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Bridge that Gap: Great Central Railway News

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Gav106, May 8, 2010.

  1. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    This is fantastic news! If the re-connection wasn't absolutely certain before, if definitely is now. (No way the government's going to put in £1M and have the project wind up getting stuck part-way done.)

    I wonder what the money will be used for - part payment for the bridge over the mainline, the embankment reinstatement, the new road bridge, refurbishing the canal/A60 bridges, or just general planning and works? (Some of more than one, probably; the ones with the longest lead time, I would assume.)

    The other good thing is that hopefully this news will give a shot in the arm to the railway's own £1M fund-raising effort (as they point out, they need to match the government's money).

    Noel
     
  2. frazoulaswak

    frazoulaswak Well-Known Member

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    Great news indeed, and I'm now rather optimistic about being able to tick off an item that's close to the top of my personal railway preservation bucket list - a steam hauled journey from Leicester North to Ruddington (Nottingham South?) and back.
    It is also interesting that, according to the full news item on the GCR's website, the projected budget for reunification is now £6.5 million. So with funds already raised in the Bridge to the Future appeal and the grant, they're already close to a quarter of the way there.
    Cheers,
     
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  3. 45045

    45045 New Member

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    Please do not fall into the trap my managers seem to do every time. You need to understand the cost estimate and when and how it was produced. Eg, if the estimate was done in 2013 and stated as £6.5 million, then when the project is completed in say 2018, if you add up the actual money spent it could be £7 million. But it could be under the estimate. That is because of inflation etc. You must compare costs to the original basis ie 2013 £ not 2018£. Then there is the class of estimate, eg -20 +30% accuracy. Without knowing the basis and accuracy that was used, you cannot state how close they are to the total required. Cost estimation is an artform, they are referred to as "guessers" at our company :)
    I hope this is a successful project. Good luck
     
  4. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Great news to hear, this grant combined with 1m appeal for the bridge will give the reunification project a great start. Still a way to go before we can see trains crossing that said bridge, but we're certainly well on the way now.

    Having said that, I'm still curious to see how and when they'll deal with the elephant in the room for this project though; being the no small issue of moving their operation/workshop sheds to a new location.

    That has to be high on the agenda too surely? Still, one step at time and matters do seem to be running relatively smoothly for this ambitious project.
     
  5. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  6. Sym33

    Sym33 New Member

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    There is room for a single track, though it would require the removal of storage wagon bodies and containers.
     
  7. Raimondo

    Raimondo New Member

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    My understanding too was that there is sufficient clearance around the current shed for a single line to connect the two halves. As the new bridge itself is to be single track - and the new embankment too - then it really makes no difference if it is single along side the shed as well. Therefore the current location of the shed is not a short-term problem.

    However, I think there is still a long-term plan to relocate the shed to another site. When built in the early 70s it was surrounded by either industrial or derelict land. Forty years on it is now surrounded by residential houses, hence the need agreed by both GCR and Charnwood Borough Council to find a new site.

    The proposal was to re-locate to the landfill area near the MML via a chord off the new link, but that idea had to be dropped after investigations proved the landfill site couldn't support the weights required - or something like that!

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    The shed in the early days

    http://simonwhittinghamphotography.zenfolio.com/p438759674/h3b58f8d7#h3b58f8d7
    http://simonwhittinghamphotography.zenfolio.com/p438759674/h3f44631a#h3f44631a
     
  9. oddsocks

    oddsocks Member

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    The shed site before the line closed. Sorry about the lack of quality, it's a Brownie 127 shot. The bridge just behind the denuded signal post is the canal bridge, after that is the now removed stretch of embankment.
    quiz1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
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  10. frazoulaswak

    frazoulaswak Well-Known Member

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    Even if there is space beside the shed to run a line of rails past it, the space restrictions would require some rather awkward trackwork on the approach to Empress Road bridge and to regain the original alignment before reaching the Grand Union Canal bridge. If it were a model railway, you'd just move the shed to one side instead...
     
  11. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Could be interesting if a job is being finished on a lathe and a train goes past. Vibration!!
     
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  12. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think this has been discussed previously, but how do the working memberships of the two sections of the GCR view the major change to "their" bit of the Railway that a through service will bring?

    I know it is a few years off, but, from bitter experience, I can tell you that keeping the troops on side with a vision that will change the way their Railway works and the work they do can be major challenge and is best factored in as things progress rather than being an "Oh s**t - better do that now" at the end when the nay-sayers will already have had a clear run at ensuring nobody likes the idea!

    Steven
     
  13. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    I'd agree that it's better to begin planning sooner than later. As someone's already mentioned, having a single track run along side the shed would prove tricky getting it lined up with the canal bridge.

    Plus there is the simple fact as well that, once this great project is complete, it's going to be bit of downer to the celebrations when the first train leaves or enters Loughborough Central via the bridge, only to have a big old tin shed spoiling the view of the proceedings...
     
  14. frazoulaswak

    frazoulaswak Well-Known Member

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    Would there really be that much change in the immediate aftermath of reunification?
    At best, the GCR(N) can currently only manage to run three or four round trips on 65 days during its 2014 operating season - due, perhaps, to a lack of volunteer resources and the intermittent freight services on the southern half of their line. It is also effectively a nine mile long single line with one passing place. The GCR does manage to operate about twice as many trains every weekend throughout the year as well as six round trips on another 73 weekdays. So to start with, it is likely that the two railways would continue to operate pretty much as they do now, with the one significant change being that the GCR(N) would run to Loughborough Central, rather than stopping on an embankment on the northern outskirts of the town. Other things being equal, with some adjustment to timetables and stock diagrams, some through services might be run on weekends between April and October, either with a DMU or with a loco change at Loughborough Central, using diesel power on the GCR(N) and steam on the GCR.
     
