GCR Bridge Project

Flying Phil

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As a very new member on here, I hope this is not too presumptuous....However I have been a very long time member of the GCR (- in fact member #8 of the MLPG) and am really pleased that the original dreams are coming true with the building of the bridge(s) and embankment to rejoin the two sections.
Would it be possible to use this thread to post much more regular updates and pictures of this project as the GC website and Mainline magazine are not easily updated it seems. I'm sure there are local members who could post their pictures of this exciting project over the next few months/years.
 
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John Webb

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Welcome to the Forum! There is already an extensive thread on this project, although I regret I've forgotten the title of it! Rather than start this new one, you may find that established thread a better place?
 

Flying Phil

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Welcome to the Forum! There is already an extensive thread on this project, although I regret I've forgotten the title of it! Rather than start this new one, you may find that established thread a better place?
Thanks John
I did have a look and saw a thread about GCR North Nottingham which did have a bit re the bridge but not the current status. Have I missed another thread? If so, it makes sense to only have one specific thread.
 

AndyW33

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Would it be possible to use this thread to post much more regular updates and pictures of this project as the GC website and Mainline magazine are not easily updated it seems. I'm sure there are local members who could post their pictures of this exciting project over the next few months/years.
The latest edition of the (quarterly) members magazine Mainline came out last week with an update, and features the "Cutting the first sod" ceremony on the cover. There won't be another update this way for 3 months, but then again there probably won't be anything new to show pictures of much before then.

There's no new activity on site at the moment for the website or magazine to report because the first phase was vegetation clearance and cutting back the old embankment to create room for the new bridge abutments to be built, and this is now completed.
Next the canal bridge refurbishment and the construction of the abutments for the Midland Main Line bridge get under way. The installation of the new bridge requires a full possession on the MML and is currently pencilled in for Christmas.
A lot of the work is behind the scenes or off-site at the moment, finalising the detail design of the new bridge, getting tenders for fabricating and installing it, submitting plans for installing the further bridges over the PreciSpark car park entrance and Railway Terrace, and the 300 metres or so of missing embankment, and waiting for planning approval (and Network Rail's final approval of design and installation arrangements as far as the over-rail bridge is concerned).
 

Flying Phil

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Thanks Andy, I suppose I am being impatient.......But I know the GCR is fundraising for this project and they really could do with keeping it's profile high, so any pictures of progress - however small, will help to do that.
 

John Webb

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Thanks John
I did have a look and saw a thread about GCR North Nottingham which did have a bit re the bridge but not the current status. Have I missed another thread? If so, it makes sense to only have one specific thread.
Oops! :oops: Sorry - got confused with a thread on another Forum! Yes, go ahead on this thread - a most interesting project.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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The latest edition of the (quarterly) members magazine Mainline came out last week with an update, and features the "Cutting the first sod" ceremony on the cover. There won't be another update this way for 3 months, but then again there probably won't be anything new to show pictures of much before then.

There's no new activity on site at the moment for the website or magazine to report because the first phase was vegetation clearance and cutting back the old embankment to create room for the new bridge abutments to be built, and this is now completed.
Next the canal bridge refurbishment and the construction of the abutments for the Midland Main Line bridge get under way. The installation of the new bridge requires a full possession on the MML and is currently pencilled in for Christmas.
A lot of the work is behind the scenes or off-site at the moment, finalising the detail design of the new bridge, getting tenders for fabricating and installing it, submitting plans for installing the further bridges over the PreciSpark car park entrance and Railway Terrace, and the 300 metres or so of missing embankment, and waiting for planning approval (and Network Rail's final approval of design and installation arrangements as far as the over-rail bridge is concerned).

I am pleased to hear that this exciting project seems to be moving forward so well. I have traveled on both parts of the GCR and it will be great when they are connected up. It will give a good longish trip. I presume trains will have to reverse in and out of Ruddington? will there be run around facilities there too?
 

AndyW33

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Thanks Andy, I suppose I am being impatient.......But I know the GCR is fundraising for this project and they really could do with keeping it's profile high, so any pictures of progress - however small, will help to do that.
Why not sign up for the GCR's free weekly newsletter RailMail:
http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/newsletter/
This way you'll see exactly what is happening without relying on individuals being able to take and to post photos here at just the right time.
The whole project in terms of visibility is likely to consist of short bursts of highly concentrated activity followed by lengthy periods when not a lot seems to be happening while, say, newly built embankment sections consolidate, or concrete cures. This isn't like the Bluebell's massive and highly successful project to reconnect to East Grinstead where progress could be measured by trainloads of rubbish removed from the cutting.
 

