The Great Central Railway Rolling Stock Trust has been set up to save, restore and operate railway carriages and wagons that originate from the former Great Central Railway (G. C. R.), its constituents or associates. It proposes to raise funds to purchase or renovate these, now rare, vehicles, and to assist the National Railway Museum in the maintenance of the appropriate part of the National Collection.
To this end it has already acquired, the majority of the remaining G.C.R. carriages and is now looking at the remnants of the previously vast stock of goods wagons. The Trust owns three 1910 Barnum carriages, has a fourth on loan from the National Rail Museum, and five further vehicles, one of which is a unique clerestory coach (body only) of 1903, generously donated by Stuart Copson. The Trust also obtained a second 1889 M. S. L. R.* 6-wheel passenger vehicle severely damaged in an off-site shunting accident and now needing major rebuild. It also brought home a unique suburban brake body of 1905.
On the goods vehicle front the Trust is investigating two open wagons and, to ensure that road vehicles are not totally neglected, it is considering partnering the build of a typical G.C.R. horse-drawn dray to show at Ruddington.
* the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway was the presursor to the G. C. R., formed in 1897, as the London Extension trunk route to London neared completion giving elevated status to the company.
Aims and operation
The Trust has been donated seven potential G.C.R. vehicles and has one on loan from the National Railway Museum. The original G.C.R. was operational from 1897 to 1922. The number of vehicles left is pitifully small and the Trust owns an estimated 75 per cent of those remaining. That makes this the UK's largest single pre-grouping collection. So far, we have been unable to locate any goods stock that needs urgent rescue. In terms of other rolling stock, only two steam locomotives built by the original G.C.R. have been saved in the U.K. and these both form part of the National Collection. Both have also seen a return to steam on the preserved section of the G.C.R. London Extension, independently of the Trust's own efforts.
The intention is to restore vehicles in the Trust's posession for public use, and in the restoration process train and educate the next generations in their design, construction, maintenance and restoration as important components of our transport heritage. All the vehicles have wooden bodies and all but three have steel frames. One unique vehicle is a body-only for which a suitable 50-ft chassis has been sourced.
The Trust, a registered charity (No. 1082199), is a non-profit making body, raising funds solely for its own work. It is aiming to restore, preserve and maintain the stock the Trust owns in original or near original specification and where feasible in operating condition, starting with its own fully operational unique G.C.R. teak bodied train. It is also the intention to collect, collate, and research historical information, data, plans and records relating to the design, build, operation of the rolling stock of the Great Central Railway and its predecessors.
In terms of long-term plans, the Trust expects to preserve all the G.C.R. relics obtained but also requires premises, or access to premises appropriate to restoration and maintenance of all rescued vehicles. And of course it intends to demonstrate, exhibit and operate such items, in safe and sound conditions, potentially for hire if it helps the restoration process, solely to assist in the funding of the maintenance and renovation of the Trust's stock.
Benefits of Trust Membership
The Trust aims to share and provide historical and practical knowledge on an informal and formal educational basis, with all G.C.R. enthusiasts who wish to join the Trust and to join in the restoration and maintenance of these historic vehicles.
There is a crucial need for G.C.R. enthusiasts to come and help in the running of the Trust, to assist in the fund raising, to lead the restoration of the carriage stock with wood, steel and electrical working skills. We're aiming for a full G.C.R. train set by 2010.
All you need to do is come and see for yourself, enjoy the team work, and see how your help can turn the dream of a fully operational G.C.R. passenger set into an exciting and unique reality. There is an enormous amount to be achieved and great satisfaction to be had by being at the start of this exhilarating project.
If you would like to get in touch in connection with this project then please do so via the contact page.
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