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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. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    You can do it on a phone as well. Click on the start point so you have a red pin, then click on the pin. It should say measure distance. For some reason, mine comes up in yards!
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    About the only thing that can't be turned on a 60 foot 'table is a pacific. You can turn a 9F, even an S15 with an 8 wheel tender (just), which, surprisingly is longer than a 9F.
     
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  3. Great Western

    Great Western Member

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    Its all well, and good saying/suggesting the boards have more important things to do than update the public on little things like how in practice will the GGCR work - but they forget at the ultimate disadvantage its the public who are the ones they want money from to fund the project.
     
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  4. J Rob't Harrison

    J Rob't Harrison New Member

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    Talk is cheaper than action but I'd point out that the North has consistently throughout 2020 and 2021 been listing out their priorities to improve, beyond their obvious bridge issues; I can't recall the exact order that they are listed but it goes something like

    1) A more formal junction arrangement at Loughborough to split the heritage operation from the gypsum traffic (ie to have the NR link being a bit more than a turnout straight onto the GC, there was talk about a run-in long enough that a gysum train could come off the MML and lie-by before heading up to Rushcliffe)- discussed in Mainline Issue 183, Summer 2020.
    2) Signalling between Ruddington and Loughborough- let's not forget restoration work ongoing at Hotchley Hill- discussed in Mainline Issue 184, Autumn 2020, at which time the thought put forward was that the GCR/ NHR meeting point, signalling-wise, would be Hotchley Hill. Much discussion in the ML article about how the GCR, NHR and NR signalling requirements would be managed.

    In fact, the NHR's shopping list is given, briefly, in Mainline Issue 186, Spring 2021. My points 1) and 2) above are given top billing, followed by

    3) Install a passing loop at East Leake as a precursor to re-opening that station;
    4) Install the much-discussed south chord at Ruddington;
    5) Develop a 'proper' station at the Heritage Centre.

    The message from Ruddington, despite all the 'interesting developments' that have gone on there the last few years, has been consistently that they want to be working toward a situation that trains can pass over the Gap without worry of long delays due to train in section 'somewhere' in the 9 miles north of Loughborough. They're thinking in terms of regular through running, it's just not stated outright black and white in 36-point typeface. Perhaps they think that that objective is so obvious as to not need spelling out.

    The GCR, on the other hand, have spent the last two years vacillating about how they see the joined-up line working. Their 'it's more about the mainline link than going to Ruddington' talk was what led to me stopping my direct debit last Spring. So to a degree I agree with you GW, a bit of clarity from the GCR as to how they see the link being primarily used would be very welcome.
     
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  5. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think you’re confusing the public with ‘enthusiasts’. Some of the latter may clamour for regular updates on the state of play, but it’s the former who will supply the bulk of the income, and right now they probably have neither knowledge of, nor interest in, developments and won’t have until services start running.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  6. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    Are the two sides really that different? The North's "shopping list" of new stations, loops, chords etc has been welcomed as sensible tools to further their railway commercially. The South don't need any new stations or loops but do appear to badly want a mainline connection to also further their railway commercially, but the statement to that effect has proved far more controversial. I'm still of the opinion that bridging the gap will be beneficial to both sides long term, however bumpy the ride/link up!

    Sent from my moto g(8) power using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Great Western

    Great Western Member

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    Im very much public, ive not been a heritage railway in 20+ years with no desire to return any time soon - it’s just not my idea of enjoyment, but I’m very interested in furthering the cause if that makes sense.

    Good quality, regular updates and overall plans float my donation boat. I donate an amount to a few projects (lines and locos) purely based on the output of their information flow, one has a very good YouTube channel these days.
     
  8. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with Great Western that "Good quality, regular updates and overall plans.." are an essential part of the fundraising activities of heritage railways and I think that the GCR has done well (but could do even better at times) when looked at overall - the website, Main Line, the platform display/information stand and "Reunification" book, all contribute to our understanding. But it is an incredibly complex task with many aspects, some of which remain - of necessity, unpublicised. Sometimes though, the vagaries and amplification of Social Media can give it's own distortions to our perspective.
     
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  9. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Not sure about that Steve. Bath Green Park shed had a 60ft table and regularly turned Bulleid light pacifics, some of which were allocated there for a while. The occasional Britannia also appeared there and was turned without issue. Big LMS and LNER Pacifics would be a dfferent matter, but Bath was well off their normal stamping ground.

    Peter
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I was being general in saying pacifics and didn't mean all pacifics. I wouldn't be at all surprised at light pacifics and Britannias being turned on them but it would be a tight fit. A Brit has a 58'-3" wheelbase to which you have got to add 13.75" for the flanges (more when they are worn) so that only leaves 7.25" of fiddle room. I can't immediately lay my hands on a drawing of a Bulleid but they were slightly shorter than a Brit in overall length so probably had a slightly shorter wheelbase. A final variant is the actual length of the 'table which may have been longer than a nominal 60 foot. I hope they didn't have to balance them!
     
  11. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    Weren’t WC tenders on the short side?
     
  12. Nick C

    Nick C Member

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    Indeed, I believe the whole reason for fitting them with 6 wheel tenders was to allow them to be turned on fairly short tables, particularly on the central section.
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Same was true of certain of the N15 (King Arthur) class.
     
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  14. chrishallam

    chrishallam Member

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    Back in the subject of the gap at Loughborough, whilst I am all for it as an enthusiast, I can understand the reported hesitancy of some of the PLC management.

    As an enthusiast, looking for an 18 mile mainline, or someone looking to realise the dreams of pioneering volunteers etc there is massive incentive to see the project through.