Flying Phil

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Thanks for that link Andy - I visit the GCR website on a regular basis and have not seen the newsletter link before.... I wonder how many other people have missed it?
Anyway, I have signed up, but would still like to see if other people can post info/pictures on here to maintain the interest in the project.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I visited Loughborough GC Station yesterday and took some pictures of the "Gap" between the two railways that is going to be filled over the next three(?) years.

















These locomotives were there as well.
 
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Monty

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What are the plans for the MPD? It currently sit's on the former GC trackbed before crossing the the MML and will be have to be relocated before trains will be able to head over the new link. A while ago it was planned to move he old Workington steam shed but it's gone all quiet on that front. I'd also like to know what the GCR (N) plan to do after the link is complete as their line is considerably less developed than their southern neighbour.
 

ilkestonian

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What are the plans for the MPD? It currently sit's on the former GC trackbed before crossing the the MML and will be have to be relocated before trains will be able to head over the new link. A while ago it was planned to move he old Workington steam shed but it's gone all quiet on that front. I'd also like to know what the GCR (N) plan to do after the link is complete as their line is considerably less developed than their southern neighbour.
Is relocation of the MPD strictly necessary?

I may be wrong here, as I'm relying on memory with regard to something I read ages ago, but I thought there was room for one line to pass the MPD, and as the link is single-track, that would be sufficient.
 
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Monty

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The shed itself sits right on the former track bed, looking on Google earth you may squeeze a single track on the left hand side of the shed bit would mean a pretty sharpe curve afterwards in order to get any new line to go over the canal bridge.
 

mr_jrt

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I can understand the obvious reasons why the link is being built as a single track, but are the new abutments being built to take a future second line if one becomes feasible? Given the width of the alignment building a second abutment alongside in the future strikes me as difficult as there won't be room to splay out, meaning the original abutment would need modification, probably requiring the decks to be removed...
 

AndyW33

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I can understand the obvious reasons why the link is being built as a single track, but are the new abutments being built to take a future second line if one becomes feasible? Given the width of the alignment building a second abutment alongside in the future strikes me as difficult as there won't be room to splay out, meaning the original abutment would need modification, probably requiring the decks to be removed...
There are two issues.
One is that on the north side of the MML, following BR's construction of the spur down to the MML in the 1970s, there isn't quite enough formation width for double track until the original GC line and the BR spur are at the same level.
The other is that south of the MML, where the embankment was removed, there is again not quite sufficient reserved land to reinstate a double track embankment.

So as there's no possibility of double track either side of the re-instated bridge without removing both the BR spur(which is in use for revenue freight and is a major part of the entire justification of the project) and the Preci-Spark factory building, why incur the expense of building double track abutments?
 

mr_jrt

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I had a look at the planning application which kind of answered my query, but I'd not considered the levels due to the MML spur. If the will was there I presume the northern embankment could fairly easily be built up with the spur alongside at a different level though.

As for the south side, AFAICS the (northern) factory doesn't look to be too much of a problem, it just seems to be their (northern) car park? More of an issue seems to be the requirement for increased clearances on Railway Terrace due to the need to provide access to the refuse site for tall lorries, meaning the surviving abutment would have been too short anyway.

...or is it the southern factory that's the issue?

EDIT:
Meant to mention, given the realignment is basically adjacent to the original double track alignment around the MML, there should be plenty of room to reinstate a 2nd line if Preci-Spark ever decides to sell as effectively you'd have a triple-track alignment available to work with, which is nice.

Though, it still doesn't answer how the issue of the levels with the spur are going to be resolved?
 
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Flying Phil

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Re the GC locomotive shed - there is space to the West side of the shed for a single track and that was always planned for when the shed was erected back in the 70's. At present there are containers and other locomotive/railway parts there but nothing is fixed. Here are three photographs showing the situation last month.
Sorry for thumbnails - click on to enlarge.
 

