Main Line Xtra

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

APPEAL FOR FoGCML STAND VOLUNTEERS

You may well have seen the Friends of the Great Central Main Line stand when visiting the railway and noticed the great interest that it attracts. The stand is crucial to the FoGCML as it communicates our message about the Great Central, the Bridge and the Friends to members and public alike. The more events that the stand can attend,the more our message will be heard, and the more progress on fundraising we can make.

At the heart of the stand is the "Bridge to the future" model recently updated by David Rae. The model along with the accompanying "Bridge" project video clearly explains the developing project and the impact it will have on the GCR.

However, the stand has to be set up, attended and dismantled. The more events we attend, the more people it requires to run it, with at least two present at any time. Our team now needs more members!

If you want to see the Great Central grow and prosper, the Friends’ membership numbers grow and help to raise funds by selling FoGCML merchandise and seeking donations then please consider joining the team.

The duties are not onerous and involvement ranges from helping out for a few hours through to assisting in setting up and dismantling. You will not need a technical knowledge of 'The Gap' as this is being well covered in media releases, or other aspects of the GCR, but if you are knowledgeable in these areas you can not only help the Friends but also talk about something you care passionately about with all sorts of people.

If any FoGCML member would like to help in any way please email me on blycett.gcr@gmail.com

An email address will be essential as that’s how the team communicates.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Many thanks,

Barry Lycett

FoGCML Marketing and Committee Member

Bridging the Gap – Press Release

Great Central Railway ‘Bridging the Gap’

Bridge Installation

Saturday 2nd Sept 2017

Overnight – From 23.00 hrs – 07.00 hrs

Update: The timings for the first lift are subject to change but currently expected to be around 00:30.

 

Press Release 

It will be a night to remember! The Great Central Railway’s long held ambition to reunite two halves of the line will take a huge step forward with the installation of a key bridge in Loughborough. On the night of Saturday 2nd September, in a moment rail enthusiasts have campaigned decades to see, a 1000 tonne crane will install the new steel bridge deck across two concrete abutments.

The new bridge will one day carry Great Central Railway heritage trains over the tracks of the Midland Main Line below. As one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects undertaken by a heritage railway, ‘Bridging the Gap’ will reinstate approximately 500 metres of missing embankment, track and bridges – all of which were removed after the Great Central Railway was closed as part of a major rationalisation of the railway network by the Government of the day.

When the whole project is complete it will create an eighteen mile heritage railway stretching across the East Midlands which will create jobs and drive regeneration through tourism.

GCR’s CEO, Richard Patching stated ‘This is an exciting night for the Great Central Railway. For over 40 years, our supporters and friends have dreamt of work starting on the reunification of the line.  We hope to continue raising funds to complete the project and finally join the two railways.  We would like to thank our many supporters who have enabled us to get to this stage’.  Phil Stanway, Director of GCRN added’ As this first phase of the reunification project reaches an exciting climax, what was once deemed nothing more than a dream moves one step closer.  The bridge installation is testimony to all who have contributed so far’.

The operation to lower the bridge deck into place will start as soon as possession of the Midland Main Line is granted by Network Rail at approximately 23.00 hrs and work will continue throughout the night to be completed by 07.00 hrs when the trains start operating again on the Midland Mainline.

The project is managed by FJD Construction on behalf of GCR and work has taken place in collaboration with Network Rail who have supported the project and monitored the work to ensure there is no disruption to the main line operation. Contractors MPB have been on site since February 2017 constructing the abutments and preparing the site for this historic event.

Meanwhile Moore Steel of Peterborough have manufactured the bridge deck and will deliver the sections to site shortly before the installation work starts.

The crane arrived on site on 24th August, transported in sections and assembled on site in preparation for the bridge installation.

Rob McIntosh Route Director of Network Rail said ‘We are delighted to be supporting GCR with this exciting and ambitious project which will provide a real boost to tourism for the region.”

At a cost of £2.5m, this element of the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project is the most complex and has taken a number of years to complete, with funding provided through a combination of donations from GCR and GCRN supporters, a £1m grant from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and £250,000 worth of shares purchased by Leicestershire County Council. Nick Pulley, Chair of the LLEP said, ‘The LLEP Growth Deal has been extremely successful for the Leicester and Leicestershire area and we are really excited by this unique project which supports the creation of an 18 mile mainline railway from Leicester to Ruddington (Nottingham South).  The GCR project will open up significant commercial and tourism opportunities to increase visitors by 60,000 per year.  In fact, this is the biggest investment in a heritage railway in the UK’.

 


Supporters who are intending to view the installation works should please view our Bridge Installation Safety Notes.


 

Bridge to the Future – Crane assembly begins

The 1,000 Tonne crane which will be used to lift the deck of our new bridge across the Midland Main Line into place is now arriving at the construction site in sections.

The bridge deck is being fabricated off-site and is expected to be lifted into place when the Midland Main Line is closed to traffic.

For the latest updates see www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

Our next running day

This Weekend
Two steam locomotives and one diesel loco are in action this weekend.

BR Standard 5 73156 Stanier 8F 48624 (as 48476)
Class 33 D6535





Subscribe to our newsletter

Make a donation

To make a donation to our supporting charity click the Donate button below

Donate to the Charity

Main Line Xtra

If you are a Friend of the Great Central Railway, you can access Main Line Xtra which provides additional news, special offers and features. To access Main Line Xtra click here

Want to become a Friend? Join now by clicking here

Special Events

This is a selection of our special events, to see the full list, click here

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016

Visit England Quality Assured Attraction