Andrew Morley

Canal Bridge Latest News 16th January 2019

With the canal bridge parapet repairs underway off site, it won’t be too much longer before work begins on the rest of the structure.

Before it can, it will be encased in a cloak of scaffolding. A site visit this week by our engineers saw detailed measurements taken so the temporary structure can be designed. The canal will remain open to boating traffic trough the whole repair process, with just half of the navigation closed at any one time. To achieve the necessary clearances, and protect the workforce, boaters and walkers on the tow path will be quite a challenge.

We are working with the Canal and River Trust and would like to thank them for their support.

For the latest news on the project, and to donate, please see www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

 

 

Winter Steam Gala – 25th to 27th January 2019

Canal Bridge – Work begins on-site!

We're delighted to report that work has begun on the Canal Bridge at Loughborough in a major step forward for our Bridging the Gap project.

A large crane has been on-site this morning to lift clear the distinctive lattice parapets from the 120 year-old bridge in preparation for these to be restored off-site by a specialist contractor.

A large lorry was skilfully manoeuvred to the site directly behind our Loughborough Locomotive Works, ready to receive the two lattice parapets (each weighing almost 8 tons), which will both be divided into two sections for the journey to Wales for restoration.

We are extremely grateful for the support received from the public, with over £300,000 now raised towards our Crossing the Canal appeal towards the £475,000 total required for this part of the project.

The canal bridge is a crucial stage of our project to link the two halves of the Great Central Railway to create an 18-mile heritage line.

A short distance further north, our new bridge across the Midland Main Line is now completed as the project continues to take strides forward.

For the latest news on this exciting project, please see www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing the Canal – Appeal total passes £300,000

We're delighted to report that the Crossing the Canal appeal total has now exceeded the £300,000 mark.

GCR is continuing to work with contractors as the start of works on site approaches, and we will bring further news on the timetable of works as soon as the details are available.

We are very grateful for your tremendous support so far.

For the latest news on the project and to donate, please see www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

 

 

 

 

Infrastructure improvements works at Rothley

Following the very popular Last Hurrah of the Season event, an opportunity has been taken for some infrastructure improvement works to take place before our Santa services begin.

GCR has been delighted to host a training and experience exercise this week where contractors have completed the "plain lining" of the carriage siding on the Down (west) side of the line. This siding is now disconnected from the main line and will be reconnected as part of improvements to the track layout at Rothley in the future. The vehicles remaining within the siding have been carefully selected as those which are not in the short-term restoration queue and will not require to be moved until after the siding is connected.

A road-rail vehicle in action as part of improvement works at Rothley. Photo: Graham Wignall.

The work is an example of how GCR works with the railway industry to achieve a mutual goals of achieving infrastructure improvements while also providing valuable training for industry professionals.

Crossing the Canal – Appeal total passes £250,000

We're delighted to announce that the Crossing the Canal appeal to raise funds to repair the canal bridge north of our locomotive works at Loughborough has passed the £250,000 mark.

Your support for the project continues to be tremendous, and we are making major strides towards commencing work before too long.

For the very latest news on the Crossing the Canal appeal, please visit the appeal website at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

Locomotives arriving by road

In the future, following completion of our Bridging the Gap project, GCR will enjoy a link with the national railway network north of Loughborough which will provide opportunities for visiting locomotives to arrive by rail, but currently all locomotives and rolling stock moving to and from GCR do so by road, usually at Quorn & Woodhouse.

Tender locomotives cannot be carried by a single low-loader, and the tender must therefore be separated from the loco and the road transport completed in two separate journeys, usually with two separate lorries making the journey. 6990 Witherslack Hall is pictured being returned to the rails after a popular visit to another heritage railway in 2017.

Locomotive haulage by road is a highly specialised operation, with a small number of preferred contractors taking care of a large percentage of loco moves around the country.

Following arrival at Quorn & Woodhouse, one end of the low-loader trailer is carefully lowered as close to ground level as possible, and a rail ramp is then assembled to allow the returning locomotive to be carefully rolled back to its native rails with the assistance of a winch. The same process is completed with the tender. After the lorry and trailer have been moved away, the loco can be collected, usually be a diesel locomotive sent from Loughborough which is accompanied by a member of the locomotive engineering team who re-couple the loco and tender before returning the formation back to Loughborough.

