Great Central Railway: Bridging the Gap

Project Sponsor: Great Central Railway Trust

Total indicative LGF allocation: £1 million

Funding in 2015/16: £0.5 million

  • The project will support the creation of an 18 mile mainline railway and will open up visitor opportunities by providing an alternative rail transport route and a direct link to the national rail network.
  • A new bridge will be built in Loughborough to carry the tracks of the award winning heritage line over the Midland Main Line.
  • The project also involves reinstating embankments and repairing other bridges which have survived along the gap.
  • The project remains on track and on budget with the brief for the detailed design recently issued.

On Friday 12th February 2016, there was an Victorian style ‘turning of the first sod’ ceremony, carried out by Nicky Morgan MP for Loughborough, to celebrate the commencement of the £8million project. The project is due to be completed by 2019.


MML bridge artists impression

GCR Bridging the Gap STEM project

As part of the Bridging the Gap project, GCR is hosting an excellent STEM project with local schools which is now in its second year.

Facilitated, coordinated and organised by the Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC), the project examines how STEM subjects are fundamental in a major civil engineering project.

Bridging the Gap is a once-in-a-lifetime major infrastructure project happening in the middle of Loughborough and close to the Loughborough schools which are taking part.

A programme of work is delivered over several weeks and involves presentations to students, classroom work and site visits. Students are able to visit the site of the Gap project and undertake experiments, see the live work taking place and work with STEM ambassadors to do follow up work in the classroom.

For instance, this year one module looks at corrosion – students visiting the site examine the GCR bridge over the canal, look at the effects of corrosion, take samples of the the iron work and then do a follow up session in class with a STEM Ambassador.

Similarly, students will take part in soil analysis with a geologist – looking at the best type of soil to construct embankments and also the need to did deep enough to find a solid foundation on which to sink the concrete piles.

Last year they undertook an ecology survey to determine if there were any endangered species on site – and look for invasive plants etc. The programme is designed around whatever is happening at the time.

This project is a fantastic example of how studying a STEM subject can open the door to many varied careers. In particular, this highlights to everyone that engineering is not all about doing heavy manual jobs in dirty industries…

Two schools are involved this year: Limehurst Academy and Woodbrook Vale. Students are in year 8 and about to decide on GCSE subjects, so they are engaged at a perfect time.  There are also some of last year’s students acting as mentors.

For more information contact Vanessa Breward at LEBC.