Southport is a large seaside town in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 90,336, making it the eleventh most populous settlement in North West England. Southport is fringed to the north by the Ribble estuary; the town is 16.7 miles north of Liverpool and 14.8 miles southwest of Preston. Part of Lancashire, the town was founded in 1792 when William Sutton, an innkeeper from Churchtown, built a bathing house at what is now the south end of Lord Street. At that time, the area, known as South Hawes, was sparsely populated and dominated by sand dunes. At the turn of the 19th century, the area became popular with tourists due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal; the rapid growth of Southport coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. Town attractions include Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway, the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles, Lord Street is an elegant tree-lined shopping street. Extensive sand dunes stretch for several miles from Woodvale to the south of the town.
The Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a Ramsar site. Local fauna include the Sand lizard; the town contains examples of Victorian architecture and town planning, on Lord Street and elsewhere. A particular feature of the town is the extensive tree planting; this was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made land available for development in the 19th century. Hesketh Park at the northern end of the town is named after them, having been built on land donated by Rev. Charles Hesketh. Southport today is still one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK, it hosts various events, including an annual air show on and over the beach, the largest independent flower show in the UK and the British Musical Fireworks Championship. The town is at the centre of England's Golf Coast and has hosted the Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club. There have been settlements in the area now comprising Southport since the Domesday Book, some parts of the town have names of Viking origin.
The earliest recorded human activity in the region was during the Middle Stone Age, when mesolithic hunter gatherers were attracted by the abundant red deer and elk population, as well as the availability of fish and woodland. Roman coins have been found at Halsall Moss and Crossens, although the Romans never settled southwest Lancashire; the first real evidence of an early settlement here is in the Domesday Book, in which the area is called Otergimele. The name is derived from Oddrgrimir meaning the son of Grimm and is linked to the Old Norse word melr meaning sandbank; the Domesday Book states that there were 50 huts in Otergimele, housing a population of 200. The population was scattered thinly across the region and it was at the northeast end of Otergimele, where blown sand gave way to alluvial deposits from the River Ribble estuary, that a small concentration of people occurred; the alluvium provided the river itself stocks of fish. It was here, it seems, that a primitive church was built, which gave the emerging village its name of Churchtown, the parish being North Meols.
A church called. With a booming fishing industry, the area grew and hamlets became part of the parish of North Meols. From south to north, these villages were South Hawes, Little London, Higher Blowick, Lower Blowick, Rowe-Lane, Marshside and Banks; as well as Churchtown, there were vicarages in Banks. Parts of the parish were completely surrounded by water until 1692 when Thomas Fleetwood of Bank Hall cut a channel to drain Martin Mere to the sea. From this point on, attempts at large-scale drainage of Martin Mere and other marshland continued until the 19th century, since when the water has been pumped away; this created a booming farming industry. In the late 18th century, it was becoming fashionable for the well-to-do to relinquish inland spa towns and visit the seaside to bathe in the salt sea waters. At that time, doctors recommended bathing in the sea to help cure pains. In 1792, William Sutton, the landlord of the Black Bull Inn in Churchtown and known to locals as "The Old Duke", realised the importance of the newly created canal systems across the UK and set up a bathing house in the uninhabited dunes at South Hawes by the seaside just four miles away from the newly constructed Leeds and Liverpool Canal and two miles southwest of Churchtown.
When a widow from Wigan built a cottage nearby in 1797 for seasonal lodgers, Sutton built a new inn on the site of the bathing house which he called the South Port Hotel, moving to live there the following season. The locals thought him mad and referred to the building as the Duke's Folly, but Sutton arranged transport links from the canal that ran through Scarisbrick, four miles from the hotel, trade was remarkably good; the hotel survived until 1854, when it was demolished to make way for traffic at the end of Lord Street, but its presence and the impact of its founder are marked by a plaque in the vicinity, by the name of one street at the intersection, namely Duke Street, by a hotel on Duke Street which bears the legacy name of Dukes Folly Hotel. Southport grew in the 19th century as it gained a reputation for being a more refined seaside resort than its neighbour-up-the-coast Blackpool. In fact Southport had a head start compared to all the other places on the Lancashire coast because it had easy
Henry George Ivatt known as George Ivatt, was the post-war Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. He was the son of the Great Northern Railway locomotive engineer Henry Ivatt. George Ivatt was born in Dublin and educated at Uppingham School, England. In 1904, he started an apprenticeship at the Crewe Works of the North Western Railway. After working in the drawing office, he became head of experimental locomotive work, he was appointed as Assistant Foreman at Crewe North Shed in 1909, a year became Assistant Outdoor Machinery Superintendent. During the 1914–1918 World War I Ivatt served on the staff of the Director of Transport in France. After the war, he became Assistant Locomotive Superintendent of the North Staffordshire Railway at Stoke-on-Trent in 1919. Under the Railways Act 1921, the NSR was absorbed into the London and Scottish Railway, he was transferred to Derby Works in 1928 and appointed Locomotive Works Superintendent in 1931. At the end of 1932 Ivatt moved to Glasgow, becoming Scotland.