    If you're not looking at it as a dyed in the wool railway enthusiast however, but as a manager of a large, capital intensive, east Midlands tourist attraction that you want to see succeed and prosper in the long term a financially stable going concern, does the gap sound appealing?

    With the exception of Swithland reservoir, the section north of loughborough, over the Soar viaduct and through Barnstone tunnel is arguably the most scenic between Nottingham and Leicester, but will it really attract many more visitor than those already travelling on the southern section?

    Looking at where the rest of the income comes from… dining trains, driver experience Santa, winter lights etc… is going north going to increase capacity and demand for those?

    On the other hand, the issues around the GCR(N) and the infrastructure on the northern section are well documented, so PLC management would not be unreasonable to be concerned that they could end up with a 9 mile milestone around their neck.

    As I say, I am personally pleased to see the gap rapidly moving from a pie in the sky dream to a reality, but it's a risky move commercially.
     
  15. Great Western

    Great Western Member

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    The combined line won’t be a 18 Mainline though will it, it’ll be a 5 mile Mainline with a single track branch either end.

    I watched a cab ride on the GCR the other day, extremely impressive was the section Loughborough to Rothley along the double track, and what a set up at the yard at Swithland !

    But, once your off the double track it takes on a rather down on its luck over grown branch leading to to a very unattractive mess that is Leicester north.

    Going North on the GCR(N) aside from the fantastic restoration of East Leake there isn’t a whole lot really.

    The station they can’t use because rhe locals won’t allow it, the industrial area where GBRF load their trains (when the bridges are fixed) leading to Ruddignton via a propel or runround.

    The GCR stop their dinners on the causeway as there’s not much to look at otherwise, a stagger north isn’t going to appeal much either.

    I think the GCR would be better placed to redouble and rebuild Leicester North, building a proper engineering site and forgetting about this grand pipe dream fairy tale of a United GCR 18 mile railway.

    You might see a few specials run under temp special operating procedures initially but you’ll never see proper signalled operation along all 18 miles like rhe way the PR guff portrays.
     
  16. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Both Chrishallam and Great Western make good points, but it should be noted that the Northern section has been operational for 20 years, attracting a reasonable number of visitors annually to travel its 9 miles. I'm sure those numbers will increase once the line reaches the Southern section. Equally, It is likely that even more people will go to Loughborough when there is also the option to go North. So the two halves will have a sum greater than their parts. Plus the option of charters and testing contracts will be increased. There are several attractive vistas along the Northern section, as has been noted.
    Obviously there is an increased infrastructure overhead cost, but most of that is there already - the gap bridges and embankment, being new, will not need significant maintenance for quite a while.
    Re the "siding" to Leicester North - there is already the plan to extend the double track to Leicester North and the re-alignment of the siding at Rothley is one of the first steps. The Museum project at Leicester North is still very much "Live", with ground investigations already taken place. There would have been much more happening over the past 18 months but for Covid!!
    ......and "Yes, I am biased".....I have been supporting the GCR since 1969 and the Main Line Preservation Group (Member number 10).
     
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  17. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    If nothing else, the joining of the two ends will give the South access to another 330,000 odd potential passengers and the North access to some 410,000. There's got to be some real marketing opportunities there despite @Great Western's pessimistic views.
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    OTOH - it's one thing having a large catchment on your doorstep, another making them travel. I find it hard to believe that if there are hundreds of thousands of passengers already quite nearby, that extending the railhead nine miles nearer will magically make them travel. Starting from central Nottingham, it already takes 15 minutes to get to Ruddington, and only 30 to get to Loughborough - so I hardly think the extension will magically sway large numbers of people currently dissuaded from travel. If they wanted to visit, they would have done so already. Obviously the precise details will depend exactly where you live, but at that level of journey, once you have got into a car, it hardly matters if the journey is fifteen minutes or thirty.

    There's also the point about the maintenance of a very long line - both the infrastructure, and the locos / carriages needed to operate it. I can only think of about four heritage lines of comparable length to a unified GCR (West Somerset, NYMR, Severn Valley and Welsh Highland). All of those go through scenery of considerable beauty to act as a draw for the longer journey; and even of those four, at least one is known to be struggling financially due to the cost of maintaining a backlog of infrastructure repairs.

    Good luck to the project, but I can see considerable sense in the caution expressed by @chrishallam and others.

    Tom
     
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  19. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    On the subject of operating it, there is also the question of what frequency of trains do you need to provide? The longer the line, the greater the interval between trains. At what point do you add an extra train to reduce the interval? Adding an extra train without increasing the number of people traveling is obviously not financially sound, but . . .
    Speaking personally, I like to spend time at the various stations to see what's there, but if that only takes 30 mins, but a 2 hour wait between trains then I'm not likely to be spending time at those stations.
     
  20. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    There is also the issue of what people are prepared to pay, and how long they want to spend watching even considerable beauty passing by the windows. Yes, people can choose not to "do" the whole line, so long as there is either something to do when they get off half way along, or a train readily available to take them back. But if you find that a lot of your passengers are doing that it rather defeats the purpose of an extension. I'm of the opinion, and I may be wrong, that whilst there may be many prepared to do a long journey visit once, they may be less inclined to return to do it again unless there was a special reason to do so. It's been interesting to see that the WHR has been running seasonal specials from both Porthmadog and Caernarfon, but not over the whole line - they don't even meet in the middle. (There has been transfer of stock between the two ends so the line is available). Given the time of the year, I expect that the main target are the locals, and regular visitors (caravan owners etc) who mostly will not be visiting the WHR for the first time.

    Steve B
     

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