GCR launches £475k appeal bid for canal bridge repairs

A £475,000 appeal to restore and repair a canal bridge as part of the Great Central Railway’s Bridging the Gap project has been launched.

Following the installation of the long-awaited bridge over the Midland Main Line at Loughborough on September 3, attention has now turned to the bridge over the Grand Union Canal to the north of the locomotive shed.

The Grand Union Canal bridge in its current condition. STEVE HALLAM/GCR

GCR managing director Michael Gough said: “We have had people from around the world asking us about the new railway bridge. They’re also asking which part of reunification we are tackling next!

“The answer is, we’re going to restore the existing historic canal bridge at Loughborough so it is ready to carry trains again. The appeal is in part to pay for the repairs and also to fund the ongoing design work for the rest of the reunification scheme.”

A computer visualisation of the completed structure. GCR

The reunification project will connect the GCR to its northern ‘twin’ heritage line the GCR (Nottingham) and create an 18-mile steam highway.

The Loughborough canal bridge is the only surviving part of the original Victorian link between the two lines, and not demolished after the line was closed by BR.

However, the metal work is corroded and the brick work in a poor state and it requires substantial work before trains can use it again.

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