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L+Y

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Re the GC locomotive shed - there is space to the West side of the shed for a single track and that was always planned for when the shed was erected back in the 70's. At present there are containers and other locomotive/railway parts there but nothing is fixed. Here are three photographs showing the situation last month.
Sorry for thumbnails - click on to enlarge.
There's been a write-up in this month's Railway Magazine from (as I recall) Dennis Wilcock of the GCR, who talks about the route around the shed and onto the canal bridge as being double track! I'd be interested to see diagrams of how this is planned to be done, given you'd assume it would involve quite a kink to get round the shed at both ends.
 

Flying Phil

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There's been a write-up in this month's Railway Magazine from (as I recall) Dennis Wilcock of the GCR, who talks about the route around the shed and onto the canal bridge as being double track! I'd be interested to see diagrams of how this is planned to be done, given you'd assume it would involve quite a kink to get round the shed at both ends.
Hi
You are quite right about the article - I think the double track round the shed is relatively easy to attain from the station end as there is space for two tracks under the bridge (Empress Road??) but that would make foot/car/van access to the shed very difficult. At the North end there is a pinch point at the corner of the shed......but why put two tracks in, as there would have to be only a single track over the MML ?? It would be nice to have an "official" indication of the current plans in detail.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

From a post in another thread, this is a useful step forward I'm sure.
..more GCR love.....

http://www.loughboroughecho.net/news...ampaign=buffer

Quote:
The council says that without its involvement in the massive Bridging the Gap project, Network Rail would not let the bridge go ahead.
 
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Ploughman

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Hi
You are quite right about the article - I think the double track round the shed is relatively easy to attain from the station end as there is space for two tracks under the bridge (Empress Road??) but that would make foot/car/van access to the shed very difficult. At the North end there is a pinch point at the corner of the shed......but why put two tracks in, as there would have to be only a single track over the MML ?? It would be nice to have an "official" indication of the current plans in detail.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

From a post in another thread, this is a useful step forward I'm sure.
..more GCR love.....

http://www.loughboroughecho.net/news...ampaign=buffer

Quote:
The council says that without its involvement in the massive Bridging the Gap project, Network Rail would not let the bridge go ahead.

Link not available.
 

Flying Phil

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Thanks Scott for sorting the link.
It is interesting that NR are not sure about the long term sustainability of the GCR - In fact the GCR have run the railway for longer than the GC/LNER/BR individually did!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There is now a much more detailed and up to date section on the GCR Website of this project. This is from that source.

Latest News

27th May, 2016
At the completion of the tendering process a preferred bidder has been selected to build the bridge abutments and construct and install the new all steel bridge. After further formalities are completed, particularly with Network Rail, the contract will be awarded with construction due to start by the end of the summer.
 

Flipper

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Hi
You are quite right about the article - I think the double track round the shed is relatively easy to attain from the station end as there is space for two tracks under the bridge (Empress Road??) but that would make foot/car/van access to the shed very difficult. At the North end there is a pinch point at the corner of the shed......but why put two tracks in, as there would have to be only a single track over the MML ?? It would be nice to have an "official" indication of the current plans in detail.
With the MPD unable / unwilling to relocate they will ultimately have to accept some significant curtailment of their freedom of movement to and from the shed - once the tracks are in then the end of uncontrolled movement of vehicles and plant across an open passenger line is inevitable. Expect to see a gated crossing interlocked with the signalling. It will also result in the almost complete, if not total, loss of the space currently used for staff parking.

As for why it is advantageous to extend the double track as for North as possible, I shall try to explain. Yes, it has been determined that the formation will be single track by the time it reaches the new Bridges 328 (over the Midland route) and 329 (Railway Terrace). However there is still a quarter-of-a-mile of formation between there and the current location of the loco shed, and, from an operational point of view, there is a great deal of advantage to be had extending the double track as far to the north of Loughborough Central as is possible - and certainly beyond the current location of the loco shed.

In order to get a single track through the westernmost span of Bridge 332, which it would have to go through to clear the shed, the junction would of necessity be some way to the south of that bridge - barely 200 yards past the current Down Platform Starting signals.

There is very little impediment to the double track extending 100-150 yards north of Bridge 331 over the canal. The quarter-of-a-mile of extra double track between these two possible locations for the junction would make a massive amount of difference to the operational capability of the remodelled Loughborough.

