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Children to experience World War evacuation on railway

The Great Central Railway in Loughborough Credit: ITV News Central

500 schoolchildren from across the Midlands will be experiencing life as a Second World War evacuee at the Great Central Railway.

They will be boarding steam trains from Leicester and Loughborough for a return trip into history.

It is all part of the first day of the Great Central Railway's annual Wartime Weekend event.

Click here to see pictures of last year's evacuation event

Great Central Railway bosses 'grateful' for donation

Bosses at the Great Central Railway have said they are "deeply grateful" for a £25,000 donation towards a £1million plan to build a new bridge in Loughborough.

The money was donated by the 9F Locomotive Charitable Trust in memory of trustee Peter Lang, who was also a regular volunteer.

He died earlier this year, shortly before the deal to build the new bridge over the Midlane Mainline at Loughborough was announced.

The money brings the total raised to £333,000 - exactly a third of the total needed.

Bill Ford, from the Great Central Railway, thanked the trust for the donation.

We are deeply grateful for every donation we receive, but we were particularly humbled by the donation made in memory of Peter.

He is missed by many.

On behalf of everyone from the northern and southern section of the railway we would like to record our deepest gratitute.

The appeal total has jumped upwards giving us exactly a third of a million pounds, meaning we can go into 2014 with renewed confidence.

– Bill Ford, Great Central Railway

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Cash boost for £1m Great Central Railway bridge plans

A bid to raise £1million to build a new bridge for the Great Central Railway is a third of the way to their total after a cash boost.

The Great Central Railway
The Great Central Railway Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

A gift of £25,000 donated in memory of a former volunteer has bumped up the total raised to £333,000.

The money is needed to build a bridge across the Midland Mainline at Loughborough.

Mayor calls railway museum 'exciting opportunity'

The Great Central Railway's plan for a new museum, to be built in Leicester, is expected to cost £15million in total.

Alongside the proposed £10million lottery grant, submitted to the National Heritage Fund, £5million of additional match funding would be required.

A striking building is planned for construction, alongside the Great Central Railway's Leicester North station where the museum will be connected to the running lines, allowing for inter-changeable displays.

Drumming up support for the project, City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said:

This is a really exciting opportunity to create a heritage railway centre of national standing in Leicester...

...The museum will house items which are of both national importance and local interest, complementing the nearby National Space Centre and Abbey Pumping Station, helping to enhance the city's reputation as an important visitor destination.

Railway museum to create jobs for hundreds

The proposed railway museum to be built in Leicester could create up to a thousand new jobs.

An economic impact study, carried out as part of the £10million funding bid, suggests the project will be worth £43million to the local economy over five years.

Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, has called it an exciting opportunity to enhance the city's reputation as an important visitor destination and said:

"It will create hundreds of new jobs, both during construction and on opening, while providing training opportunities in the rail industry for dozens of young people. We're fully committed to this project and will be working with the Great Central Railway to help them deliver this ambitious scheme.

Along with 300 short-term construction jobs, annual visitor figures are expected to reach 230,000, and so additional spending could create more than 900 jobs for the surrounding area.

£10 million bid lodged for new railway museum

The Great central Railway have submitted a bid for £10million to the Heritage Lottery Fund. for the building of a new railway museum in Leicester.

Filled with priceless artefacts from the national collection, the new attraction will be based at GCR's terminus in Leicester North.

Plans for the new museum have been described as "world class" and Managing Director of the Great Central Railway Bill Ford said:

This is a visionary project. In the last 12 months the partners have worked hard to prepare the funding bid. The museum will help people reconnect with Leicester's railway story and our shared heritage. Together with our thriving steam line, we're confident tens of thousands of people will visit every year.

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Leicester railway museum lottery hopes

It is claimed the project would be worth £43 million to the local economy Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A bid has been put forward for lottery funding to help pay for a new railway museum in Leicester.

If the £10 million grant is given by the Heritage Lottery Fund, a new tourist attraction would be created at Leicester North.

The site is the terminus for The Great Central Railway, who are running the project in partnership with Leicester City Council and the National Railway Museum.

Schoolchildren in war-time evacuation re-enactment

A thousand schoolchildren have had a taste of life as a Second World War evacuee. The pupils travelled back to the 1940's in a war-time re-enactment event on a steam railway.

Joining the children were the Prime Minister and King and Queen of the day, a real-life evacuee reliving her childhood, and our Education Correspondent Peter Bearne.

Second World War evacuee shares her experiences

Maisie Walker is sharing her evacuation experiences with children

The Great Central Railway is helping children experience what it was like to be a Second World War evacuee. Children are dressing up in 40s-style clothing and former evacuee Maisie Walker is sharing her experiences.

The 83-year-old joined the children to share her memories of leaving her home in London in 1941.

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