If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Bridge that Gap: Great Central Railway News

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

  1. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,717
    Likes Received:
    840
    Phil, I don’t think anyone would deny that a main line link has its advantages. But they will never, ever show a return on the £millions being invested. To be fair, neither will joining with the GCRN, but there is at least an emotional case for doing that, which has mass appeal, and that (and not the main line link) is the reason that many, many people have put their hands in their pockets.
    If the powers that be can’t see that then they are on a hiding to nothing, quite frankly.

    I remain equally optimistic that the unification will happen, but I’m not currently so sure who will finish the job.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  2. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I'm sorry but I cannot see that having the main line link is stopping or delaying the reunification of the two parts of the GCR.
    For the GCR (S) to have access to the MML via that chord line to GCR(N) they must have bridged the "Gap" so the track must be reunified.....what am I missing?
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  3. Lplus

    Lplus Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,896
    Likes Received:
    970
    Location:
    Waiting it out.
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It isn't delaying it. It seems some feel that refusing to donate to the link unless there is an absolute commitment to full reunification will exert some sort of pressure on the management to make that commitment. A perfect example of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
     
    The Dainton Banker and NBDR Lock like this.
  4. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Thanks Lplus.
    I wonder if the confusion is in part due to the word "Reunification" and it's various meanings.(...plus the resonant effect of the internet!). I think we are mostly wanting the same thing ie rails joining the two parts of the preserved Great Central Railway that are used to carry trains the 18 mile length. However I think that some people also view reunification as the joining together of the GCR PLC and GCR(N) in the form of a takeover of the later by the former. I can understand that perspective because, as I wrote before - operationally it will have to be one railway with one set of rules. However both railways have coped well with numerous changes over the years MLPG/MLST/GCR Link/GCRDA/GCR(N) etc and with a friendly, co-operative, pragmatic approach, I'm sure we will achieve that shared ambition/vision of a preserved Main Line running between Nottingham and Leicester.....and for some trains we can "Change at Loughborough Central".....Let's get it Built.
    Re the MML link, again I think this is being misinterpreted. It is integral with the joining together, not an "either or" situation. True it may be possible to use the link for "specials" before full passenger train use of the full line length, but that we all (GCRPLC, GCR(N), EMRT,DCRT) want to see trains travelling across the (former) gap is not, seriously, in doubt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
    TseTT, AndyY, jnc and 1 other person like this.
  5. Forest Rail

    Forest Rail New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2012
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Hammer wielder!
    Location:
    Forest of Dean
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Personally I'll put my hand in my pocket and donate to help getting it built. Once it's built it's built, and the arguing can continue from there...
     
    TseTT and The Dainton Banker like this.
  6. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,717
    Likes Received:
    840
    What you are missing, Phil, or perhaps choosing to ignore, are the various comments from certain senior PLC people which cast doubt on the very thing you and I and so many others want to see.

    Now, personally, I have not received ‘Main Line’ yet so can only go on what others have said. But if what has been written casts any doubt on the PLC’s commitment to the cause then surely that puts funding and thus completion of *anything* in doubt. That should be obvious.

    If the official line was “main line connection and the odd special first, full service a couple of years later” then that would be realistic and simply managing expectations. But I don’t get the impression that that is the official line. At the moment I haven’t even seen any official acknowledgement that the loco shed needs to move (and a leaflet has been produced which implies it doesn’t!)

    I would love to believe that all of these official statements / articles / leaflets are merely the product of clumsiness and ineptitude and not indicative of a different emphasis, but I’m afraid the evidence currently available doesn’t support that hypothesis.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Landshrew, jnc, MellishR and 2 others like this.
  7. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I don't know what "certain senior PLC people" have said. I am not choosing to ignore, I am saying what I have read in Main Line, what is written in the Plc reports, what I see on the ground, what the new "Reunification" book states. It is all too easy to create a false impression....for positive or negative reasons. I do prefer to be positive and objective with my comments.
     
