£500k now raised for heritage railway “Reunification” project
The Great Central Railway (GCR)’s plans to reconnect two halves of the award winning line are set to leap forward with a massive fundraising drive in March 2021.
A donor has offered to match fund any donations received during the month pound for pound up the value of £100,000.
“It’s an incredible moment for the project,” said Andy Fillingham, Chairman of the Friends of the Great Central Main Line who are arranging the fundraising. “We already have good news to share because our totaliser has reached half a million pounds. With everyone’s help we can spread some positivity and push that totaliser even higher thanks to the Money Match March scheme!”
The £multimillion project will create an 18 mile heritage railway linking Leicester and Ruddington, reconnecting two halves of the Great Central Railway separated after they were originally closed in the 1960s. 500m of railway needs to be rebuilt in Loughborough. Two parts of the scheme have now been completed, including building a brand new bridge to carry heritage trains over the national rail network.
The next two sections to be built have an estimated cost of £3m and have been called “The Factory Flyover” as they cross a factory car park and a road.
“As much as we would like to, we can’t build the next stages until we have the vast majority of the funding in place,” continued Andy. “That’s why Money Match March is so important. We can take the half a million pounds already raised and supercharge our fundraising thanks to this amazing offer. Every contribution takes us closer to building again and delivering the benefits of Reunification.”
The completed railway will be used not only for heritage trains and boosting tourism, but to attract more commercial work to the line including testing and training for other rail companies.
This will help secure the GCR’s long term future as well as bringing income to the East Midlands economy.
Meanwhile the latest plans for the next section have been published by the railway. Developed by engineering consultants Cass Hayward, they show concrete beams being used to construct the car park and road crossing. A reclaimed bridge deck donated by Network Rail will also be used.
“These are really exciting times for the Reunification scheme,” concluded Andy, “which was once described as impossible. People power is making it happen though and if everyone gets behind Money Match March, we’ll really have some momentum going.”
How to donate
- Donations can be made online at gcrailway.co.uk/unify
- Cheques for the appeal can be made payable to The David Clarke Railway Trust and posted to DCRT, Lovatt House, 3 Wharncliffe Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire , LE11 1SL
- Donations received in March online, or through the post will be matched pound for pound up to a value of £100,000.