The Great Central Railway’s new general manager, Malcolm Holmes, has taken up his role at the Leicestershire heritage line.
Malcolm brings a wealth of transport management and local government experience to the job and has been an active volunteer at the line for almost 30 years. He said: “I am delighted to be making a formal start at the railway. I’m looking forward to working with the talented team and driving forward our development. Heritage railways face increasing challenges, not least running safely and maintaining ageing infrastructure and equipment. We need to ensure a new generation of supporters get on board and help raise funds to expand and thrive in the twenty first century. I am really excited by the work ahead.”
Richard Patching, chairman of the Great Central Railway PLCs board of directors, said: “Malcolm is a great fit with our organisation which relies on a mix of paid employees and volunteers. He understands the nuts and bolts of operation and combines that with a good strategic vision. We celebrate 50 years of running heritage trains this year and Malcolm will move us into the next 50.”
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Meanwhile, work is almost complete, to replace two bridges on the Great Central line near Quorn. It means the line has now replaced four bridges in the last 12 months, with the support of the lines membership group (Friends of the Great Central Main Line) and its official supporting charity (David Clarke Railway Trust). The railway was built in the 1890s and closed by British Rail in the 1960s and the structures which have been replaced were beyond economic repair. While the route between Loughborough Central and Rothley has been closed to trains, passengers have been enjoying trips between Leicester North and Mountsorrel running on the relaid branch line.
“The branch trains have been very popular,” said Malcolm, “and have helped keep an income flowing in, while the bridge repairs continue. It shows what a tremendously flexible asset the railway is. Meanwhile, investing in repairs and maintenance is vital to our safe operation and protecting the tremendous tourist pulling power we offer the East Midlands.”
The bridge repairs are expected to be complete by the end of March in time for the full line to reopen for steam and heritage diesel passenger trains to resume for Easter 2023.
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