Rare access to GCR branch line for visitors this month

01 March 2023
Mountsorrel branch line opened for trains on Great Central Railway this March, while major bridge repairs take place on main route.

Visitors to the Great Central Railway this month are to be given an alternative route owing to bridge repairs. Two 125-year-old bridges are being replaced near Quorn and Woodhouse station which means the usual ‘main line’ route between Loughborough and Leicester is temporarily closed.

Instead, trains will leave Leicester North station, pausing at the Edwardian splendour of Rothley before changing tracks onto the Mountsorrel branch line and heading to Nunckley Hill visitor centre and museum.

“We’re looking forward to offering this treat to our visitors,” said Great Central Railway Chairman Richard Patching. “The contrast between the branch line and our main line is really something. The train slows right down leaving plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and relax. As our main line was built in the 1890s we need to keep investing in the railway so we continue to serve the community as a leading attraction and employer. The work will take the whole of March to complete. We’re relieved we don’t have to close entirely, so now is definitely the time to come and see us for this very rare chance to travel from Leicester to Mountsorrel!”

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The branch line to Mountsorrel leaves the Great Central main line near Swithland. It was originally built to carry trains laden with stone from the local quarry. It fell out of use in the 1950s but was relaid by volunteers as a community project. They have transformed an empty site into a visitor centre telling the story of the quarrying and railways in the area, with village stories.

The trains between Leicester and Mountsorrel will be operated by first generation diesel multiple units dating from the 1950s. A separate admission fee (£1 for adults and 50p for children) is payable to visit the Mountsorrel Heritage Centre.


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