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£15m GCR reunification plan announced

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

  1. mogulb

    mogulb New Member

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    The plan is for double track as far as I know. But this could change to reduce costs, unfortunately it would not halve the cost and if only constructed as single track , doubling later would be very difficult.
     
  2. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

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    Its best to build a twin track bridge (if money permits) now, than adding an additional crossing later.

    I really hope they can find the cash somewhere.

    Great Western.
     
  3. INSPIRATION

    INSPIRATION New Member

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    I dont see how it will create 200 new jobs really, Some of the hype Nigel Harris created on the radio about it just seemed like a pipe dream, out of proportion and aiming way too big! The GCR still seems to be struggling to break even and manage what its got already in a sustainable way.

    The recent idea of bringing some of the NRM engines to the GCR has been announced too early IMO, to the non-enthusiast I think this just makes a parody of it and appear like; "give us trainspotters some money so we can play trains even more" or words to that effect.

    basically looking at the heritage aspect again rather than the more sensible and realistic commercial one.

    We'll see what happens
     
  4. mogulb

    mogulb New Member

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    May I politely suggest you do a bit more research before you come out with such sweeping statements or talk to Nigel Harris, I am sure he would be delighted to put you right.
    All the research and work already done has been independantly verified and the case for the gap is based on the commercial plan alone.

    The NRM statement just adds more support to the project, certainly it would benefit the GCR.

    I hasten to add I have no connection with the gap project and live 140 miles away, but it deserves to succeed and needs everybody getting behind it.
     
  5. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the project deserves to succeed and, if there is seen to be a return on investment, then it will. Money is very tight at present but commerce is still rolling on so, to contradict my last post a little if I may, if there are sound financial reasons other than just lengthening a piece of heritage railway line (and I believe that it is clearly more than that) then clearly things will happen. It is in many peoples' interest for it to do so, not just heritage railway supporters. The linking of 2 cities for a start. Most unfortunate that the infrastructure was not preserved but we are where we are!
     
  6. INSPIRATION

    INSPIRATION New Member

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    The two cities are already linked by the MML with frequent train services, Birstall and Ruddington are well outside of the city centres. what the point in duplicating a route already available elsewhere. Isnt that the reason the GC route was closed by the likes of Barbara Castle?

    So why was the NRM issue mentioned if it wasnt necersary, and other companies will be using the bridge for commercial use. Why should a grant be made to help presumably Lafarge and Gypsum.
     
  7. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    There's nothing unusual about grants for freight infrastructure, it helps offset the start-up costs of new or increased flows. Besides, even if the grant was given to the GCR they would still need to invest even if they didnt contribute to the cost of the bridge directly or indirectly through a track access charge, which i find unlikely; its certainly not a free lunch for Lafarge.

    Chris
     
  8. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the current plans don't take the GCR into either of the city centres and I'll admit that is not ideal. However, the World has moved on since the GCR was closed in the 1960s, the population growth and geographic distribution for a start.
     
  9. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Member

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    According to Heritage Railway Online, the GCRD Co. was unsuccessful in obtaining the £2.5 million grant from the Regional Growth Fund. Whilst a successful application would have attracted private investment to make the link a reality sooner, I personally still believe that the two railways will be reunited in future. Its a case of when finances are available, not if it can be done.
     
  10. 45581

    45581 Member

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    I do feel that the GCR people do 'talk the talk' , it's not long since they were full of the rebuilding of Workington shed but suddenly it all goes very quiet.

    They seem to rely heavily on galas every month with a plethora of visiting locos that must cost a fortune to move in, do they actually carry many passengers on normal services?

    I am not convinced of the viabilty of an enlarged GCR with all the extra costs that it will entail, it's not as if the scenery is any better further north.
     
