This photograph, a scan of a slide from my pre-digital days, shows Ex-GWR Hall class 4-6-0 No. 6990 Witherslack Hall departing from Loughborough Central Station on the ‘heritage’ Great Central Railway. My own connections to this line go right back to my boyhood, in the 1950s when I used to travel, on the ‘South Yorkshireman’, from Bradford Exchange Station to Rugby Central Station.
It was also the line upon which I saw my first ever Great Western Railway locomotive, not one of the brass and copper variety but a humble 2-6-0 with a parcels train. We used to sit, trainspotting, alongside the West Coast main line at the point where the Great Central line crossed over it, just to the south of Rugby Midland Station. Every now and again, in between the B1s, V2s, and Black 5s, there would be an Ex-GWR engine, most often one of the 43xx class moguls, but also the occasional ‘large prairie’ which did have the usual brass and copper trimmings so much a feature of the GWR and its engines.