Great Central Railway – Bridging the Gap

“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.”

– Lili Tabiner, Programme Manager at Great Central Railway

Project Summary

This project will reconnect two 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 Stats

Project Sponsors Great Central Railway
LLEP Investment £1 million
Project Status Complete
Start Date July 2015
End Date November 2017


Project Outcomes

45 temporary construction jobs
12 full time jobs
Approximately £2.5m – £3m additional value to the local Major tourist attraction created
The creation of an 18 mile mainline railway from Loughborough to Ruddington (Nottingham South)
A major tourist attraction, adding additional value to the local economy from day visits and overnight stays.
Significant commercial opportunities from the direct link to the national rail network and an alternative rail transport route for Midland Mainline


Useful Links

Investment Map

Great Central Railway