He returned to England in 1937 as Principal Assistant for Locomotives to the Chief Mechanical Engineer, William Stanier. Stanier was succeeded as CME by Charles Fairburn; when Fairburn died in October 1945, a new shortlist was prepared and George Ivatt, the senior candidate, with significant LMS locomotive experience, was appointed CME on 1 February 1946. Robert Riddles, the other notable candidate for the post, was promoted to the board as Vice-President of the LMS; as CME in post-war austerity Britain, Ivatt continued to build standard existing LMS locomotive types for which parts were available. Two additional LMS Princess Coronation Class 4-6-2 express locomotives were built and several modified Black Fives and the work of'rebuilding' the Royal Scot and Patriot classes continued; the LMS Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0 was introduced as well as the notable "Mickey Mouse" LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 and LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T, built to replace life expired 19th century branch line 0-6-0 and motor train 2-4-2T locomotive types, the Class WT 2-6-4T locomotives for the Northern Counties Committee.
The famous Ivatt twins, diesel-electric locomotives numbered 10000 and 10001, built by the LMS at Derby in association with English Electric were Britain's first main-line diesel locomotives and were designed to operate singly or in pairs. On nationalisation in 1948, Riddles became CME of British Railways, whilst Ivatt remained as CME of the London Midland Region until his retirement in 1951. From mid-1951 Ivatt was a consultant and director of Brush Bagnall Traction becoming their General Manager, he retired as a director in 1957 but was retained as a consultant until 1964. Following the demise of Brush Bagnall Traction, Ivatt became a director of Brush Traction where he was involved with the building of the Brush Type 2 locomotives. Http://www.steamindex.com/people/ivatt.htm#son
Southport Derby Road MPD
Southport MPD is a former LMS railway depot located in the town of Southport, Merseyside. Derby Road shed first opened in 1890 under the ownership of the Yorkshire Railway. In January 1935 under the ownership of the London and Scottish Railway Derby Road was given the shed-code number 23C which it was to have for the remainder of its days under the LMS and for the first two years of British Railways ownership. From 1948 Derby Road shed became part of the Liverpool Bank Hall area and in June 1950 the shedcode was changed from 23C to 27C. Following the grouping of the four pre-grouping company's into BR Southport shed was given the code 23C in 1950 and was to be one of the shed's in the Liverpool Bank Hall area, the shedcode 23C, would not last for too long as the Liverpool Bank Hall area was changed to 27 from June 1950 with the shedcode being changed to 27C at the same time; the main loco allocations to Derby Road shed over the years were LMS Black 5 4-6-0's including the two Caprotti valve gear black 5's no's 44686 & 44687, alongside the two Caprotti geared black 5's two engines which would be preserved were allocated to the shed.
These engines being 44767 & 45337 which were allocated to Derby road in 1962 & 1963 respectively. As well as the black 5's other class allocations included: BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0's, LMS Compound 4-4-0's, LMS Fairburn 2-6-4T's, LMS Fowler 2-6-4T's, LMS Fowler Class 4F 0-6-0's alongside numerous pre LMS machines. In September 1963 Derby Road's shedcode number was changed from 27C to 8M and was transferred from the Bank Hall section of Liverpool to Edge Hill, which it was to carry until the sheds final closure in June 1966. During the time when diesel's were taking over from steam engines none of the then-modern diesels were allocated to Derby Road's 27C shed. Allocation of steam engines to the shed ceased in November 1965 and by the end of the year just seven engines were left allocated to the shed, these being three black 5's and 4 Fairburn tanks; the majority were transferred to other depots with one of the black 5's being withdrawn from service. The depot closed on Mon 6 Jun 1966 with the final engines being removed from the site by the 18 Jun.
