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Massive rail link up project already delivering results!

Great Central Railway

The Great Central Railway’s construction of a new eighteen mile heritage railway in the East Midlands has been used to teach the engineers of the future.

Lili Tabiner of the Great Central Railway said, “We’re preparing to rebuild a section of missing Victorian Railway which will bring together two halves of the Great Central Railway, to create an eighteen mile independent heritage main line. One of the key pieces of infrastructure is building a new bridge over the Midland Main Line at Loughborough. It is a wonderful opportunity to provide students with hands on experience in a major civil engineering project.”

The Great Central Railway has worked in partnership with Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to design a programme which has given Year 8 students first-hand experience of the knowledge and skills needed to construct the new railway connection.
Following an information evening for local schools and STEM Ambassadors, staff at Woodbrook Vale School and Limehurst Academy committed to a summer programme of activities, talks and site visits relating to this exciting civil engineering project to build a brand new bridge to carry steam trains. The twelve-week programme has inspired twenty-four young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through engagements with STEM Ambassadors from civil engineering, geology, metallurgy, project management, environmental health, planning and railway operations.


Students have taken part in classroom activities and site visits to the Great Central Railway to find out about how corrosion effects metal structures and methods of restoration for heritage bridges; how noise from construction sites is monitored and controlled; taken soil samples to determine the ground conditions best suited to support large concrete and metal bridge structures; and the economic benefits that a regeneration project brings to the town of Loughborough.

Vanessa Breward from LEBC, said “It has been a delight to work with GCR on this project and the positive feedback from the students is testament to the commitment from our volunteers who gave the project such significant impact. I’m sure the students will remember the experience for many, many years and will share the story with their own children in the future. What a legacy!”
STEM Ambassadors and volunteers from FJD, ARUP, Pick Everard, AMCO, Charnwood Borough Council and Network Rail have inspired students to study STEM subjects and to consider careers in STEM to become the engineers of the future!

To celebrate the Bridge to the Future STEM Project 2016, students will spend Friday 1st July at Loughborough University’s School of Civil Engineering where they will present their project work to VIPs from local government, the ICE and those who supported them throughout the summer term. They’ll also take part in a project management challenge and construct a twelve-meter model bridge in a day!

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, and Sir John Armitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, will join the students at 10.30am to hear how they have enjoyed this real-time regeneration project and discuss the many rewarding careers which are open to students of STEM subjects

Molly McKenzie, ICE East Midlands Regional Director, said “This project is a great example of how our civil engineering heritage can combine with modern practices to bring benefits to today’s communities. It is an exciting opportunity to showcase the diversity of civil engineering and inspire our next generation of engineers.”

Lili concluded, “We’re delighted at the GCR that this project is already paying back to the area, before a train has even run. Our contractors made a real life start on preparing for the main line bridge earlier this year and construction will continue soon. We’re determined to allow students to follow the process from start to finish. How often might they get to study the construction of a railway, in their town close up? With rail rising up the national agenda, we’re proving steam engines and heritage still have a part to play.”