Main Line Xtra

Bill Ford. Leader and legend. 1937-2018.

 

The very sad news of Bill Ford's passing on Sunday has no doubt already reached so many of our friends and supporters.

Bill was instrumental in the Railway's development from the earliest days of preservation.

He will be greatly missed by the whole GCR family.

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

National Railway Museum broadcast

We were very pleased to welcome a film crew from the National Railway Museum at our End of Steam event on 11th August.

They filmed a live 54-minute Facebook broadcast from GCR which included significant footage from the footplate of 70013 "Oliver Cromwell, which is owned by the NRM, and some detailed background on the original 1968 event.

We have been informed by NRM that the film has been watched more than 33,000 times now and has potentially reached more than 120,000 people, making this one of their most popular posts ever. These figures do not include the additional audience of people reached through other posts and on Twitter, which would increase the numbers further. All-in-all some very valuable publicity for our railway.

A link to the film and the blog is shown below for those users who do not have Facebook:
https://blog.railwaymuseum.org.uk/fifteen-guineas-the-price-of-progress 

 

 

Crossing the Canal – Appeal news

As reported in Main Line magazine (ML175), the Crossing the Canal appeal has now passed the £130,000 mark and donations continue to arrive as we make good progress towards the original £475,000 target of the appeal.

Further inspection of the canal bridge in recent times has revealed that the amount of work required is likely to require the bridge to be lifted out to allow the repairs to take place on "dry land". This will provide the opportunity to more easily inspect and if necessary make any repairs to the bridge abutments.

Chairman of Friends of the Great Central Main Line Andy Fillingham noted in Main Line that this work to the canal bridge would require the area to the west of, and behind the locomotive shed to be cleared, and that work to clear those areas must be completed by the end of August 2018. "Work has already commenced to identify the owners of everything (some of it long forgotten!) in those areas and arrange for it to be moved to an agreed place, removed from GCR, or disposed of. So if you own anything in these areas, please us know asap!"

Returning to the canal bridge, a national leaflet drop is taking place in the national heritage media asking enthusiasts to commit to donating to the appeal by monthly standing order. We're asking people to give £12 a month, or approximately £3 (the price of a fancy coffee) a week.

65,000 leaflets are being circulated.

For the latest news on the appeal, please see our dedicated Crossing the Canal web pages at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify 

We're very grateful for the tremendous support received so far!

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

Flying Scotsman steams through Loughborough

World-famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman hauled a main line railtour "The Cathedrals Express" through Loughborough early this afternoon, passing under the GCR's new bridge.

60103 has passed the site recently during the construction of the abutments and a small crowd gathered on the A60 road bridge to witness the recently restored loco pass by.

The charter had left London Victoria at 08:43 on route to York with a booked arrival time of 15:52.

We look forward in years to come to GCR trains passing over the completed bridge which will eventually provide us with a connection to the national network.

The bridge over the Midland Main Line is the first major milestone in achieving our long term goal of an 18-mile heritage railway. See www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify for more details on the project.

 

Bridge installation takes place!

With a crowd looking on, the GCR's new bridge across the Midland Main Line has taken a major step forward with the two main beams being successfully lowered into place in the early hours of Sunday 3rd September 2017.

A more detailed account of events is available at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

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This Weekend

Our Santa Steam Trains are running this weekend.

Make your Christmas extra special by joining us on our Santa Steam Trains (pre-booking is essential for our Santa services).

Click here for more information



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