This page shows photographs of the “Bridging the Gap” operation - the construction of a bridge across the Midland Main Line in Loughborough. This is the first, and the major, part of the works required to link the southern and northern parts of the preserved Great Central Railway.
Click here for a map of this area from Bing
Notes on using the Bing Map
The map linked to is the Ordnance Survey map.
To see an aerial photograph of the area covered by the map click on the tab labelled “Ordnance Survey” at top right of the screen and select “Aerial”.
When finished with the map click on the browser “Back” button till you return here.
The intention is to update this page as work on the bridge progresses.
9/4/17. Work has started next to Preci-Spark, on the south side of the Midland Main Line, with the original embankment being reduced. On the right is the Hermitage Brook.
9/4/17. Reducing the embankment has revealed the method of construction of the original GCR bridge abutment. The embankment on the north side can be seen beyond the fence to the right of the signals, 9/4/17.
16/4/17. On the south side of the Midland Mainline the old embankment has been greatly reduced, but still a couple of feet high has been left and is being covered with chippings. The old abutment
remains - will it be reused?
Passing is 66019 with a northbound Network Rail works train.
16/4/17. A piling auger has arrived and is positioned on the north side of the Midland Mainline ready to bore the holes for the piling.
16/4/17. Nearby, steel reinforcing assemblies for the concrete piles are being built up.
The original pile boring machine left soon after the last report on 16/4/17, and there was little change since then until a new pile boring machine arrived on 26/5/17. This larger machine is required because of the higher than expected water table, though this has increased the cost of the project — see http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify/. So work should restart soon.
28/5/17. The larger pile boring machine stands on the left inside the work compound on the north side of the Midland Mainline.
9/6/17. The pile boring machine stands aside while concrete is poured into a bored hole next to the north side of the Midland Main Line.
9/6/17. Concrete being poured into a pile hole next to the north side of the Midland Main Line.
23/6/17. After completing some of the piles on the north side, the pile boring machine was moved overnight to the south side.
6/8/17. Abutments are being built by forming walls from concrete sections around the piles, inserting reinforcing bars and then filling with ready-mix concrete. On the south side the new abutment is situated between the old GCR brick abutment and the Midland Main Line.
6/8/17. The bridge abutments are progressing where the piles were inserted.
10/8/17. Steel structures are being erected on the concrete foundations of the abutments.
27/8/17. An enormous Liebherr LG 1750 crane has been used to put the abutment cappings in place and will be used to place the bridge into position.
27/8/17. A Meridian on a Nottingham to St. Pancras service passes the gap, which is about ready to take the new bridge, and the Liebherr LG 1750 crane that has been used to put the abutment cappings in place and will be used to place the bridge into position.
3/9/17 The side beams of the new bridge were delivered and installed in the early hours of Sunday 3rd September
3/9/17, 02:05am. The steel ropes are attached to the first side beam of the bridge after delivery by lorry. A Great Central Railway “Bridge to the Future” banner has also been attached.
3/9/17, 02:15am. The first side beam of the bridge is slowly lifted off the lorry, with perfect weather for the operation; dry and with little breeze.
3/9/17. The first side beam of the bridge (the west side) is gently lowered into position on the abutments.
3/9/17. The west side beam of the bridge is fixed to the abutments, about 37 years after the original bridge was removed.
3/9/17. Later that day, an Intercity 125 on the 1F39, 13:55, St Pancras International to Sheffield passes under this new feature over the the Midland Main Line. The banner that was in place during installation has been removed.
3/9/17. From the south side of the Midland Main Line the box-section construction of the side beams can be easily seen. The deck is to be fitted later.
It is readily apparent that the new bridge has been slewed slightly to the east of the original embankment here (the end wall of which can be seen to the left behind the white vehicle), to give room around Preci-Spark.
February 2018. The bridge is nearing completion with just the final facing blue bricks and the handrails needing fitting on the north side.
February 2018. On the south side Preci-Spark have had their carpark reinstated. A viaduct will be built over the edge of the carpark.
For more information about “Bridging the Gap” visit the Great Central Railway site at http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify/.
© 2001-2017 Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.