The cost of restoring both sides of Bridge 331 is not a great deal more than restoring only the Down side. There would have to be some remodelling of the layout immediately north of the station, as the Up and Down mains would have to be slewed appreciably to the west (there goes the shed's parking) in order to get them under the western span and past the shed, but I am assured this is achieveable.

The reason for this desire to have the double / single junction as far north as possible ? Well . . .

The line south of Loughborough is, operationally, extremely well equipped, with the ability to handle a considerable number of trains, and the flexibility to permit degraded working to be not too degraded. To the north, however, it is essentially a single track with little or no signalling and, with the best will in the world, this situation is unlikely to change significantly before through services become a possibility. Being brutally realistic - it will take decades before the line to the north can operate with anything approaching the flexibility of that to the south, and longer still before it has comparable capacity.

Having the junction south of the existing shed is tantamount to an open invitation for operational mayhem on any day when more than one or two trains are run as a through service to the north of Loughborough. There is plenty of scope for a train delayed "down the Ruddington branch" to bring Loughborough to a total standstill, and taking some scenarios, for example significant delays during one of the GCR's famously intensive gala timetables, to the extreme, to gridlock the entire line.

The GCR already has an operational pinch point to the south of Rothley, where the current single line to Birstall commences. By necessity it appears they will end up with another, with this one at the single busiest point of the line. To fail now to ensure that everything possible is done to mitigate the risk to services that this future restriction poses may well see generations of railwaymen, yet to be born, banging their heads against the cab wall / handbrake wheel / lever frame / operations desk and cursing their forebears !
 

Flying Phil

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Thank you Flipper - that now makes a lot more sense and it is good that these aspects are being properly planned in advance - we/I just wanted a bit more explanation....
 

Flying Phil

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From this month's issue of "Steam Railway"
Managing Director Bill Ford has confirmed "The end of year target has been agreed with the contractors who will build the embankments and bridge, with a handover date of December 29th.
With all the necessary funds (just over £1.8 million) in place, work is planned to commence in August.
The bridge across the four-track MML will be installed during an engineering possession over the festive period".
 

Flying Phil

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Great news :)
.... and in the latest issue of "Mainline", the preferred contractor has been selected - MPB of Corby. "It is currently envisaged that work will start on building the abutments in late Summer"
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
From the GCR Website!!

Investment Gives Boost to the GCR’s Projects
Dennis Wilcock : June 20, 2016 5:52 pm : Main Line, Main Line Xtra, News Banner

Leicestershire County Council has announced an investment of £250,000 in one million shares in GCR plc. This gives a major boost to the Reunification project part of which is to Bridge the Gap across the Midland Main Line and to the new museum to be built at Leicester North.
 

Cowley

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Excellent news. Fantastic railway, I've got family living in Quorn so whenever I get up there I try and have a day on it. First went in 1987 and to see how it's developed since is incredible. Well done to all.
 

Flying Phil

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I was in Loughborough yesterday and went to see if any start has been made. There is some building work being done at the Preci Spark unit which is next to the South end of the GC bridge but no sign of any work on the GC bridge abutment sites........Also a large refuse lorry was going to the council tip and the embankment/viaduct/Reading bridge deck will have to be quite high to give the clearance needed.
 

Flying Phil

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In the latest issue of Mainline magazine (168) there are details of more Gap/Bridge progress.
The bridge over the MML will be built by the GCR, subject to full NR approval. Then it will become NR property with GCR right of way. But that means NR have full responsibility for future maintenance and replacement.
There is a Severn Trent Water Combined Sewer Overflow which needs diversion , but there are several options and STW needs to select the best one.
The main Fibre-optic cable, that runs under the link route, is to be diverted away from the work so the canal bridge can be repaired.
Work on the North abutment is due to start ......now!....?
 

Pinza-C55

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The line south of Loughborough is, operationally, extremely well equipped, with the ability to handle a considerable number of trains, and the flexibility to permit degraded working to be not too degraded. To the north, however, it is essentially a single track with little or no signalling and, with the best will in the world, this situation is unlikely to change significantly before through services become a possibility. Being brutally realistic - it will take decades before the line to the north can operate with anything approaching the flexibility of that to the south, and longer still before it has comparable capacity.
I wonder if the S&T department are looking forward to this ?
 

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