The Great Central Railway

Michael A Vanns

Date Published :
August 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Series :
Heritage Railway Guide
Illustration :
110 color and black and white illustrations and a system map
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473892125

Dimensions : 11 X 8.5 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 128
Also available as an ebook:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Apple Apple
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Google Google
Buy From Kobo Kobo


This compelling book centers on the Great Central Railways early history, focusing particularly on its drive to reach London. It follows the subsequent fortunes of the London Extension right up until its closure, and into the preservation era, examining the remarkable achievements of hundreds of enthusiasts and their continuing struggle to fulfill the aspirations of those 1969 visionaries.

In 1899 the Great Central Railway opened a new main line between Nottinghamshire and London. It was built to the highest of standards; civil and mechanical engineers able to benefit from the experience of over fifty years of British railway construction. It was a glorious achievement. Yet, despite incorporating some of the best facilities to enable it to operate in a more efficient way than its older rivals, it had a short working life compared to its contemporaries. By the end of the 1960s, most of it had closed. However, ironically, that abandonment by the state-owned British Railways presented an independent and enterprising group of railway enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to operate their own main line with their own engines. In 1969 the Main Line Preservation Group was formed with a vision to re-create a fully functioning, double track, steam-worked main line between Nottingham and Leicester.

This book explores the journey, development and changes of the Great Central Railway and is a fantastic guide to how the railway industry has changed over time.

About The Author

Michael Vanns was born in Newark-on-Trent in 1956. After studying history and history of art at Leicester University, and a short spell at Tamworth Castle Museum, Michael joined the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in 1978. He remained there until 2009, working on a variety of projects starting with the Elton Collection which examined the Industrial Revolution through contemporary prints, drawings and books.

He was involved in museum education and in a number of large Heritage Lottery funded projects, including the refurbishment of the country’s best preserved Victorian decorative tileworks, and the recreation of a small town Victorian street.


"This wonderful book tells how a group of enthusiasts seized the oppoertunity to perpetuate the steam railway line from Nottingham to Leicester, thus preserving Britain's steam heritage in the East Midlands. Brilliant."

- Books Monthly

Well written and produced to a high standard, this book is not intended to replace the voluminous literature on the Great Central, but be of interest to those who want more background on one of the best run preserved railways in the UK.

- Railway Observer

Similar Titles