Derby Road shed closed in 1966 prior to the withdrawal of steam traction on the British Railways network and alongside being stripped of recoverable materials the building was heavily vandalised over the years. In 1971 a group of people got together with plans to start up a museum on the former locomotive shed; the building, was in need of repairs as there was no track in certain places, the yard was covered in rubble, the shed building had no glass in the roof, the electricity and water supplies had been cut off and BR had severed the rail connection to the shed. Following negotiations with BR regarding a lease of the site and buildings the site was occupied by the group in 1973 allowing the necessary repairs to be undertaken alongside laying track in the shed and by August of the same year, the first steam engines began to arrive on the site. In 1974 an agreement was reached regarding a connection from BR to the shed, the connection being made through land adjacent to the former goods depot at Kensington Road.
By August 1974, the first main line steam locomotive's had arrived which were an LMS Jinty 0-6-0 no 47298 & LMS Black five 4-6-0 no 44806 which at that point had been named Magpie. 44806 Had prior to moving to Derby Road shed been based at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway but after a crack in the engines firebox opened up which wasn't possible to repair at Haverthwaite due to it being beyond their capability's. Other locomotives that would be based at Derby Road prior to being restored or where restoration was undertook included: BR Standard Class 4 2-6-0 no 76079 & GWR 5101 Class 2-6-2T no 5193. In 1978 a 60-foot turntable was Purchased from BR and was moved from its location York by rail to Derby Road, the former L&YR turntable pit had prior to the lease of the shed to the group been filled in with rubble so before the turntable could be installed this needed removal first; the shed was during the 1980s popular with steam hauled excursion trains including the regular "Southport Visitor" trains which would run from Southport to Manchester and back via Wigan while hauled by a visiting mainline approved steam engines.
Visiting engines for these trains included: 4472 Flying Scotsman, 5407, 5593 Kolhapur, 44932 & 45596 Bahamas. Around 2000 it was decided to close the museum at Derby Road and relocate to Preston and form the Ribble Steam Railway, following the closure of the museum the shed and additional buildings were demolished to make way for the new central 12 shopping park which would be built on top of the former shed. Nothing remains of the shed today apart from the former gates opposite the Bacon Factory at Windsor Road which are visible from the footbridge. 5407 Hauling "The Southport Visitor" in Sept 1988 5593 Kolhapur visiting Steamport in 1986 Steamport in 1996 Steamport Archive in the 1980s Destination Restoration Steamport Southport Demolition of Southport Loco Shed in 2000
Kirkdale is a district of Liverpool, England, a Liverpool City Council ward that covers both Kirkdale and Vauxhall. At the 2011 Census, the population was 16,115. Kirkdale is a working class area with Victorian terraced houses. From 1885 to 1983, it was part of the Liverpool Kirkdale constituency. Kirkdale is bordered by Bootle to the north and Everton to the east and Vauxhall to the south. Boundary Street was an ancient division between the township of Kirkdale and Liverpool before Liverpool's expansion took in Kirkdale in the 1860s, it thus separates Vauxhall. Kirkdale is now undergoing a large amount of regeneration; the old Easby estate has been demolished to make way for new two-, three- and four-bedroom properties. They have been built for both local incomers. There are three railway stations in the district, owing to its size and location near where the Merseyrail Northern Line branches diverge; the stations are: Bank Hall, near the boundary with Bootle on the branch to Southport. St. Lawrence with St. Paul's, Kirkdale is the Church of England parish church.
The parish boundary runs from the edge of Bootle to the north down until the edge of the Vauxhall area and to the edge of Walton in the east. St. Lawrence church joined with St. Paul's in 2002 when the parish of St. Paul with St. Mary's, was split in two and brought into the Liverpool North Deanery, in Liverpool Diocese. Liverpool Youth For Christ is based in The Shepherd Centre, a specially designed community centre attached to the St. Paul's building; the Catholic community is served by the Parish of St John and St John the Evangelist's Church, a Grade II listed building. The affiliated primary school is located across Sessions Road. Kirkdale has a large cemetery containing 386 Commonwealth War Graves from the First World War and 115 from the Second World War. Over 100 of these graves from the former war are of Canadian servicemen who died at No 5 Canadian Hospital established at Kirkdale in July 1917. There are two War Graves plots with the names of those buried in them listed on Screen Wall memorials.
