Great Central Railway – Bridging the Gap

Project Summary

This project will reconnect 2 parts of a heritage railway line recreating an 18 mile, double track line from Loughborough to Ruddington in Nottingham. It will enhance an established tourist attraction and open up further visitor opportunities by providing an alternative rail transport route and a direct link to the national rail network.

The funding from the LLEP will enable the first phase of the project which is to build a new bridge in Loughborough that will one day carry Great Central Railway heritage trains over the Midland Mainline.

As one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects undertaken by a heritage railway, ‘Bridging the Gap’ will reinstate 500m of track to reconnect the line, reinstating embankments and repairing other bridges along the gap.

As part of this project GCR have taken the opportunity to run a number of exciting STEM projects (science, engineering, technology and maths) with local schools. The STEM programme has the potential to encourage more young people to take-up STEM subjects.

Project Sponsors: Great Central Railway

LLEP Investment: £1m

Start Date:  July 2015

End Date:  November 2017

Outcomes:            

Once all phases of the project are completed The creation of an 18 mile mainline railway from Loughborough to Ruddington (Nottingham South) will be a major tourist attraction, adding additional value to the local economy from day visits and overnight stays. This will also open up significant commercial opportunities by providing a direct link to the national rail network and an alternative rail transport route for Midland Mainline

  • 12 full time jobs
  • 45 temporary construction jobs
  • Approximately £2.5m – £3m additional value to the local Major tourist attraction created

Quote from recipient about impact of funding:

Lili Tabiner, Programme Manager at Great Central Railway said “LGF funding has enabled the Great Central Railway to initiate a major infrastructure project which will eventually connect two heritage railways linking Leicester to the outskirts of Nottingham.

“Already a major tourist attraction, the Great Central Railway attracts over 130,000 visitors a year, making a significant contribution to the local economy.  The extended 18 mile line will bring additional visitors, creating jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector and benefitting more local businesses.

“With LGF funding, the first element of the project, a new bridge over the Midland Mainline Railway, has been completed.  The project is a major feat of civil engineering and GCR has engaged with Loughborough schools in a STEM project which enabled students to visit the site, meet engineers and directly experience the work involved. The aim is to complete the link by 2021 subject to further fund raising and sponsorship.  Throughout the LLEP have been very supportive and proactively engaged.”

Useful Links: