Great Central Railway, Nottinghamshire

Steam Train on Viaduct at Sunset

On the 27th of December, my lovely hubby turned 40. Originally we discussed going on a big adventure to a distant land to celebrate, in the end he decided that he wanted to spend the day with our bestest friends;  The Kent’s – hooray!

After a morning of reading story books and playing with Peppa Pig (to entertain the kids of course, not for Philip!) it was time to wrap up warm and head out for a trip on the Great Central Railway.

And you know what that meant?  Steam Trains! Oh, yes, I love a good steam train!

The Great Central Railway – Nottingham offers almost 10 miles of heritage railway running through the beautiful scenery of South Nottinghamshire and North-West Leicestershire.

Services are pulled by heritage Steam and Diesel locomotives, re-creating the experience of train travel from a time when it was more than just a means to get from one place to another.

We parked up at the Ruddington Fields Station and made our way along the platform.  We were soon taking our seats in an old-fashioned train car – just imagine the carriage that Harry, Hermione and Ron sit in on the Hogwarts Express and you’ve got it.

Steam Train in the Snow by John Bagshaw


With a puff of steam and a blow of the whistle, we were off, racing through the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside. As a special Christmas treat a trolley soon made its way round with free mince pies and chocolates shortly followed by the conductor who sold us our tickets.

Under the 50 Steps Foot Bridge, we passed the Gotham Sidings and the British Gypsum Works.  We were plunged into darkness as we went through the East Leake Tunnel and we watched the steam billowing passed the windows, before going by the site of the Barnstone Ore Sidings, up Fox Hill, over the River Soar on the fantastic Loughborough Viaduct and into Loughborough.

Great Central Railway Scenery by John Bagshaw


Viaduct by John Bagshaw

We decided not to get off the train, so at Loughborough, the train made its way back along the track and into Ruddington Fields.

It was bloody good fun with fantastic company. The return trip took just under two hours and cost £10.00 per adult (although your ticket is valid for the entire day, so you can stay on the train all day if you want)  Unfortunately there was a problem with the buffet car on board and they were only serving coffee (not so helpful when you’re travelling with three children under the age of five), otherwise it would be a great way to lunch.

Find out more on their website, but if you’re anywhere close to Leicester, Loughborough or Nottingham, this makes a great day out. The Birthday Boy loved it.  I got the impression that he wants to have a go at driving the train next time, which you can book up in advance.

I was far too busy playing with the kids/laughing with Bex to take the usual snaps, so thank you very much to GCRN and John Bagshaw for sending me such wonderful pictures to use.


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