Canal Bridge Completed

From Loughborough comes news that a major two-day operation at the start of this month has ‘all but’ finished the overhaul of the elegant Victorian railway bridge which spans the Grand Union Canal in the town. The relevance of this restoration for our village is that it marks another step forward for the eighteen mile heritage line vision between Ruddington and Leicester North by reconnecting the currently separate sections of tracks operated by volunteers from our own Great Central Railway – Nottingham (GCRN) and Loughborough’s Great Central Railway (GCR). Built in the…

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Stay Off the Tracks!

Managers at Ruddington’s heritage railway centre have issued a trespass warning – after reports that a number of people have been walking along their tracks between here and East Leake. It seems the problem started as villagers sought out longer, ‘socially distanced’ walks when exercise restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak were eased. It also appears to have been exacerbated by an online video blog recommending this activity – for which the blogger has since apologised. It’s clear that she, and others taking to the empty tracks, didn’t…

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Iconic ‘Railbus’ for Ruddington

Ruddington’s Great Central Railway (Nottingham) has revealed that the latest addition to its heritage fleet should mean it will able to run trains here all year ’round. Currently services are operated by its volunteers only through the summer, in the lead-up to Christmas and over some other half-term holiday periods. However, the imminent arrival of a Class 144 DMU Railcar (144003) from Porterbrook, to become preserved for heritage use, could see services increasing to 52 weekends a year. Once it’s released from mainline duties during the first half of this year, and following a…

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More Vandalism at GCRN

It seems vandals have struck again at our heritage railway centre. Nottinghamshire Police are reporting that, over the past few nights, a total of six windows over a number of carriages have been broken at Ruddington’s Great Central Railway – Nottingham. The latest, mindless attack comes as railway volunteers are still trying to raise funds to fix the estimated £80,000 of damage caused there by vandalism just over three months ago. On that occasion two boys were arrested in connection with the incident. It also resulted in the setting up of a dedicated fundraising…

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Bombs to Butterflies Revisited

Older Ruddingtonians will remember the days before Rushcliffe Country Park – when this sizeable area of the village was used as an Ordnance Storage and Disposal Depot. Our senior citizens will perhaps have even earlier memories – when it housed a bomb-filling factory during the Second World War. In 2003, a book called ‘Bombs to Butterflies’ was published by The Ruddington History Society and The Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park. It was edited by Margaret Lawson and told the history of the area from wartime up to when it became a…

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Arrests Made After Railway Vandalism

Nottinghamshire Police say they have arrested two boys in connection with the criminal damage at Ruddington’s Great Central Railway site on Monday (29th April). Volunteers at our village heritage centre have estimated that the attack – reportedly involving around half a dozen young people who smashed a total of 112 windows on various items of coaching stock and two diesel railcars – will cost around £80,000 to repair. They were then disturbed by a volunteer and are believed to have fled on bikes toward Rushcliffe Country Park. It has prompted dismay and…

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Vandals Cause £80,000 Damage to Heritage Railway

Ruddington’s Great Central Railway (Nottingham) is appealing for your help to catch those responsible for a relentless campaign of thefts and mindless acts of vandalism at the much loved, village tourist attraction. Director Phil Stanway reveals that, over the past six to eight weeks, their site has been subjected to an ongoing and concerted spate of theft and vandalism attacks – involving multiple break ins to vehicles and buildings and deliberate damage on a large scale. All along the railway, which operates 10 miles from the base at Ruddington, through East Leake to…

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Heritage Railway Fundraising Milestones Reached

It’s just over a year since we reported an historic moment for The Great Central Railway – when a new bridge rejoining two sections of the line divided for almost half a century was lowered into place. This structure (right) bridges the gap over the Midland Mainline. However, in order for trains to begin running all the way from Ruddington to Birstall again, there is still much work to be done. That includes repairing the existing canal bridge at Loughborough (GCR’s top photo) for which a fundraising milestone has just…

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Fire Halts Weekend Steam Trains

Steam hauled services along the Great Central Railway from Ruddington have again been withdrawn after the embankment fire at East Leake on Sunday. The blaze came only a week after GCRN’s resident steam loco was reinstated on the heritage line between our village and Loughborough. Planned trips using Hunslet 2890 had been suspended since early July due to concerns about the risk of trackside fires during the long, dry heatwave. But after the recent wet and cooler weather, it was thought they could safely be reintroduced. These photos taken soon afterwards by…

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Trains Cancelled and Sky Lanterns & BBQs Banned

Whilst many are enjoying the extended heatwave and glorious sunshine, unfortunately the hot and dry weather has had a negative impact on one of Ruddington’s key tourist attractions. After safety concerns, Great Central Railway (Nottingham) has cancelled all its planned steam services this Sunday (8th July). After initial worries about trackside fires being caused by sparks from the funnel of the historic Hunslet 2890 ‘Douglas’ loco, which was due to operate today, the reason given was “…issues affecting the rail caused by the current heatwave.”  GCRN’s statement adds: “A further inspection will take place…

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