The GCR Rolling Stock Trust was set up to save, restore and operate railway carriages and wagons that originated from the former Great Central Railway (GCR), its constituents or associates. It raises funds to purchase and to 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 GCR carriages and is now looking at the remnants of the previously vast stock of goods wagons. The Trust owns three 1910-built Barnum carriages, has a fourth on loan from the National Rail Museum, and five further vehicles, one of which is a unique clerestory coach of 1903, generously donated by Stuart Copson. The Trust was also donated a second 1888 MS&LR.* 6-wheel passenger vehicle which had been severely damaged in an off-site shunting accident. This is now in need of a major rebuild. It also brought home to the Ruddington work-base a unique suburban brake body of 1905, previously located in an orchard as the living accommodation for a retired farming couple .
On the goods vehicle front the Trust is making less progress in its investigation of wagons of GCR origin but is very keen to assist the National Register of all known relics. At some stage it is hoped to include reference to the very extensive fleet of road vehicles to ensure the vast fleets of horse-drawn drays were not totally neglected.
* the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway was the direct precursor to the Great Central Railway, formed in 1897, as the London Extension trunk route to London neared completion giving elevated status to the company.
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 GCR 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 collaboration with the projected GCR Museum at Leicester.
In terms of long-term plans, the Trust expects to preserve all the GCR 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.
The Trust, a registered charity (No. 1082199), is a non-profit making body, raising funds principally for its own work.