There were large numbers of graves of German and American war dead from the First World War and Belgians from both world wars but these were nearly all removed to dedicated national cemeteries within the United Kingdom or repatriated to their home countries. There are buried some of the victims of the Liverpool Blitz including notably Francis William Lionel Collings Beaumont, son of the Dame of Sark, his actress wife Mary Lawson. April Ashley, model Bessie Braddock, politician James Campbell, artist William Connolly, buried at Kirkdale Cemetery Victor Grayson, politician James Hanley and playwright was born in Kirkdale in 1897 Gerald Hanley and screenwriter, brother of James Hanley, was born here in 1916 Michael Holliday, singer Brian Jacques, author Steve McManaman, footballer Paul Reynolds, musician. Paul Smith, boxer Stephen Smith, boxer Liam Smith, boxer Callum Smith, boxer Agnes Matthews, Cotton mill worker Liverpool City Council, Ward Profile: Kirkdale Liverpool Street Gallery - Liverpool 4 Liverpool Street Gallery - Liverpool 5 Liverpool Street Gallery - Liverpool 20
Stephenson valve gear
The Stephenson valve gear or Stephenson link or shifting link is a simple design of valve gear, used throughout the world for all kinds of steam engines. It was invented by his employees. During the 1830s the most popular valve drive for locomotives was known as gab motion in the U. K. and V-hook motion in the U. S. A; the gab motion incorporated two sets of rods for each cylinder. It was a clumsy mechanism, difficult to operate, only gave fixed valve events. In 1841 two employees in Stephenson’s locomotive works, draughtsman William Howe and pattern-maker William Williams, suggested the simple expedient of replacing the gabs with a vertical slotted link, pivoted at both ends to the tips of the eccentric rods. To change direction, the link and rod ends were bodily raised or lowered by means of a counterbalanced bell crank worked by a reach rod that connected it to the reversing lever; this not only simplified reversing but it was realised that the gear could be raised or lowered in small increments, thus the combined motion from the “forward” and “back” eccentrics in differing proportions would impart shorter travel to the valve, cutting off admission steam earlier in the stroke and using a smaller amount steam expansively in the cylinder, using its own energy rather than continuing to draw from the boiler.
It became the practice to start the engine or climb gradients at long cutoff about 70-80% maximum of the power stroke and to shorten the cutoff as momentum was gained to benefit from the economy of expansive working and the effect of increased lead and higher compression at the end of each stroke. This process was popularly known as "linking up" or “notching up”, the latter because the reversing lever could be held in precise positions by means of a catch on the lever engaging notches in a quadrant. A further intrinsic advantage of the Stephenson gear not found in most other types was variable lead. Depending on how the gear was laid out, it was possible to reduce compression and back pressure at the end of each piston stroke when working at low speed in full gear. American locomotives universally employed inside Stephenson valve gear placed between the frames until around 1900 when it gave way to outside Walschaerts motion. In Europe, Stephenson gear could be placed either outside the driving wheels and driven by either eccentrics or return cranks or else between the frames driven from the axle through eccentrics, as was the case in Great Britain.
Abner Doble considered Stephenson valve gear: " the most universally suitable valve gear of all, for it can be worked out for a long engine structure or a short one. It can be a simple valve gear and still be accurate, but its great advantage is that its accuracy is self-contained, for the exact relationship between its points of support have but little effect on the motion of the valve, its use on engines in which all the cylinders lie in one plane, represents, in the belief of the writer, the best choice." Another benefit of the Stephenson gear, intrinsic to the system, is variable lead: zero in full gear and increasing as cutoff is shortened. One consequent disadvantage of the Stephenson gear is that it has a tendency to over-compression at the end of the stroke when short cut-offs are used, therefore the minimum cut-off cannot be as low as on a locomotive with Walschaerts gear. Longer eccentric rods and a shorter link reduce this effect. Stephenson valve gear is a convenient arrangement for any engine that needs to reverse and was applied to railway locomotives, traction engines, steam car engines and to stationary engines that needed to reverse, such as rolling-mill engines.
It was used on the overwhelming majority of marine engines. The Great Western Railway used Stephenson gear on most of its locomotives, although the four-cylinder engines used inside Walschaerts gear. Details of the gear differ principally in the arrangement of the expansion link. In early locomotive practice, the eccentric rod ends were pivoted at the ends of the link while, in marine engines, the eccentric rod pivots were set behind the link slot; these became known as the'locomotive link' and the'launch link'. The launch link superseded the locomotive type as it allows more direct linear drive to the piston rod in full gear and permits a longer valve travel within a given space by reducing the size of eccentric required for a given travel. Launch-type links were pretty well universal for American locomotives right from the 1850s but, in Europe, although occurring as early as 1846, they did not become widespread until around 1900. Larger marine engines used the bulkier and more expensive marine double-bar link, which has greater wearing surfaces and which improved valve events by minimising geometric compromises inherent in the launch link.
