clock up a special milestone in June 2023. It’s fifty years since volunteers were able to return steam trains to the award winning heritage line.

Over this special gala weekend, the railway will welcome visitors to celebrate the anniversary and look to the future. On the Saturday, the largest locomotive on the line, a member of the powerful 9F class which dates from the 1950s, will have the honour of pulling a train made up of fifty freight wagons, something the GCR has never attempted before.

Steam and diesel locomotives will be in action hauling passenger trains. On Sunday trains will also run on the Mountsorrel Branch Line. There will be other attractions at the line’s stations, including a photo display and heritage vehicles will be open to view. Tours of the locomotive shed at Loughborough will take visitors behind the scenes.

For further information, to download gala timetables, or to buy tickets for the event, please visit

The GCR and 61264 go back many years; it is where 61264 was restored and first returned to steam in 1997.

To celebrate this long history, the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust will have a stand at Quorn station where you can come and meet us to find out how to get involved and support us in our mission to have 61264 restored to traffic in time for her 80th birthday in 2027.