The Loughborough 'Gap'

The Great Central main line crossed the Midland main line at Loughborough (near Midland station) on a four-span steel decked bridge.

  A view of the bridge as seen in LNER days in the 1940's

The bridge was demolished in the 1970's along with the embankment between here and Loughborough Central to the south. The Hermitage Brook, which runs along side the line south of here, promptly flooded properties the other side of the line and part of the embankment was put back.

The current view across Midland Main Line taken from the north embankment of the GCR looking south towards Loughborough Central

The intention, long term, is to restore the bridge and the embankments south to rejoin with Loughborough Central and the operating GCR there.

Initially, once the track from Rushcliffe Halt to Loughborough has been purchased, a temporary station will be constructed on the north embankment and served by GC(N) trains. A footpath connection will be made with Loughborough Midland.

Views showing the initial 'Loughborough High Level' station before the gap is bridged

The reconstruction of the bridge is a massive task and many designs have been put forward on how it will be done. Originally it was decided that a single track bridge and embankment would be constructed. According to Railtrack, the bridge must be a single span and be of electrification clearance. This means the bridge itself will need to be as thin as possible to lessen the height increase from required each side of it.

The plans for 'The Gap' showing new embankments and bridges

During recent years properties have encroached on the original formation and there is a car park on one part of it. The new embankment will have limited space as with having properties one side and a minimum 8 metres (just over 26 feet) needed next to the Hermitage Brook to service it space is tight. Using modern embankment techniques and a single track should mean just enough space.

Another view of the project from a different angle. The scheme presents some major engineering challenges

The Gap project is covered in great depth in previous issues of Main Line and you're well advised to get copies and have a read!

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