In the United Kingdom, locomotives having Stephenson valve gear had this mounted in between the locomotive frames. In 1947, the London and Scottish Railway built a series of their Stanier Cl
West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is a 22.75-mile heritage railway line in Somerset, England. The freehold of the line and stations is owned by Somerset County Council; the WSR plc operates services using diesel trains. It opened in 1862 between Taunton and Watchet. In 1874 it was extended from Watchet to Minehead by the Minehead Railway. Although just a single line, improvements were needed in the first half of the twentieth century to accommodate the significant number of tourists that wished to travel to the Somerset coast; the line was reopened in 1976 as a heritage line. It is the longest standard gauge independent heritage railway in the United Kingdom. Services operate over just the 20.5 miles between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. During special events some trains continue a further two miles to Norton Fitzwarren where a connection to Network Rail allows occasional through trains to operate onto the national network. In 1845, when the Bristol and Exeter Railway had completed its main line, there were proposals for a number of different and competitive railway schemes in west Somerset.
A Bristol and English Channels Direct Junction Railway was proposed as a link from Watchet through Stogumber and Bishops Lydeard to Bridport on the south coast, which would be an alternative to ships taking a long and dangerous passage around Land's End. This prompted the promotion of a connecting line from Williton to Minehead and Porlock, a line designed to attract tourists to Exmoor. Shortly afterwards, a Bristol and English Channels Connection Railway was suggested from Stolford to Bridport which would have passed through the Quantock Hills near Crowcombe. Alternatively, the Bridgwater and Minehead Junction Railway would link with the B&ER at Bridgwater and run through Williton to Minehead with a branch to Watchet and a connecting Minehead and Central Devon Junction Railway would provide a line to Exeter. An alternative link to South Devon was proposed by the Exeter and Minehead Direct Railway through Dunster and offered an extension to Ilfracombe. None of these schemes were pursued and it was to be more than ten years before schemes for railways in the area were to be again proposed.
On 9 July 1856, local land owner Sir Peregrine Fuller Palmer Acland of Fairfield House, Stogursey arranged a meeting at the Egremont Hotel in Williton. The advertised purpose was to discuss a "Railway from the West Somerset iron-fields and coast, to the Bristol & Exeter Railway," proposed to connect Watchet - a major port on the River Severn, as well as one of the largest industrial towns in Somerset, although in decline in importance thanks to the railways - to join the B&ER at either the county town of Taunton or the large port town of Bridgwater; the promoters had approached Isambard Kingdom Brunel for his views as the former engineer of the B&ER, by the time of the meeting he had undertaken a preliminary survey of the alternative routes. There were three alternate options: The Rev. J. Llewellyn, of Wiveliscombe, suggested a route leaving the existing WSMR at Washford passing through Monksilver, Brompton Regis, Ford and Hillfarrance, onwards to the B&ER; the second and third options bypassed the WSMR, running directly from Watchet to Williton to follow the Donniford valley to Crowcombe, either: To Triscombe and via a tunnel through the Quantock Hills to Bridgewater.
The promoters were keen to build the tunnel, as the Ironstone in this part of Somerset was similar to that found in South Wales, amongst which were found rich seams of coal Or directly onwards to Taunton, via the B&ER to BridgwaterIn his contribution, Brunel described the valley of "a little brook called Donniford Brook " as being of prime importance to any route. He had concluded that the starting point should be either Watchet or Porlock direct to Williton to follow the Donniford Brook as far as Triscombe. Brunel gave the initial calculations on the required tunnel to reach Bridgwater, which being 70 to 80 chains in length would require 50 shafts to be sunk, as it required approaches with a 1 in 50 gradient, would be expensive. In his conclusion, Brunel stated his preference as a route from Watchet via Williton to Taunton, stating it to be both cheaper and offering more development options to increase passenger loading; the first meeting had been dominated by people from Minehead and Bridgwater but, on 1 August 1856, a second meeting was held in Taunton.
