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Accommodation near The Great Central Railway

What we really love about our Loughborough bed and breakfast location is the gorgeous setting and all of the amazing things there are to see and do nearby.

One place, in particular, that many of our guests like to visit is the world renowned Great Central Railway and believe it or not, our highly rated accommodation is less than a 10 minute walk away.

This historic Midlands attraction is the UK’s only double track, main line heritage railway. It has 5.25 miles (8.45 km) of working double track, period signalling, locomotives and rolling stock. The railway line runs for 8.25 miles (13.28 km) and it is the only place in the world where full size steam engines can be seen passing each other as they did many years ago.

Four stations along the route have been restored to their former glory, from the period of WWII onwards, making the Great Central Railwayexperience a fantastic step back in time for any avid historian, not to mention an exciting chance for children to experience a bygone era.

Trains run every weekend of the year, bank holidays and selected weekdays – and you can even enjoy five course meals while travelling between Loughborough and Leicester.

Not only is the experience on its own a dream come true for adults and children alike, but extra special treats put on by the Great Central Railway include the Drive a Locomotive experience, Steam Galas, Peppa Pig, Bonfire Night, 1940s Wartime Weekend and Santa Specials (especially popular over the next few weeks).

The Great Central Railway has won a number of awards including “independent railway of the year” and a gold award for the East Midlands best visitor experience.

It even has its has its own function room -a former goods office which has been beautifully restored to Victorian splendour and plays host to a wide variety of special occasions.

The heritage and history of the Great Central Railway

The Great Central Railway is thought to have originated from the amalgamation of the Sheffield, Ashton under Lyme & Manchester, the Sheffield & Lincolnshire Junction, the Great Grimsby & Sheffield Junction Railways and the Grimsby Dock Company in January 1847.

Towards the end of this century, “The London Extension” was officially opened to passenger and freight traffic, allowing more direct journeys from the capital to the cities of the Midlands and further North. This was the line on which the present day Great Central Railway is now based.

A 1960s report which led to controversial rail cutbacks and closures, saw the line closed as a through route to London in 1966 as it was thought to be surplus to requirement. However, a section between Nottingham and Rugby remained open until 1969.

A group of enthusiasts was determined to keep the line alive for the running of main line engines and the Main Line Preservation Group (MLPG) was formed to begin the mammoth task of preservation and restoration. In 1970, the group received a lease on the station, buildings and most of the trackbed at Loughborough Central which became its base of operations and by the following year, they had bought the rest of the railway for £75,000.

With the aim of buying the remaining land and track, in 1971, the Main Line Steam Trust (MLST) was formed as a charitable body, to support the company. Then the Great Central Railway (1976) Ltd was formed to raise funds through the sale of shares.

While Charnwood Borough Council agreed to purchase the land and lease it to the railway for 99 years, in 1976, they still had to raise over £150,000 (almost £1million today) to buy the track.

With such a high amount needed, only a single track between Loughborough and Quorn could be afforded, so the double track from Rothley to Belgrave & Birstall was lifted, along with the ‘down’ line from Loughborough to Rothley.

In the late 1980s, attempts were made to extend the line back to North Leicester, but, as the buildings had been vandalised they had to be demolished. However, in 1990, a station called Leicester North was opened which put a new station inside Leicester’s boundary, and the addition of the city opened up access to further funding.

In the 1990s, signalling enthusiast David Clarke looked into the possibility of double-tracking the line, putting up a large amount of the funding needed himself and a campaign was started to raise funds to double the section between Quorn and Rothley.

After reaching Quorn, work moved ahead to extend the second track to Loughborough and the double track between Loughborough and Rothley opened in June, 2000.

Benefits of staying at Charnwood Lodge

As you can see, The Great Central Railway has a wealth of history behind it and as such, it’s easy to understand why people come from all over the world to experience its splendour.

Wherever in the world you’re coming from, in order to make the most of the trip, it’s important to find accommodation which ticks all the right boxes to make your stay extra special.

Check out the benefits of staying at our nearby Charnwood Lodge below:

  • Private parking, so you can park your car with us and walk to the station for your day out without having to worry about finding parking and paying extortionate fees.
  • Delicious home cooked breakfast to set you up for the day.
  • Our chef can also prepare your evening meal in our on-site restaurant upon request.
  • We offer first rate, flexible catering skills and food made using only the freshest and finest, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Choose from a range of rooms, from singles to family rooms, all complete with en-suite bathrooms and amenities including tea making facilities, hair dryer, shower products and luxury fresh towels.
  • A fully licensed bar and lounge area.
  • Dog friendly accommodation
  • Free wi-fi available.
  • Friendly, polite and attentive staff.
  • Close proximity to Loughborough University and the town centre.
  • We also have specially equipped, ground floor disabled rooms.

If you’re looking for pleasant and comfortable accommodation near The Great Central Railway, Charnwood Lodge makes a great choice.

So, whether you’re attending a special event, visiting the Great Central Railway, or another one of the fantastic visitor attractions we have nearby, our accommodation has something for all ages and groups of most sizes.

We pride ourselves on offering a warm welcome and a comfortable stay. To make your reservation, book now, or call one of the team today on 01509 211120.

Please also note that Charnwood Lodge is closed from December 22, 2017 to January 3, 2018.

© Image copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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