GCR canal bridge appeal reaches £250,000

The Great Central Railway's appeal for funds to repair a Victorian bridge in Loughborough has reached the quarter of a million pounds mark. It’s expected work work will go ahead over the coming winter.

The rapid climb from the previous total follows a successful national campaign in major magazines raising awareness of the project. Repairing the canal bridge to carry steam and diesel heritage trains is part of the bigger reunification scheme, which will bring together two halves of the Great Central Railway to create an eighteen mile whole GCR, running across the East Midlands. Already, millions of pounds has been invested building a new bridge over the Midland Main Line in Loughborough.

“We are grateful to everyone who continues to respond to our appeal,” said the Great Central Railways Managing Director Michael Gough. “During our national campaign we attracted many new donors from across the UK, but it is extremely humbling to still be receiving donations from the railway’s friends in the community.”

The work on the bridge needs to take place in the winter months to avoid major disruption to pleasure boat traffic on the canal. No date has yet been set for work to begin, while arrangements with contractors are concluded.

The appeal has a target of four hundred and seventy five thousand pounds. Beyond the appeal for the bridge work, funds will then need to be raised for the design work and preparation of a planning application for the remainder of the reunification scheme - one of the largest projects ever undertaken by a UK heritage railway.

“The reunification project is a long term aim, but we believe when complete it will be a benefit to the East Midlands economy and a significant national attraction,” continued Michael. “The canal bridge is the next part of the jigsaw. The support of everyone including our stakeholders is so encouraging. Meanwhile, as we plan the expansion, vital work is also continuing on our existing facilities and infrastructure to ensure the railway is something we can all be proud of.”

To find out more about the canal bridge appeal, the reunification project AND to make a donation online, head to www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify

Donations to the appeal through the post can be made with a cheque (payable to 'DAVID CLARKE RAILWAY TRUST' with Crossing the Canal written on the rear) sent to, DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 1SL.