On a bitterly cold morning, it was still very misty when my parents and I arrived at Loughborough Central railway station about 15 minutes after we left Rothley Station. I guess the conditions all added to the mystique of the place which seemingly sits fairly isolated in this University town.
Like the station at Rothley, this one is an island platform that also opened on the same date in 1899 and is a great way of travelling back in time without fear of anything you do altering and affecting the present! It’s no wonder that its retro aesthetic has appealed to so many production companies who have used the station as a backdrop for recreating scenes from a bygone era.
In terms of movies, the likes of ‘Buster‘ (1988), ‘The Secret Agent‘ (1993), ‘Shadowlands‘ (1993), ‘The Navigators‘ (1999), ‘Enigma‘ (2001), ‘The Hours‘ (2002) and ‘Cemetery Junction‘ (2010) have all taken advantage of Britain’s only perfectly preserved mainline steam facility,
Unlike the one at Rothley, the heritage railway at Loughborough has a facade, is under a canopy and possesses all kinds of props like trolleys of old suitcases, an old-style pram, red telephone box, vintage posters, signs, advertisements and a retro-style WHSmiths kiosk. Even the staff are dressed in traditional railway clothing which is something workers love to do in Japan but I never thought I would see it back in my home country.
TV credits over the years have included a range of lifestyle programmes, period dramas and documentaries such as ‘She’s Out‘ (1994), ‘Woof‘ (1995), ‘Goodnight Mr. Tom‘ (1998), ‘Take A Girl Like You‘ (2000), ‘The Cazalet Chronicles‘ (2001), ‘Casualty‘ (2001 & 2014), ‘Hawking‘ (2004), ‘The 4:50 From Paddington‘ (2004), ‘E=MC2‘ (2005), ‘The 39 Steps‘ (2008), ‘Central Steam‘ (2010), ‘South Riding‘ (2011), ‘Top Gear‘ (2011), ‘Heston’s Fantastical Food‘ (2012), ‘Our Story‘ (2014) and ‘Great British Railway Journeys‘ (2014). Furthermore, the music video by Welsh rock band ‘Stereophonics’ for ‘Indian Summer’ (2013) was also filmed here.
Our final stop was the Great Central Railway Museum which occupies two interconnecting rooms under the steps leading down to the platform. There are over 500 objects on display which evoke memories of days gone by and the atmosphere of travelling or working on the railway. The free museum collects, preserves and displays a wide range of railway-related paraphernalia telling the history of the railway. Featured items include cast iron plates and enamel signs from stations, wagon plates, signal box boards and diagrams, printed materials, pictures, posters, maps, photos and a short film that plays on loop every few minutes.
It seems that this place isn’t just one for trainspotters and people on a nostalgia trip but kids and families are very much on the mind with events held throughout the year such as meeting Peppa Pig & her little brother George at Loughborough (March 7-8) for a photo opportunity along with funfair rides, face painting, a bouncy castle and so on.
You can read ‘Trainspotting On The Great Central Railway Pt I: Rothley’ here