Leicester

Top Gear films challenge at Great Central Railway

Car pulls caravan at Great Central Railway
Image caption The preservation of the route used for the filming began in 1969

BBC motoring show Top Gear has filmed an unusual challenge at the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire.

Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempted to make train travel cheaper, faster and more interesting on the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway.

They replaced the conventional carriages and locomotive with caravans attached to a specially modified car.

The show at the preserved railway will be aired on BBC Two on Sunday.

The Top Gear team spent three weeks preparing and making two "caravan trains" at the GCR Rothley carriage and wagon workshops.

'Spectacular crash'

The scenes for the show were shot at all four of the GCR stations, Loughborough, Rothley, Quorn and Leicester North, as well as various line-side locations over four days.

Operations manager Peter Haylock, who was in the "sport caravan train", said the eight-mile track from Loughborough to Leicester North and the stations were closed when the crew were filming.

"It was hilarious," he said. "The buffet car caught fire and there's a spectacular crash at the end.

"They also filmed from a helicopter and they didn't have to do too many retakes - the crash only took once."

He added: "Hammond was a buffet steward so you see him going inbetween caravans with tea, coffee, buns and cakes."

The four stations, which reflect a different period of the railway's 111-year history, have been the location for many films and television productions including The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman, and in 2001 the BBC drama Casualty.

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