  11. raven_180

    raven_180 New Member

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    I'm pretty sure that if the line was extended, the sheer length of it would make it among the premier lines in the country. You will be merging the numbers that already regularly visit both railways, and anyone that doesn't know the heritage movement, looks for variety. Any line that can boast linking two cities, having good length of double track, and running the amount of big engines that they do would surely take some of the visitors that would currently see the SVR or NYMR as the line to visit over a day out or weekend. This is not mention the fantastic restoration of stations like Rothley.

    Also think about the amount of possiblity for Santa specials. The sheer local customer base for these would be enormous.

    The galas that they put on at the minute are definately the busiest point, and no doubt they do cost a lot. But yet the GCR still sees massive profits from these. I have no idea how profitable normal operations are, but if done right, and with the possibilities of services they would be able to open up, I think the re connecting of the two railways could only be a good thing.
     
  12. sche

    sche New Member

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    45581 you are so far behind with the news, I am not even going to warrant your post with a reply. Try, knowing what you are talking about before posting on here on topics you clearly have done no research on.
     
  13. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not so sure that it is possible to say that because the revised GCR will be the length of the WSR, SVR or NYMR it will inevitably be successful, or the the effect on visitor numbers will be additive for the two sites! Yes, it will link two cities, but the GCR is already within a relatively short distance of both, and part of the problem as I see it is that Leicester in particular has quite a large ethnic community with, in general, little or no interest in steam railways. What the other lines you mention have is rural scenery in abundance rather than much of the line having an urban backdrop, and they are also situated in tourist areas, where people are looking for things to do whilst on holiday.
     
  14. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    While I know that there are problems with the proposed site for Workington Shed, unless things have improved greatly in recent years, 45581 seems to paint a reasonably accurate picture of GCR operations. Examination of the 2011 Timetable could lead to a similar conclusion, with only 2 weeks of daily running and more Special Events at first glance than anything else!

    Incidently, "taking visitors" from other lines could end up with none of the lines viable without necessarily making the GCR viable either. Whilst a longer GCR might attract more enthusiasts, it could be argued that general visitor - the bulk of most heritage lines income - can be deterred by too long a journey. Enthusiats will generally try to visit their favourite lines on a regular basis and whilst something new might get an extra visit, I am not sure that it would lead to an ongoing boost. It must also be pointed out that the SVR and NYMR turn out a good number of big engines and on a daily basis for May to September or longer!

    Don't get me wrong - I wish the GCR well and agree that its recreation of a double track mainline is a unique contribution to presenting the history of steam railways in the UK, but the fact is that it isn't in a tourist area and of the 5 busiest standard gauge lines, only the SVR could be seen as not being in a tourist area. Indeed, i suspect that the detail behind the reunification project is relying on a number of sources of income that are not tourist train related.
     
  15. mogulb

    mogulb New Member

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    We seem to meandering off subject at times with this. If you want factual information as to the current progress with the gap you could always join the GCR. Full details: http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/Friends/. Great value for money. To try and close out some of the points made and get as back to real issue.
    To suggest that as the GCR was closed in the 60s, no traffic would exist today is strange as the world has rather changed. Although closed by the then transport minister Barbara Castle, the death warrant was effectively signed by BR LMR (they had two other main lines to look after) in the late 50's as through traffic and freight were diverted elsewhere, followed by Beeching recommending complete closure. Rugby to Arkwright Street was never sustainable then.
    The NRM announcement seems to have come as complete surprise to the gap team as should be viewed as yet more support.
    If cash from the government can go to Vauxhall in Luton and other firms elsewhere, why not the GCR Gap and indirectly helping Lafarge and British Gypsum.
    The whole financial case for the gap has been on commercial grounds only.
    Yes both parts of the GCR will benefit hugely in the long run, the sum of the two will generate far more passengers, by creating a heritage corridor linking a variety of attractions can only give a big boost to the area. Seems to me this may well be one of the reason the local authorities and all others around are backing the gap project.
    OK Leicestershire scenery is not Yorkshire but it’s not bad.
    As to the GCR making big announcements and then nothing happening you had better look at Loughborough canopy, Butler Henderson restaurant and the Mount Sorrel branch rather a lot happening, or give it a couple of months and you will see a start on the Quorn turntable as well. You could even venture down to the shed and see the fantastic work Craig, Tom and the engineering team are carrying out day in day out.
    The Workington shed proposed site is fraught with civil engineering difficulties and it needs most of the gap to be completed for a sensible access.
    Every railway in the country has made major announcements in the past and then it goes quiet, while vast amounts of confidential work goes on behind the scenes. The Bluebell has been talking about extending into East Grinstead for years, they are getting there now!
    Yet another small piece of the gap jigsaw arrived in Loughborough recently, the two bridges to replace the A60 Bridge. Could reduce the overall cost by a seven figure sum.
    All because of chance conversation and lot of hard work behind the scenes. Network Rail are behind the project as well.
    So let’s have support and informed suggestions, not uninformed digs.
    The GCR's motto was "Forward" and that is exactly where it is going.
     
