Two heritage railways in a week! Following my visit to the Severn Valley Railway the previous weekend, on Friday I visited the Great Central Railway near Loughborough, as they were hosting their annual model railway event.
The recent trip to Severn Valley was such an excellent day out, and reminded me so much of how I used to enjoy visiting the train station or playing with my train set as a little boy. Having spotted an advert for the imminent model event at Loughborough I decided to pick up an advance ticket online for £20, which allowed me unlimited travel for the day on the heritage mainline railway plus admission to the various model exhibition marquees at the stations. An idea was forming in my mind for a suitable retirement project, now that we’ve moved to our little place in the Derbyshire countryside and I’ve retired early from a career in IT.
The focal point for the model event was Quorn & Woodhouse station, a few miles outside Loughborough and less than an hour’s drive for me. Ample parking was available in a big field next to the station for this event. My plan for the day was to travel up and down the line visiting the stations and the smaller exhibits, before returning to Quorn for the afternoon to see the main exhibition in a HUGE marquee. First service of the day was a Diesel Multiple Unit to Loughborough, less than 10 minutes away.
Loughborough station is the Northern terminus of the railway and was hosting an exhibition of larger scale models, many of which are suitable for garden railways, in a marquee at the end of the platform.
A short while later I picked up the diesel service to Rothley followed by a dash across the platform to catch a steam connection to Leicester North. Total end-to-end running time on the railway is about 30 minutes over maybe 10 miles.
Leicester North is the terminus of the line, so after watching the steam loco move to the opposite end of the train, I travelled back to Rothley station to take a proper look around.
At Rothley there was a small marquee with exhibits by various local model engineering societies.
There’s also a garden railway on permanent display at Rothley station, the G-scale Charnwood Forest (Garden) Railway. I think my wife would object if I started digging up all the flowerbeds!
The main exhibition back at Quorn & Woodhouse station was very impressive in its size. In total there were over 70 layouts on show on the day, and most of them were here. Lots of retail stalls too, and catering trailers outside next to the main line. I must have taken dozens of photos to give me some inspiration for scenic devices – here are just a handful to whet your appetite…
Thanks for reading!