  8. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    67
    I don’t believe there is much doubt as to the definition of “Reunification” understood by the vast majority of the people who have supported and donated to the “bridging the gap” project over the years - the joining together of the two lines, and, most critically, the two organisations, in order to provide a meaningful and regular train service between Birstall and Ruddington.

    Reunification has never been generally understood to mean a mere end-on physical connection between the two sets of metals, solely for the aim of allowing the GCR access to the mainline connection, and if you *genuinely* believe otherwise then you have seriously misread the situation.

    The plc clearly want the mainline connection, but exhibit vanishingly little interest in any merger with the GCR(N). They must know full well that there is no provable business case that can be made to justify the work, despite what some may say, otherwise they would be able to obtain finance to carry it out. They will also be well aware of the considerable and long-standing emotional desire amongst supporters and staff of the two railways to reunite them, a small part of which would require achieving the plc’s desire for the main line connection. They must know that much, if not all, of that support would evaporate were they to be forthright about their intentions, hence the obfuscation and refusal to commit to reunification, whilst declining to (publicly) rule it out. It is not a new plan, either, and has been increasingly obvious since the effective collapse of GCR Link plc and the wholesale resignation of its directors who had been drawn from both sides of the gap to accomplish reunification.

    What we are seemingly seeing now is a new phase of beginning to “manage the expectations” of the projects supporters, by cynically exploiting the problems being experienced to the north. Tom Ingall is much more subtle that some others, but, highly experienced and considerably talented journalist that he is, I doubt he simply forgot to mention the GCR(N) or operational union in his Main Line article on Reunification, whilst also managing to refer to to the main line connection in every other sentence.

    Reunification, as understood by the greater majority, has always been about so much more than just “bridging the gap”, but how much have we heard recently of any of the many other considerable and lengthy tasks which would need to be completed to achieve it? The great tragedy is that almost all of the GCR(N)s troubles would be sorted out, almost overnight, by operational union and the adoption of standard policies and procedures across the two railways.
     
    Landshrew, AndyY, MellishR and 4 others like this.
  9. Lplus

    Lplus Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,896
    Likes Received:
    970
    Location:
    Waiting it out.
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    So this seems to mean - "I won't support the link because the present management don't seem interested in a merger between the two railways (which would actually require the link in order to operate successfully)"

    Two points:-

    Firstly - The management may have changed by the time any link is in place...

    Secondly - The presence of the link itself will make the possibility of a merger more likely.

    So whatever the present management say, building the link is both necessary for any actual merger and the link's compeletion would increase the likelihood of a merger in the future. Anyone who wants the merger should be donating to the link now and if necessary planning to change the management later.
     
    The Dainton Banker and jnc like this.
  10. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    1,534
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E sussex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Oh lordy. I can sense a WSR situation in the making here.
    To nip this in the bud, what is now needed is a joint statement made by spokesmen for the two railways to be made, to clarify intentions, and allay fears. This needs to be done soon, too, otherwise a great deal of undermining could be done by the gossip mill.
     
    staffordian, Landshrew, AndyY and 7 others like this.
  11. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    14,864
    Likes Received:
    11,919
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I get much of this, and want to see the greater GCR vision realised, which is why "bridging the gap" benefits from my standing order.

    However, I've also always understood that physical reunification - an embankment, track, some form of signalling to allow passenger trains to run - is only part of the challenge. Without casting any judgment as to whys and wherefores, the reality is that the two railways that would be joined by bridging the gap are very different to each other. Much as I'd like to see that unification "level up" GCR(N), whatever it's troubles may be, I don't want that to happen at the expense of (S). I've been an armchair member there for 15-odd years, and a major theme over that time has been the work to stabilise it economically. Reunification needs to build on that success, so that GCR(N) rises to the same level; it would be a tragedy if reunification undermined it.
     
    AndyY, jnc and Sheff like this.
  12. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Well said 35B ...and I'm sure your standing order - along with many others, is going to get the GCR reunified sooner rather than later. Needless to say, I hope that it will also lead to a revitalisation of the North, and that the whole 18 railway will flourish long into the future.
     