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  15. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I would imagine that the reunification of the two lines will be a catalyst to get the northern line upgraded, signalling and track wise, to allow more trains to run. Doesn't seem to be much point in building the bridge if you are not going to make maximum use of it.
     
  16. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

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    Well, it has been determined that the formation will be single track by the time it reaches the new Bridges 328 (over the Midland route) and 329 (Railway Terrace). However there is still a quarter-of-a-mile of formation between there and the current location of the loco shed, and, from an operational point of view, there is a great deal of advantage to be had extending the double track as far to the north of Loughborough Central as is possible - and certainly beyond the current location of the loco shed.

    In order to get the track through the westernmost span of Bridge 332, which it would have to go through to clear the shed, the junction would of necessity be some way to the south of that bridge - barely 200 yards past the current Down Platform Starting signals.

    Other than the loco shed there is very little to prevent the double track extending 100-150 yards north of Bridge 331 over the canal. The design of the bridge itself, which is unusual for the London Extension in as much as the central girder is common to both Up and Down lines, means that it will cost considerably less to restore both sides than 200% of a single side only. The quarter-of-a-mile of extra double track between these two possible locations for the junction would make a massive amount of difference to the operational capability of the remodelled Loughborough.

    The line south of Loughborough is, operationally, extremely well equipped, with the ability to handle a considerable number of trains, and the flexibility to permit degraded working to be not too degraded. To the north, however, it is essentially a single track with little or no signalling and, with the best will in the world, this situation is unlikely to change significantly before through services become a possibility. Being brutally realistic - it will take decades before the line to the north can operate with anything approaching the flexibility of that to the south, and longer still before it has comparable capacity.

    Having the junction south of the existing shed is tantamount to an open invitation for operational mayhem on any day when more than one or two trains are run as a through service to the north of Loughborough. There is plenty of scope for a train delayed "down the branch" to bring Loughborough to a total standstill, and taking some scenarios, for example significant delays during one of the GCR's famously intensive gala timetables, to the extreme, to gridlock the entire line.

    The GCR already has an operational pinch point to the south of Rothley, where the current single line to Birstall commences. By necessity it appears they will end up with another, with this one at the single busiest point of the line. To fail now to ensure that everything possible is done to mitigate the risk to services that this future restriction poses may well see generations of railwaymen, yet to be born, banging their heads against the cab wall / handbrake wheel / lever frame / operations desk and cursing their forebears !

    So yes, the loco shed is the elephant in the room, but there are places where it could go - with a little bit of blue skies thinking and the usual vast piles of cash :-( In my opinion its relocation should be considered to be a project deliverable though. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well, after all . . .

    D_S
     
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  17. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

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    Absolutely, but these things take a massive amount of time, and quite a lot of money. Or, if you bring in contractors, quite a lot of time and massive amounts of money.

    The signalling of Swithland Sidings required 9 years from flash to bang. The smaller installation at Quorn, 6 years. Resignalling Loughborough to allow the new line to be used will require significant expenditure of resources, and there is not an inexhaustible supply of signalling equipment in stock - and less and less becomes available each year. And you can only start on that once PW have worked their very expensive and very heavy black magic !

    Bear in mind that there is not a single commissioned, or complete, signalling installation on the line north of Loughborough Central. Once you head north of Bridge 332 you are, in infrastructure terms, back in 1972 . . . Catalyst or no, it will take decades to bring things in to line.
     
  18. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Drop_Shunt does make a strong point about extending the double track north of Loughborough Central as far as possible, not just from an operational point of view but an aesthetic one too.

    With the main bridge being single track, the hope of a continuous double track heritage railway is now very unlikely. That's not big issue really though, as there are several mainline routes that have to squeeze to single track for a short run, the Edinburgh to Glasgow line for example.

    If they want to retain the feel of a mainline though, the double track ideally needs to run as far north from Loughborough Central as possible to keep the illusion, as you'll only see so far north, have the single track section far away enough and you won't even see it. This is from the station platform poit of view anyway.

    Plus as already mentioned, it would give a lot of added flexibility, allowing one train to leave heading north while another can come in from south simultaneously, much like how Bewdley South and North section works on the SVR for example.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  19. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I agree that moving the shed to allow a double line would be nice, but that won't be free. Is there any indication that the GCR will in fact do so (i.e. that it will have the resources/manpower/etc - because I'm fairly sure that 'in theory' they are likely equally desirous of so doing).

    Noel
     
  20. frazoulaswak

    frazoulaswak Well-Known Member

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    You have to be a member and have signed up to Mainline Xtra to read them, but in the first of two items about the recent survey of the canal bridge (undertaken on 8th & 9th July) it is stated that plans are being drawn up for the double track section to extend from Loughborough Central, across the canal bridge before becoming single track before reaching a new bridge across Railway Terrace, much as was outlined by Drop_Shunt in post number 216 above.
    Nothing has been said about what would happen to the existing engine shed though.
     

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