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Bridge that Gap: Great Central Railway News

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Gav106, May 8, 2010.

  1. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

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    Yes, of course, the guys at Loughborough had it easy compared to those at Ruddington. Instead of the hardship of receiving 9 miles of formation, with track on it, pretty much gratis, all those lucky bozos at Loughborough had to do was pay thousands of pounds per month for three years (the interest per month in 1975 was the equivalent of approx £30,000 per month today), just to prevent BR ripping up the track. That wasn’t paying off the track in installments, mark you, all they got for that expenditure was another month when BR guaranteed not to remove it, and, to add to their good fortune, they weren’t even allowed to run trains on it. They still had to raise £190k (in 1976 prices, more like £2m in todays money) to purchase it in 1976.

    Yeah, they had it easy in the early days. Not. I bet they’d have loved to just have to lay half-a-mile of track to the surviving rail head. They would have smashed that out in a couple of months.
     
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  2. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I think one thing many of you are not considering is that the GCRN have (and have always had) a very small volunteer workforce, especially compared to the GCR(S) which is but 10 miles away. Somebody wanting to start volunteering in, say, 2015, might compare the GCRN, which had one operational steam locomotive, a reasonably healthy diesel collection, one rake of Vacuum braked coaches and one rake of air braked coaches operational, and operated a one train service from Easter to October and during December, with the odd two train diesel gala, to the GCR(S), which had probably around 8 operational steam locomotives of varying designs, a comparable diesel stud, many more coaches in operational, plus freight rolling stock, running two trains a weekend regularly throughout the year and hosts some of the most incredible steam galas in preservation regularly throughout the year. The GCR's 20 year headstart meant that it has been able to become far more attractive for prospective volunteers. Which means they have more volunteers and can get more done, so they can be more attractive to prospective volunteers. It's a vicious cycle. It's a similar story with rolling stock. By the time the GCRN started in 1994, Barry had been emptied and most operational steam locomotives, especially ex BR ones, had already settled at other railways. The arrival of Turkish 8F 8274 in about 2013 was I think the first time for a sustained period the railway's resident operable locomotive was of mainline pedigree. Rightly or wrongly, people are for more attractive by ex BR locos than the Industrials which have been the resident motive power at the GCRN for most of its life. The 20 year head start the GCR got actually gave it more than 20 years head start, if that makes sense.
    Admittedly, historic politics have hampered the railway's progress at times (but then I doubt many railways are immune from politics). But the factors listed above may well have exacerbated those issues.
    While the GCR has paid staff to be able to plan, operate, and publicise, the GCRN has none. Everything has to come out of spare time, and I know some people who almost work themselves into the ground at the GCRN because there isn't really anybody else who can take their job, and then do a 9-5 job during the week too! The GCR has never had the financial or manpower resources the GCR has, which is a significant contributor to every factor that has been, shall we say "pointed out" in previous comments
    Of course, one step that can be taken towards rectifying it is more support, whether that's volunteers at weekends or making financial contributions. More workers are always welcome!
     
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  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Total sense, and I think that is the crux of the matter when it comes to making comparisons with where railways that started in the 1970s were in the early 2000s and railways that started in the 1990s are today. Totally different conditions.
     
  4. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    What is great to see is that both the GCR(N) and GCR are working closely together to create an even better GCR. There are strongly held opinions and different conditions/history, such will always be, but the common aim unites us far more than divides us.
    .......thus ends my bit of Phil..osophy!
     
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  5. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Indeed. Historically the relationship between the two railways has not always been very good - I remember a little over a decade ago it felt (as a volunteer at the GCRN) that management of Loughborough held us in contempt and only wanted us for the extra mileage - that their aim was less reuinification as it was take over. I remember a loco coming to visit Ruddington from Loughborough, arriving horrendously filthy, it was used at the GCRN and cleaned up and sent back in better condition than it arrived, and we were accused of not looking after it. Fortunately the relationships between the management of the two railways have improved since then, although the attitudes of some other volunteers have taken longer to change.
    Also, with all this talk of what the two railways will look like once reconnected, I think it's easy to forget that link up is many, many millions of pounds away. It's not like all these conversations need to be happening in public now. I imagine they are still happening in private, but both sets of management are being very careful to keep discussions under their hat. Then other people take what they want to happen, what they think might make most sense operationally (or to have maximum enjoyment / minimum disruption for them), mix it with rumours they hear from 'so and so' and present it as a factual comment on what the railways will look like once joined. So if you've heard somebody state what the GGCR will look like when linked up, I advise you to take it with a rather large pinch of salt.
     
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  6. Forest Rail

    Forest Rail New Member

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    I think that proof that this project has taken off, money has been spent, and actual progress made is a good view as to the co-operation between the railways. :)
     
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  7. Drop_Shunt

    Drop_Shunt New Member

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    I don’t imagine that the attitude of the management has changed overly much, this project seems to be being driven by the DCRT, not the plc.

    As for reunification vs. takeover, well I am afraid that the one was always going to be effectively the other. You can’t realistically have two railways operating on the same infrastructure with different rules, policies and procedures. And if you compare the establishments on either side then their assets weigh up very disproportionately. Rulebooks? Unless things have changed very recently then only one side has a rulebook that can cover both operations. Traincrew and operating procedures? Many hundreds on one side, a handful on the other. Signalmen and signalling procedures ? Have the GCR(N) even got any?
     
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  8. 49010

    49010 Member

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    Like a few others on this thread I've only visited GCR(N) once, I think back in 2011. I used to visit GCR(S) quite often but that fell away when I became very ill. Fingers crossed I can correct both some time soon.

