Great Central Railway Reunification Project Takes Two Important Steps Forward

Meanwhile Tens of Thousands of Pounds Are Donated in ‘Money Match March’ Fundraising Drive

The Great Central Railways ambitious plans to reconnect two halves of the award winning line have passed two significant milestones. It comes as tens of thousands of pounds are being donated by supporters as part of ‘Money Match March’.

Project leaders have now begun pre planning application consultations with Charnwood Borough Council Planning Department. This is an important step which will ultimately lead to an outline planning application for permission to construct the next phases of the railway link line.

The chairman of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line, (who are arranging the fundraising) Andy Fillingham said, “This is great news and another demonstration that not only are we absolutely committed to delivering this project, but momentum is also building.”

The multimillion pound project will create an eighteen mile heritage railway linking Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, by reconnecting two halves of the Great Central Railway separated after they were originally closed in the 1960s. Five hundred metres of railway needs to be rebuilt in Loughborough. Two parts of the scheme have now been completed including building a brand new bridge to carry heritage trains over the national rail network and the refurbishment of an existing canal bridge.

The next two sections to be built have an estimated cost of three million pounds and have been called ‘The Factory Flyover’ as they cross a factory car park and a road.

The railway has also confirmed initial design work for the remainder of the project (including a substantial embankment which will need to be built after the ‘Factory Flyover’) has also been completed. “We partnered with engineering consultants Cass Hayward,” continued Andy, “who have an international reputation for delivering complex infrastructure projects. They’re working with us to guide us forward. As we progress, there will inevitably be changes and revisions, but to have a roadmap in our hands is really exciting.”

The completed railway will be used not only for heritage trains and boosting tourism, but to attract more commercial work to the line including testing and training for other rail companies. This will help secure the GCRs long term future as well as bringing income to the East Midlands economy.

Meanwhile, supporters have contributed tens of thousands of pounds by the middle of March, encouraged by an offer to match all donations received during the month, pound for pound up to a value of one hundred thousand pounds. “When we started Money Match March we already had a little over half a million pounds saved up towards the estimated three million pound cost of the Factory Flyover.” concluded Andy. “Everyone has responded so generously and tens of thousands of pounds have been donated from all over the country. This will be matched pound for pound. With help, we’ll be able to have a full one hundred thousand pounds matched – essential if we want to get building again soon.”

How to Donate to Money Match March
• Donations can be made online at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify
• Cheques for the appeal can be made payable to The David Clarke Railway Trust and posted to DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 1SL
• Donations received in March online, or through the post will be matched pound for pound up to a value of £100,000.
• Anyone giving by standing order will have their existing gift matched automatically.