GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY REUNIFICATION: NEXT PHASE OF WORK GETS UNDERWAY
THOUSANDS OF POUNDS SAVED AS LEADING CONSULTANTS
SPONSOR HISTORIC CANAL BRIDGE SURVEY
Survey work has taken place on a disused Victorian bridge over the Grand Union canal in Loughborough as the Great Central Railway steps up its reunification project. XEIAD, a specialist civil engineering consultancy examined the bridge, which dates from the late 1890s, to determine how much work will be required before it can carry steam trains again.
The Great Central Railway is planning to reunite two sections of the former Main Line to create an eighteen mile heritage line between Nottingham and Leicester. Already the two halves of the railway are working in partnership with Network Rail to build a new bridge across the Midland Main Line, which is the key component of the missing 500 metres of track that needs to be rebuilt.
With the recent announcement of two grants of half a million pounds from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, the GCR is now accelerating its plans to reunify the railways. Attention is now turning to other parts of the project including the repairs to the canal bridge. Unlike the bridge over the Midland Line it wasn’t demolished after the closure of the railway but it is in a state of disrepair. XEIAD sponsored the survey providing two its of trained engineers for two days, work which would have otherwise cost tens of thousands of pounds. Besides measuring and photographing the structure they were also able to use a pontoon on the canal to examine the underside of the bridge decks in detail.
Bill Ford, the Managing Director of the Great Central Railway said, “We are extremely grateful to XEIAD. Their professional team have kick started the next phase of our exciting reunification project. The report they produce will help us draw up detailed plans to repair the bridge which in turn will allow us to cost the work and most importantly, get it underway! In years to come our heritage trains will make a fine site crossing the bridge.”
Olivier Garrigue, Chief Executive Officer of XEIAD said “XEIAD are delighted to be among the many partners who actively support the redevelopment of the Great Central Railway project. We recently had the opportunity to inspect and assess the condition of the Canal Bridge and will continue to contribute in all ways we can. We found that the elements of the structure we inspected ranged from a fair condition to some requiring repairs but nothing that cannot be achieved if we all pull together.”
The reunification project is expected to cost six and a half million pounds. Besides the award from the Local Growth Fund, the GCR is currently raising one million pounds to build the new bridge across the Midland Main Line with Network Rail. The work must be completed before the Midland line is electrified. Five hundred and ninety thousand pounds has now been raised.
Bill continued, “The reunification project is really gathering pace. We must now raise the remaining money to complete the construction of the Main Line bridge. Our Local Growth Fund grant can’t be spent on that part of the project. Thankfully railway enthusiasts across the country and the local community has been very generous and we hope that will continue. Then we look forward to making rapid progress on the rest of the infrastructure required for the project.”
Trains could be running over the new link along the full length of the 18 mile railway within a few years subject to finance being available.
Send a cheque made payable to the David Clarke Railway Trust and marked ‘Bridge Appeal’ to Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 1SL
Or donate on line using a credit or debit card at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify
XEIAD, formerly Bridgezone Limited, is a civil engineering consultancy specialising in difficult access. We are engineers with extensive experience in rope access, diving and confined spaces. We are also developing the use of Remotely Operated Aerial Vehicles (ROAVs) to complement our inspection procedures. We undertake a wide range of Inspections, Assessments, Surveys, Non-Destructive Testing & Intrusive Investigations, Design and Project Management. Our teams have a unique experience inspecting structures such as bridges, culverts, retaining walls, tunnels and shafts working across a wide range of industry sectors: We help asset owners and managers keep critical infrastructure safe, reduce risk and maintenance costs as well as extend asset life.
Sample more than 50 real ales at our 3 day beer festival! Soak up the beer and soak up the atmosphere of yesteryear. Stand and watch the trains go by or drink on the move!
Find more information on our event page
Meet Great Central Railway’s pirates and princesses and why not dress up as your favourite pirate or princess! For more information and to book on line, please visit our event page
A stunning new calendar featuring 12 beautifully reproduced ‘Night Steam’ images from the GCR has just gone on sale. The photographs are incredible – the work of talented photographer Andrew Rapacz. It’s a whole new way to see the GCR – a splendid recreation of a Main Line at night. The front cover and image of GWR King, No 6023 King Edward II here are just examples, and can only hint at the high quality of the calendar.
Andrew has donated his time to compile the calendar himself. Friends of the Great Central Main Line have sponsored the printing costs. This collection can give you a whole year of pleasure for just £10. Even better, ALL the proceeds go directly to our Bridge to the Future appeal. Haven’t made a donation to our Bridge appeal yet? Or do you want to get your Christmas shopping started early? Head down to Loughborough station Emporium today. There is a strictly limited stock and once they are gone, they are gone. Don’t miss out on the talking point of your wall space for the next year!
66753 replaces 66755 at our DIESEL GALA this weekend due to availability. This will be the loco’s first passenger workings!
You can now get your tickets for our Autumn Steam Gala, 2nd – 5th October. Get 10% off if you book before 20th September!
Topping the bill is D49 62712 “Morayshire” and BR Standard 4 76084 alongside seven of GCR’s home fleet. For more information and to book, visit the event page
Volunteer members of the Boscastle team will be offering informative tours of the Loughborough Locomotive Shed (not normally open to visitors) on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September.
Tour times are on the half-hour and on the hour from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm – except 1.00 pm (guides’ lunch break). Party size is limited to 12, with only one group in the shed at any one time: best chances are on the hour.
Tour lasts half an hour: please allow 10 mins. to walk to the shed prior to the tour and 10 mins. to walk back again.
YOUR CHANCE TO SEE RESTORATION, OVERHAUL AND REPAIR WORK IN PROGRESS AND HEAR ABOUT THE PLACE OF ‘BOSCASTLE’ IN THE STORY OF THE GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY.
There is no charge for the tour, but donations towards the overhaul of Rebuilt ‘West Country’ Class 4-6-2 no. 34039 Boscastle will be much appreciated. Illustrated Shed Guidebook available for £3, only from your Guide – a unique ‘Boscastle’ publication.
PLEASE NOTE: Visitors are required to be in possession of valid GCR travel tickets or platform tickets. Tours are not suitable for children under 6, or for pushchairs.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Toy & Train Fair on 7th September has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.