The Great Central Railway’s long held ambition to reunite two halves of the line will take a huge step forward with the installation of a key bridge in Loughborough. On the night of Saturday 2nd September, in a moment rail enthusiasts have campaigned decades to see, a 1000 tonne crane will install the new steel bridge deck across two concrete abutments.
The new bridge will one day carry Great Central Railway heritage trains over the tracks of the Midland Main Line below. As one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects undertaken by a heritage railway, ‘Bridging the Gap’ will reinstate approximately 500 metres of missing embankment, track and bridges – all of which were removed after the Great Central Railway was closed as part of a major rationalisation of the railway network by the Government of the day.
When the whole project is complete it will create an eighteen mile heritage railway stretching across the East Midlands which will create jobs and drive regeneration through tourism.
The operation to lower the bridge deck into place will start as soon as possession of the Midland Main Line is granted by Network Rail at approximately 23.00 hrs and work will continue throughout the night to be completed by 07.00 hrs when the trains start operating again on the Midland Mainline.
Through the Local Growth Fund, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) allocated £1 million towards the project. For an overview of the LLEP’s Local Growth Fund Projects, click here.
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