    AndyY, jnc, 35B and 1 other person like this.
  13. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    14,864
    Likes Received:
    11,919
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It will - but only for as long as the project is about creating a railway that can eventually operate as one, even if the decision is that it would occasionally be so. If momentum stalls at the point of a main line link for GCR(S), and that get treated as "good enough", then there are other causes I can easily transfer my giving to.
     
  14. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    882
    Likes Received:
    740
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Well, my copy of Main Line has duly arrived and having read the two articles in question, they didn't give me the impression that the sky was falling, and, if I hadn't seen the comments on here beforehand, I would just have read them as a matter of course without further thought. Yes the "Reunification" article seems to dwell rather a lot on the mainline connection in this edition, but nothing I would get excited about. The article by Michael Gregory, when you take the "unification" part in the context of everything else he has put in his half a page of text, I actually agree completely with what he has said!

    Something I found somewhat more significant - which hasn't been mentioned in this thread - is the brief section towards the back of the magazine (Page 93) which mentions that the ORR report on GCR(N) "identified serious concerns with the condition of Bridge 326, the bridge across the A60" (By Brush). The bridge is closed for rail traffic, isolating the line from Network Rail and presumably now depriving GCR(N) of any revenue from the freight trains that run to East Leake.
    GCR(N) are said to be working towards a solution, but this bridge, of course, is slated for a full refurbishment - including putting both bridge decks back in use - as the last (??) phase of the "Reunification" plan, as it has been known to need work for some time. Depending on the EMRT/GCR(N) ability to raise money for a, presumably, short term solution to get things running again, it looks like their long term access to the main Network could well be going to depend on the "Reunification" works programme anyway.........
     
    jnc likes this.
  15. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree with Johann's post!
    Another couple of points spring to mind about the bridge 326 situation - presumably, as it is still in use by NR for the gypsum trains, they will help to pay for repairs? Also the County Council were concerned about the limited clearance for road traffic, the bridge has been hit by lorries a few times I believe, so they may want extra clearance to be built in. Thus I hope the funding for bridge repairs/refurb/improvement may come from a variety of sources besides EMRT/GCR(N). This may well be a section of the Gap project completed in a shorter than anticipated timescale.
    Also significant was the announcement that the factory flyover fund total had reached over £375,000 by the beginning of November. That would indicate that the rate of donations was continuing to increase.
     
  16. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    14,864
    Likes Received:
    11,919
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    NR, or the gypsum trains? I'd be pleasantly surprised if the GCR(N) relationship with British Gypsum or the freight operator(s) were anything much more than straightforwardly commercial.
     
  17. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    882
    Likes Received:
    740
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I looked at the EMRT website and the map they publish on their site seems to indicate that the Stop Board - which I assume is the EMRT/NR boundary point - is between the bridge and the actual junction with the MML. If NR were in any way responsible for the A60 bridge, then they would have been the ones tackled by the ORR, not GCR(N)/EMRT.
    NR interest in those trains will cease the moment they pass off NR metals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
  18. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    1,826
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    thanks for that clarification Johann and 35B. That being the case, then the bridge will still need to get sorted a lot sooner to keep that traffic flowing?
     
  19. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    75
    If rail operations are currently paused from Network Rail that potentially places the GBRF freight flow at risk, I wonder how the lease is set up with whoever owns the line from the NWR boundary to the freight terminal, does NWR remain responsible for structures, or does the GCR(N) ?
    If it is GCR(N) who are responsible then it does raise the question of if they can’t maintain critical infrastructure which enables a flow of revenue, how will they ever be able to maintain the larger portion of the reunited Mainline?

    The South I’d say are a fully formed railway, the North is little more than a glorified siding to be brutally honest. Would it not be fair to say we want the link, and mainline connection only, the South would then take over up to the limit of commercial freight operation thus revenue. GCR(N) would then have a access contract South as required on special occasions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
  20. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    882
    Likes Received:
    740
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The EMRT website states they "own" 8 miles of railway + the Heritage Centre site, so I'm taking it that the maintenance for that falls within their remit....
    https://emrtrust.co.uk/wins/

    .
     

Share This Page