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Friends of the Great Central Main Line announce exciting fundraising campaign

to accelerate railway link up plan!


Loughborough landmark set to be completed this year subject to funding.


2022 will be the year an epic heritage railway project leaps forward. The Great Central Railway has already completed two pieces of its ambitious Reunification scheme and now plans to get a third one fixed by the end of the year. 


Reunification will see two separate halves of the GCR reconnected to create an eighteen mile heritage line with economic benefits to Loughborough and the wider East Midlands.


The next job is to overhaul the bridge that carries the railway over the A60 Nottingham Road on the north east side of Loughborough. In a remarkable boost for the project a consortium of funders has brought together a substantial sum of money towards the cost of the work. Now the Friends of the Great Central Main Line is setting out to raise one hundred and ten thousand pounds to ‘top up the pot’.


Fundraising has also been underway for 18 months towards two further sections of the Reunification scheme - a new bridge across ‘Railway Terrace’ road in Loughborough and a short new section of railway to cross a factory car park. These two elements have been dubbed ‘The Factory Flyover’. Money continues to be donated from across the country and around the world and the fundraising work will continue towards this section alongside the new appeal for the A60 bridge. It is hoped work can start on the Factory Flyover within the next two or three years.


Andy Fillingham, Chairman of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line said, “This is an incredible chance to move our Reunification scheme forward quickly. To have so much already committed towards the repair of the A60 bridge is phenomenal and I am sure that will encourage donors to help us reach our one hundred and ten thousand pound target. We launch this appeal today with the aim of finding the funds as soon as we can, so in turn contractors can get to work on the bridge.”


The bridge over the A60 is unique in the Reunification project. It’s the only structure which already has track on it. Not only is it vital to reconnect the two separate sections of the Great Central but it also connects the GCR to the national railway network. However, its 120 years old and often struck by careless lorry drivers whose trucks are too tall to fit underneath it. It’s currently closed to trains and the bridge decks are life expired. A programme of work over the next year will ensure it can be back in business and fit for another century of service.


The bridge is owned by the East Midlands Railway Trust as part of the nine miles of the Great Central Line north of Loughborough.


“We’re delighted fundraising is underway for the A60 road bridge,” says David Rae, Chairman of EMRT, “Overhauling it unlocks the potential of the line towards Nottingham allowing it once again to accept trains from the national rail network. It’s another great step forward towards the creation of the eighteen mile heritage railway across the East Midlands and we’re ready to support the fundraising campaign and the work ahead.”


“Every donation counts and is so welcome,” concluded Andy Fillingham, “Once we have got the funds raised for the A60 bridge and the work is underway we’ll continue the campaign to find the funds for the other parts of the Reunification jigsaw. We’re so humbled by the support we’ve received. Bit by bit, people power is making this project - once described as impossible - actually happen!”




To make a donation to the A60 bridge overhaul fund head to www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify or send a cheque through the post made payable to the ‘David Clarke Railway Trust’, to DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, LE11 1SL. Please write on the back of the cheque A60 / Reunification.


More information about the A60 bridge and the wider Reunification project can be found at www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify


Published: 15 January 2022 09:00

Author: Phil Stanway