Our thanks go to Mr. I. Fyvie, The Watercress Line, Mr. T. Knowles, Mr.S. Smalley, The North Norfolk Rly., Severn Valley Rly., and countless others for their assistance in this production.
This time out, I've decided to produce a somewhat nostalgic over-view from a selection of photos dating from the days of steam and sepia prints, and outline plans for a future NEW railway! A lot of you may recall the coverage of the Great Central Railway in a previous edition, but with few illustrations - here I have the chance to correct this. Even though the proposed railway is intended to be electrically hauled, this serves to demonstrate that the Victorians had got it right; just that the technology available was not sufficient to complete the plan for a rail - link to the continent.
The age - old argument for removing heavy goods from the roads, and the government's condemnation of increasing traffic volume appears to have been taken to task by a group of gentlemen, who propose to re - use the existing trackbed of the old G.C.R. route; primarily for goods traffic, but a strong possibility of passenger traffic also exists. Though pockets of resistance exist (particularly in the midlands), the idea is quite a feasible one. The upshot of this would mean that a lot of expensive earthworks would be un-necessary, as they already exist. The chances of a proper transport medium for such places as Woodford Halse would serve to enrich the lives of both the residents and the industries that have grown in these outreach locations (which rely upon road haulage purely, with an unbelievably poor bus service), never mind the major manufacturing centres to the north of the U.K.
The main opposition stems from people who have either bought property built on or near the original course of the trackbed, or extended their properties to include the same. Here a question arises:- would they argue so venomously if the railway was still running? This is highly doubtful, the same to be said if these folk needed the income to finance their mortgages, but I digress. A brief description and illustrations of the plan follow. The advantages are clear to anyone with access to the plans. The G.C. PLC Text. - With plan showing the original route, and subsequent alternatives planned, are available at http://www.rugbytown.co.uk/controv/greatcentral.htm.
Time will tell if this grand plan will come to fruition: in my own humble opinion, it would be far better used for the purpose for which it was originally intended, giving greater business opportunities and less chance of gridlock on major road routes. Not a bad thing, considering the state of motorways at present.
Another Stanier Black Five re-emerges from the fitting shops of the G.C.R. after an extensive re-building project, and looks magnificent. The G.C.R. had a few small teething troubles at it's inaugural run, but have the loco well sorted now. Congratulations again to the team on a job well done! In the meanwhile, fund- raising for the ambitious northern extension requires assistance. This will be possible, but major rebuilding of over-bridges provides an obstacle; in particular the span over the E.C.M.L. at Loughborough. All donations, regardless of size, would help towards this project to extend the line towards Nottingham, and would be most appreciated by G.C.R.
Of more newsworthy note is the predicament of 4472 Flying Scotsman. Whilst many think this loco is preserved, it is, in truth, privately owned, and it's future doubtful. The costs of maintenance and running a steam loco on the national network are high enough to be prohibitive, and the loco may be looking again for a new home. A permanent home in Edinburgh was considered, but no firm details are available at this time.
Various enthusiasts groups have entered discussions concerning this loco too; the subject being that the Apple Green livery is incorrect for the loco being fitted with the german style smoke deflectors (which were only adopted when in B.R. Brunswick Green). I'd consider the colour inconsequential - we are fortunate in having the only example of a Gresley A3 left, and in a mainline running condition. It makes little or no difference what colour is employed.
So we come again to the Christmas season, and the railway preservationists put on the customary Santa Specials for you and your kids to enjoy. If your kids haven't seen this, give them a treat - after all, the future belongs to them, and they can make a difference ! Happy Christmas to all of you, and see you next year !