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£15m GCR reunification plan announced

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by railway, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    I don't think anyone has suggested that volunteer labour won't be used, where it's possible to do so - the extensive signalling installation at Swithland is a great example of a project that has used minimal labour from 'outside'. Indeed, design and installation of some sort of signalling scheme will be a key part of the extension - and look at how much even a minor signalling change costs on the national network!

    There's one big difference between the NYMR's Bridge 30 and the GCR's 'gap' is the presence of a four-track railway that will surely need to be blocked completely for something approaching a full weekend - and that's not going to be cheap! The significant embankment (or other structure - not sure of the final details) to the south of the MML bridge would probably be beyond the capability of volunteers on their own too.

    Finally, where do the volunteers come from? I've no doubt that large numbers might be able to be mustered for certain significant events that need a great deal of manpower, but for the 'routine' works, week after week, we've got to remember that we've still got a railway to run, and that we're already stretched to do that in some areas...
     
  2. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Why the pessimism? There must be a very good reason why there's so much noise coming from the GCR at the moment about the gap, and i suspect it has something to do with what it says on their website - "The Link 1 scheme - as it is now tagged - is set to go ahead with private funding and minimal reliance on public funding, based of course on current negotiations bearing fruit."

    This would tally with what we've heard in the past about them lining up private money for the bridge pre-recession, and although it will only produce the link between the two lines i imagine it will make it much easier to find the rest of the funding.

    Chris
     
  3. Orion

    Orion New Member

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  4. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    It's a real shame that the material excavated from the Bluebell can not be used to make up the GCR embankment.. Yes I know it's waste and would never be allowed under a load bearing embankment, but still it would have been an ideal opportunity.
     
  5. tfftfftff86

    tfftfftff86 New Member

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    Lots of local authorities backing the scheme (if not financially), and the local MP bigging it up as "much more than an enhancement to a heritage railway". Swanage Railway has already committed to a future that will include service trains from Swanage to the London-Weymouth main line - in fact that's what the society was originally set up to achieve. I wonder if the GCR (South) also foresees itself being integrated into the local transport infrastructure.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Costs on Network Rail always seem outrageously high, to me. It was the same in coal mining when I was involved. There is a culture that expects and accepts high costs.
    At some point in the future, Network Rail will probably require a closure for their own purposes and the lift can be coordinated. Anyhow, it isn't going to take a weekend to drop a bridge into position. With organisation, it can be done in one lift. Even if the decking is separate, it's installation can be coordinated.
    There are lots of volunteers out there who have no real interest in railways or running them but seek a different fix. Bridging the gap may excite a totally new group of like-minded volunteers.
     
  7. MartinBall

    MartinBall New Member

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    Are there any major trackbed issues (bridges, encroachment) that would stop a long-term future expansion back to Sheffield?
     
  8. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Major development in Nottingham, some info:
    http://www.leverton.org/tunnels/notts-gcr/
     
  9. 46118

    46118 New Member

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    Obstacles towards Sheffield?...The M1 motorway for a start. Definite no-go .
     
  10. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    well just to get into Nottingham city centre a new bridge over the River Trent would be required...
     
  11. Ianb47306

    Ianb47306 New Member

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    And which bit of the M1 might that be? As far as I can think of, the only place the GCR crosses the M1 north of Loughborough is just to the south of Tibshelf services where the bridge still survives. I expect a lot of work would be required but I wouldn't see it as a major issue.

    There are far more significant problems such as those at Nottingham which have already been mentioned (Bridge over River Trent, various viaducts, tunnels, Nottingham Victoria etc etc), various cuttings which have been infilled in the Pilsey area and more recently the total demolition and redevelopment of Staveley Central. (Up till the last year or so most of the platforms survived here but the council decided the build a new link road through the site - thereby obliterating what remained. Said link road will probably not be finished in the economic climate so it has achieved very little in my opinion. The road also uses a stretch of trackbed to the south of the station too.)

