New Bridge To Extend Steam Operations

Nottingham and Loughborough Railway Being Rebuilt

This steam tourist line is just 10 miles long, due to the lack of a bridge to reconnect it to Leicester.

It is a double track section of rail line, and they have ambitious plans to extend the line to Leicester, adding another 8 miles length to the line.

With a Stanier 8F (I think I might have a Hornby version of one of those in my shed?) and a number of other steam and diesel locos at their disposal, you can still experience the thrill of passing another steam train, something they tell me is not possible elsewhere on a regular basis.

Apparently you can drive the trains too – for a fee!

The following excerpt tells us of the fundraising efforts and possibility of extension to this great project.

By Ellie Cullen Nottingham Post January 11, 2015

It’s full steam ahead for an ambitious £1 million project to create an 18-mile heritage railway.

Work will soon begin on a new bridge which will link the county’s historic Great Central Railway Nottingham, with its counterpart in Loughborough, allowing steam trains to make the journey for the first time since the 60s.

Director of Great Central Railway Nottingham Alan Kemp believes it’s the one of the most high profile projects in national railway preservation history.

He said: “After many years of waiting for action, the last two years really have seen the bridge project reach reality.

“2015 will be an exciting time for what we believe is one of the most high profile projects in national railway preservation.

However we can’t be complacent and we urgently need to raise the remaining amount required to reach the one million pound target.”

Around £750,000 has already been raised towards the project – called the Bridge to the Future Appeal – by well wishers from across the UK and overseas, as well as £500,000 from Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

But they are still looking for public sponsorship.

Mr Kemp added: “Although there are further major works needed and more funding to be raised I look forward to trains running across the completed link before the end of the decade.”

Contractors will soon move onto site to begin work building a bridge over the Midland Main Line – the main railway linking South Yorkshire, East Midlands and London.

The bridge is the key component in a string of new infrastructure which will allow two halves of the award-winning heritage line to reunite, resurrecting the historic eighteen mile line.

The two railways, once part of the Sheffield-Marylebone Great Central Railway main line opened in 1899, are now separated by a 500m gap at Loughborough, including the missing bridge over the Midland Main Line.

The structure is expected to be completed towards the Autumn of next year.

To complete the reunification project another new bridge is required over Railway Terrace, Loughborough, and three hundred metres of embankment needs to be reinstated.

Trains could be running across the completed link before the end of the decade providing funds for the rest of the work can be found.”

The Nottinghamshire leg of the railway starts in Ruddington and travels to Rushcliffe Halt across Gotham Moor, with views across to Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station and the Trent Valley beyond.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are proud to be part of this project to reunify the two parts of the Great Central Railway.

“Network Rail has helped to make sure that significant economic benefits are brought to the region as the new railway and museum will become a major tourist attractions as well as reinstating a piece of our railway heritage.”

This video offers some snippets of the steam fleet of this railway – quite impressive.

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