    One memory I have on GCR(N), and I'm really not trying to score points on N v S was that I boarded the train on a platform inside the Ruddington site, the train was then drawn out onto the old GCR mainline near (I think) Fifty Steps Bridge, because the entrance to Ruddington faces north. The train was pulled down to just north of Loughborough, before being drawn back to Fifty Steps and then drawn back into Ruddington. The train was top and tailed to avoid having to run round.

    If I'm remembering that right then an obvious question is whether it is possible to lay in a East-South chord so that trains visiting Ruddington don't need to go through the reversal routine?
     
  9. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I'm not disputing that the resources at Loughborough are significantly greater in every respect than at the GCRN. I'm not disputing that once the railways are completely joined it will look more like an enlargement of the current establishment at Loughborough.

    But it is still possible for a merger to happen without it feeling like a takeover. It's the way in which it's done. 10 years ago the attitude very much felt like Loughborough were saying 'We're going to come in and do it our way. If you don't like it, tough.' Now the feeling is that it's moving more to a collaborative way of bringing Ruddington up to Loughborough's undeniably higher standards. I've heard whispers of including GCRN volunteers in GCR training (indeed, a couple of years ago the offer was made to GCRN steam crews to attend GCR MICs, which I had to unfortunately decline as they were held on Sundays when I had other commitments. The end result might be the same, but the process is far more amicable and results in a much less bitter taste.

    It is on a list of things to do at some point. Sadly that list is very long for the available manpower and finances to do it! Like I say, more volunteers always welcome!
     
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  10. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Meanwhile back at the Canal Bridge the workers are just putting in the waterproof membrane and "stuff" on the actual decks. So that a layer of ballast can be laid in a few days time.......and a bit of track with a locomotive "posed" for photo opportunities???:D
    This is a picture looking at the other side and the abutment "Wing" will need some work to be done by the "in - house" team I believe. DSC00120.JPG
     
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  11. J Rob't Harrison

    J Rob't Harrison New Member

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    I read in the news that the Government are organising a grant scheme for heritage construction/ restoration projects that were halted by the onset of this damn' plague. Would it be worth looking into for a boost for the Factory Flyover appeal?
     
  12. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Details on the GCR website about the re-opening trains July 25th/26th.
     
  13. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

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    Firstly I need to say I'm a huge fan of GCR, although I've never actually visited the line. The Gap project is remarkable in that their effectively building a new railway, who'd of thought it possible at the dawn of the movement.

    Anyway, when the full gap is plugged I really cant see how the North will gain any real benefit over what they can have now. They can already accept incoming national rail charters, low speed test trains etc. The Gap project seems to me to be an extension of the South to gain a mainline connection, which will allow them to really expand on their 60mph+ test track options, and accept incoming charters.

    I do wonder how much the North really want the Gap plugged, and how realistic is it to expect them to align across multiple areas with the South, let alone be able to fund the millions it'll take to bring their end up the South's standard in track and signalling terms.

    Would it not be better to say have the South literally take over as an operation the track north of the gap to the first station, with the North operating beyond as a separate railway?
     
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  14. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    A thought provoking post by Great Western (and you really must visit soon). Whilst good points are made, it should also be remembered that the fundamental basis of the GCR was and is the Operation of Main Line (steam) locomotives. (BR were going to completely cease Steam operation.) It soon centered on the, to be closed, GC line between Nottingham and Leicester. That was the aim and raison d'etre........and it still is.
    The GCR(N) will gain from having a proper destination - Loughborough (and Quorn and Rothley and Leicester (North),( Also Mountsorrel). Visitors to Loughborough can choose to go North or South. There will be through trains travelling 18 miles on a main line with other trains passing.
    The ambition of many thousands of supporters - world-wide, will be realised.
    We are incredibly fortunate in still having steam operations on the main line, but I suspect it hangs by a thread at times......
     
  15. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    I may have missed it sometime but what is the mileage of both sections of the GCR?
    What is the spacing of the stopping points?
    Thanks.
     
  16. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    In round numbers, GCR(S) is 8 miles, with intervals of 2/3/3 miles between stations. GCR(N) is a similar length, but with only 1 intermediate station (Rushcliffe Halt), about 2.5 miles from Ruddington. East Leake (not used) is about a mile south.
     
  17. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that.

    So fairly regular spacing for train planning purposes then?
     
  18. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that the spacing was more for population/traffic purposes originally! :)
     
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  19. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    GCRN is actually a little longer, I think nearer 9 miles, but I don’t have the plans to hand at this time of night. But it stops just short of the original Ruddington station and has an awkward reversal into the heritage centre instead, and has no passing loop south of Rushcliffe Halt (and the one there is unsignalled), so not really that straightforward to integrate into the timetable.

    As for what GCRN gains, surely the influx of visitors and regular main line engines to the heritage centre is an obvious bonus, as well as tapping into the volunteer base from the south end which will no doubt allow things like signalling to make more rapid progress. Plus it is, after all, why the GCRN was set up in the first place.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    It is hoped that a south chord will be constructed at some point to remove the need for reversal. However that is one of many things on a list of things the railway would like to accomplish, and it has a very limited workforce to do so! There is a perfectly adequate passing loop at Rushcliffe Halt, and work is under way to restore Hotchley Hill signal box to allow it to be used in a signalled manner and controlled from the box, rather than the ground frame arrangement currently in place.

    My current perspective is that the greatest gain for the GCRN will be growth in volunteer workforce which is to be hoped for as a result of reunification, to allow greater manpower to develop the railway further!
     
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