  16. INSPIRATION

    INSPIRATION New Member

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    It’s clear that some projects have indeed moved the GCR "forward" in certain areas and plenty seems to be happening around GCR.
    However other areas at GCR have fell well behind in comparison to other railways in a similar league. Keeping up with managing and maintaining the existing GCR seems to be a constant struggle and the prospect of doubling the length of line and in turn doubling the maintenance, operating costs and staff required to do all this (just to name a few) doesn’t really make the future look that bright IMO.

    It would be interesting to know how the GCR would have been if there was never a northern section preserved; if the prospect of going either north of south was never an option. Obviously a way would have been sought to make the 8-mile heritage section pay and prosper without having the distraction of a large-scale expansion to somehow achieve this. I would much rather see a shorter line that can sustain itself and try to give the visitor the best possible experience and hospitality it can, than a long line that is always trying to get to this “ideal” somewhere out there but forgets to paint the carriges and cut the lineside trees down occasionally.
     
  17. sche

    sche New Member

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    Spoken like a true arm-chair critic, when was the last time you visited the GCR? 1980? How many coaches have you painted recently?

    The GCR is building a new cafe at Quorn, installing a turntable, replacing Loughborough canopy, had nine available operational engines on shed last weekend, has three on the mainline, one doing a stint at Ecclesbourne Valley, another just leaving for Lincolnshire Wolds, five within two years of being completed, just taken delivery of two more from Butterley, completed a five coach Pullman set, started relaying a branch line, will soon open a new signalbox, and just had two bridges delivered...

    Thats as well as built a new canopy at Leicester, opened a cafe at Rothley, installed a lift at Loughborough, bought and refurbished the Goods office (Lovatt House), completed two engines in the last 12 months....

    And... made a profit for three years (the first in the railways history)

    Had record turnouts at the last 3/4 gala's .... Yes, GCR are really struggling aren't they!!!
     
  18. 45581

    45581 Member

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    If I'm not very much mistaken most of what you have listed was paid for by the David Clarke Trust which contributed over £600,000 in the two years 2008/09 according to the returns made to the charities commission.
     
  19. mogulb

    mogulb New Member

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    As the DC Trust is the main fundraising body of the GCR, it is hardly surprising many projects on the railway are funded by the trust, their income comes from a variety of source many of which are specific appeals like Lovatt House and Loughborough Canopy.
    Many Heritage railways are set up this way having an operating company and supporting charity seems to work rather well.
    I really do think you should join the GCR so you can be fully informed. If you do and can confirm your membership number I will happily donate £50 to DC trust on top of donations and shares in the PLC I have already purchsed this year.
     
  20. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    All of which is fantastic but the GCR is just a big toy-box. It's at its best when all the engines are out running with their different trainsets and making full use of the line's enormous capacity.

    As a visitor attraction I'm not really sure what it has going for it. I can't think of a decent reason for visiting, it just isn't that exciting a railway when it's not running a gala. Tidying up Loughborough would be a start - it looks an awful dump.
     

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