Brunel explained to those present the advantages of the different routes and gave some weight to the argument for a route to Bridgwater with a long tunnel under the Quantocks. He suggested that the line should be continued to Minehead or Porlock but the meeting resolved to construct a railway only from Taunton to Watchet. Brunel was engaged to undertake a more detailed survey and the B&ER agreed to operate the line for ten years in return for 45% of the receipts. Plans were produced as required by British law in November 1856 and the West Somerset Railway Company was incorporated on 17 August 1857 by an Act of Parliament to build a railway from Taunton to Watchet. A prospectus was issued to raise the required £120,000 and these were all subscribed by the end of the year; the railway's engineer, George Furness of London, started construction on 7 April 1859 at Crowcombe and construction lasted for nearly three years. The railway opened for passengers from Watchet Junction to Watch
Great Central Railway (heritage railway)
The Great Central Railway is a heritage railway in Leicestershire, named after the company that built this stretch of railway. It runs for 8.25 miles between the large market town of Loughborough and a new terminus just north of Leicester. It has period signalling and rolling stock; the GCR is the only double track mainline heritage railway in the world with 5.25 miles of working double track. Four stations are in operation, each restored to a period in the railway's commercial history: Loughborough Central. In 1897, the Great Central Railway itself was formed, becoming the last steam mainline in the United Kingdom. Two years in 1899, "The London Extension" was opened to passenger and freight traffic, allowing more direct journeys from the capital to Nottingham, Leicester and Manchester; the entire line was built to accommodate a European standard loading gauge and all but a few stations were single island platforms. This construction scheme was devised by chairman Sir Edward Watkin, who had envisioned his railway one day running through a channel tunnel to France, linking Britain with the continent.
However, this never came to fruition. In the report, the line was described as a duplicate of the Midland Main Line. Apart from the most southerly section into London, the line was closed as a through route in 1966 as part of the Beeching Axe, although a section of the line between Nottingham and Rugby remained open until 1969; the closure became one of Doctor Beeching's largest cutbacks. It was famous for being one of the most controversial. In the late 1960s, local groups who opposed the closure gathered together for a series of meetings at Leicester Central railway station and the Main Line Preservation Group was formed. There had been talk of restoring the entire closed line from Nottingham Arkwright Street to Rugby Central, but this was rationalised to a section from Ruddington to Leicester and because British Rail retained the single track between Loughborough and Ruddington for British Gypsum freight and access to the now-closed Ministry of Defence base, the group's plans focussed on the Loughborough to Leicester section.
The published aim of MLPG was "to acquire a suitable length of main line, for the operation of steam hauled passenger trains, at realistic speeds". Work began on salvaging as much reusable material as possible for the project from the recent demolitions; the MLPG received a lease on the station and most of the trackbed at Loughborough Central in 1970. By the following year, negotiations into purchasing the rest of the remaining railway had proven successful and the group was able to buy it for a mere £75,000; the rest of the Loughborough yard complex was secured in 1972. In the same year, the first coaching stock arrived on site; the first open day occurred shortly after the arrival of working motive power. Passengers were offered simple coach rides run by small industrial locomotives. On 30 September 1973, LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No. 5231 hauled the first passenger train since the railway's commercial closure, to Quorn and back, but at the same time the down line was being lifted between Birstall and Quorn because of BR's increasing demands.
To purchase what was left of the track, the MLPG was re-merged into a supporting charity, the Main Line Steam Trust. The entire value of the eight miles of up line was re-assessed by BR at £279,000, the MLST was now paying £3,300 a month, just to keep it. A deal was struck on 1 April 1976 that would see the remainder of the down line lifted if BR's cash demand was not raised. At that time, passenger trains were still running as far as Rothley, without an adequate supply of working mainline locomotives, the trust had to resort to using industrial tank engines working single track - some way short of the original vision of the MLPG seven years previously. To purchase the land and track, Great Central Railway PLC issued shares, the MLPG was transformed into the MLST, a charitable body, to support the company. Charnwood Borough Council agreed to purchase the land from BR and lease it to the railway for 99 years. However, this still left to purchase the track; the target was not met and only a single track between Loughborough and Quorn could be afforded.
The double track from Rothley to Belgrave & Birstall was lifted, along with the'down' line from Loughborough to Rothley. In the late 1980s, the intention was announced to extend the line back to Birstall; the former station had been vandalised and the Railway had no choice but to demolish the buildings. In 1990, a station called Leicester North was opened a hundred metres to the south of Belgrave & Birstall; this shift in location placed the new station inside Leicester's city boundary, allowing the'Leicester' tag to be included in the name, along with unlocking extra funds to assist in the construction. With the exception of the short section between Bewdley North and Bewdley South signal boxes on the Severn Valley Railway, the GCR is the only standard gauge heritage railway in the UK with double track outside of stations. However, there are other preserved lines that were double track. In the 1990s, David Clarke, who setup the Gray Paul Ferrari dealerships in Loughbo