    The Chesterfield loop I expect would be near impossible to reinstate as the Chesterfield by-pass uses the former Chesterfield Central site. Further north from this the trackbed is part of the transpennine trail so it is not totally lost, however various bridges have been removed/replaced and just to the north of Killamarsh Central a housing estate encroaches onto the former up line. With the future redevelopment of Killamarsh Central I fear a lot of the trackbed could be lost here. Near Beighton Junction the GCR crossed the North Midland line and the old girder bridge would require serious refurbishment or replacement, then the trackbed is again lost as it briefly dissapears through fields etc... After this there aren't really any issues as the line is still in use north of Beighton. The Royal Victoria hotel has encroached onto the former alignment at Sheffield Victoria though so an alternative arrangement would ahve to be put into place here - trains could of course terminate in Sheffield Midland though if the Woodhead route wasn't reinstated too.

    All in all to reinstate northwards of the current GCR operation it isn't all that feasible but never say never. South of Loughborough is a totally different matter and I really do not know what a task that'd be - I expect crossing Leicester would be interesting though since most have the trackbed there has disspeared.
     
  12. John2

    John2 New Member

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    The GCR was severed by the M1 at Heath. There was no bridge provided and it was a race against time to recover the track before the route was truncated by the motorway.

    John.
     
  13. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    Bits of the trackbed through Leicester are intact, but some has been built on. The main problem getting to Leicester Central would be that the line was built largely on an embankment resulting in several bridges, most of which have now been removed.
     
  14. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I suspect that talk of extra extensions and the blockages that would prevent "preservations" mean that such schemes could only be undertaken as part of a national reinstatement scheme, which is very unlikely at present.

    Even the "Link 1" scheme aims to take the GCR from being a heritage railway or even a line that provides "tourist transport" into a "modern" working railway with heritage services also running - almost like the West Highland or Grosmont to Whitby in the operating season but probably with more "modern" traffic, with the added attraction that at least the existing stations will have a heritage experience.

    Over the years, a number of railways have had "opportunities" to rejoin the public transport network - or, as many members in each case have seen them, a "threat" to the heritage railway they know. Even the extension of the service on the NYMR over Grosmont to Whitby was met which concern in some areas that it would change the nature of the Railway.

    Whilst I am sure that most people involved with the GCR would welcome bridging the gap, will they be quite so keen if this can only be achieved by whar could be seen as "surrendering" "their" railway to a modern freight and communter operation?

    Of course, if I correctly understand the reorganisation of recent years on the GCR, the Railway no longer "belongs" to the members, so I don't know how much influence they may have on whether this progresses even if funding is available. (And one has to suspect whoever provides the £15 million will end up having a major say over the future of the GCR).

    Steven
     
  15. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    I dont see any need for concern, with a 25mph limit there's never going to be regular commuter trains to compete with the MML and semi-regular freight could arguably only add to the experience of a real mainline, especially if the reversals make it cost effective for the GCR itself to haul stone trains using heritage traction, if only to the MML link.

    Of course this is where the benefit of double track throughout shows - there should be plenty of room for steam hauled heritage trains even with freight and commuter services should they ever come about.

    Chris
     
  16. Black Jim

    Black Jim New Member

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    If this all comes about, & I sincerly hope it does, then there should be a case for raising the 25mph limit. I think on some of the major railways this is akin to the red flag that was discontinued for road traffic in 1898 .
    It was a good deal to get your LRO, in say 1975 , but is now out of date.
     
  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Any railway can apply to have its line speed raised. It's the conditions attached to doing so that prevents it. The 25mph speed limit exempts heritage railways from a lot of the requirements imposed on the big railway and I don't think that anyone involved would consider it worthwhile. Replacement or modification of mk1 coaches being just one big hurdle to overcome.
     
  18. Black Jim

    Black Jim New Member

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    Yes , but I dont mean impose 'big railway' rules on heritage rlws. Just up the line speed a bit to something more sensible within the heritage railway framework. Nothing complicated about it!
     
  19. dace83

    dace83 New Member

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  20. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Had an informal conversation with an HMRI Inspector who suggested that full track curcuiting, working AWS and working sanders (!) would be what he would be looking for for 40mph operation (with the usual caveats of maintenance records on stock and track, competency, safe systems of work, safety case etc etc)
     

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