Locomotive transport represents the largest single cost of offering guest locomotives at special events. Guest locomotives have been extremely popular with a large number of very successful visits over the years, and likewise, locos resident at GCR have been very well received at other railways.

On Thursday 26th April 2018, BR Standard Class 2 78018 also returned to GCR following a short away break, completing a journey of over 150 miles by road in a little over 6 hours using an carefully planned route.

78018 arrives at Quorn & Woodhouse on a specialist trailer.

78018 in the afternoon sun before being unloaded.

 

First published on GCR Main Line Xtra 28th April 2018 by Andrew Morley


 

73156 draws close to completion

We are looking forward to BR Standard Class 5 73156 entering regular service at GCR following the completion of restoration from scrapyard condition.


The loco made a brief appearance at the 2017 Autumn Steam Gala, and considerable work has been undertaken since this event to prepare for regular service.

In recent weeks the driving wheelsets have received attention with the crank pins being skimmed and general geometry checks performed.

The locomotive was re-wheeled on 18th April and work has been swift to ready 73156 for a starring role at the forthcoming Goods Galore Gala on 12th and 13th May 2018.

The team at our Loughborough Locomotive Works have been busy preparing the connecting rods for fitting as the motion is reassembled, and photographs from Wednesday 25th April show the work in progress in the machine shop, and the subsequent fitting on Thursday 26th April.

Machining taking place to prepare the connecting rod.

We're expecting 73156 to be a very popular addition to the already strong fleet of steam locomotives at GCR. The class saw regular service on the line in British Railways days and were known for an impressive turn of speed in their day.

73156 was built in 1956 and is one of only five BR Standard Class 5 locos to survive into preservation, and is also the only surviving member of the class that was constructed Doncaster Works. For much of her brief life in British Railways service, 73156 was allocated to ex Great Central depots, beginning with Neasden in December 1956. She graduated to the North West later on via several ex G.W.R. sheds in the West Midlands until finally being withdrawn from service whilst at Bolton MPD in November 1967 with an accumulated mileage of approximately 325,000.

Before: 73156 driving wheels on 25th April prior to receiving connecting rods.

After: Connecting rods in the process of fitting on 26th April 2018.

 

First published on GCR Main Line Xtra 26th April 2018.  Published on main GCR website 1st May 2018.


 

The Diesel Brake Tender

The forthcoming Lash Hurrah event on 18th/19th November will see the unveiling of a new and unique vehicle.

The diesel brake tender was one of those railway vehicles that no one paid any attention to until they had all gone. At the end of the 1950’s British Railways was pressing ahead with the mass introduction of new diesel engines to replace the steam engine, as well as a mass replacement of wagons. It was soon discovered that the new diesels did not have the same braking ability as the steam engines they were replacing and not all the new wagons had train brakes either. This resulted in British Railways converting a number of old carriages that were also being replaced into weights that could be used to assist the diesels when stopping these unbraked trains. By the late 1970’s when most unfitted goods trains had either been upgraded or replaced the use of these tenders was no longer required, so they fell into disuse and were scrapped.

The vehicles could be seen all over the country, with many being allocated to the Nottingham area for use on the many coal trains that operated from the regions collieries.

None survived into preservation, but a group of engineers from 'Railway Vehicle Preservations', based on the Great Central Railway, decided to build a new one to enable demonstrations to be recreated using the extensive wagon and diesel collections based on the railway. In exceptional cases they also saw use on passenger trains.

The new diesel brake tender is expected to work all weekend at the Last Hurrah and can be seen on goods trains and some passenger services.

FoGCML 2018 calendar

FoGCML 2018 calendar.

Friends of the Great Central Main Line have produced a 2018 calendar with all proceeds going to the Reunification Project appeal.

Thirteen exceptional pictures from talented photographers will take you through the year. The calendar is A3 is size with room to write appointments.

Each calendar costs £10 and will soon be available from the Emporium at Loughborough Central station. Alternatively you can pre-order one by emailing the Chairman of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line Andy.Fillingham@gcrailway.co.uk

Our next running day

This weekend
One steam locomotive and our diesel railcar are operating passenger trains this weekend.

A second steam locomotive is also in operation on our dining train.

Locomotive roster to be announced.
Click here for more information



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