We were invited out on a cold winters morning to enjoy a train journey and a meal on the Great Central Railway from Loughborough Station. This was a Birthday treat for a friend of ours. The Engine was a Robinson Class 8K (2-8-0) 63601, built in 1912 at the Gorton works, Manchester for the Great Central Railway, to haul heavy freight. The engine was withdrawn from service in 1963 and restored in 2000. In this case, the engine was in BR livery, pulling several Pullman carriages from the 1950's.
This was the first run of the Deluxe Christmas Special and it was an excellent and enjoyable event which I would recommend to anyone. The smell of the smoke on the platform, the sound of the steam valves and the warm carriages with condensation on the inside of the windows resulting from the single glaze and the cold air outside. I remember it well from my own experiences on BR in "the good old days"
The Santa Special was also on its first days run. The engine was a Gresley K4 Mogul (2-6-0) 61994 "The Great Marquess" built in 1938 and decommissioned in 1961. The engine was originally built for LNER and named "MacCailein Mor" LNER No. 3446.
The service was excellent and the company was exceptional. GCR have done a good job.