Great Central Line


Finmere Station looking south

Our association is campaigning to protect the Great Central Trackway, especially around Catesby Tunnel and the wider corridor with deviation spaces where blockages may have arisen.  Our nation has a great need for the spare capacity reopening this line would contribute, as a conventional line able to take passenger and freight, catering for growth, modal shift and creating much needed capacity on the West Coast Main Line south of Rugby.

Our association’s vision is for the rebuilding of the Great Central South of Leicester. Coming off the Leicester-Nuneaton line you serve Lutterworth and link with West Coast Main Line at Rugby (on-off links), loop to link with the Northampton, loop for Rugby/Northampton direct to Leicester service capability on one core line, loop to link Daventry and Buckingham with Aylesbury for commuter and expansion purposes, with the fast line via Catesby Tunnel (needs saving from development blockages) – Brackley (new bypass needed) – Calvert (HS2 needs to ensure it can get in).

The English Regional Transport Association facilitates Forums in various places to enable people to tap into a meeting, make common cause and turn from looking inwards to what the executive can offer to being the answer to what is needed themselves as willing volunteers.

See also this download Great Central Dossier April 2017 by Richard Pill

See this for Press Release: Press Release 11-10-2018 ERTA-Great Central Project

The Benefits:

  1. New railway using old trackbed in part, creates capacity end to end of Midland Main Line south of Leicester.
  2. Creates capacity onto and off the West Coast Main Line at Rugby – enter via the north, exit via the south and loop round via grade separated junctions.
  3. Can be used for a variety of long and short conventional passenger and freight workings.
  4. Can be designed and engineered to cater for new and experimental freight flows like Roll-on, Roll-off, Piggyback and Motor-Rail as well as more capacity for growth. Blisworth freight depot; a pre-planning condition should be that it invests in reopening Northampton-Bedford to keep its freight off the busy West Coast Main Line, currently these developers have no guidance or incentive to make that contribution and we believe they should.
  5. Rugby-Leamington has partly been assumed as a link road and blocks part of the old trackbed out of Rugby. However land adjacent needs to be protected for realignment potential to keep the reopening option open and access into Rugby a key aspect.

We are thin on the ground personnel-wise. We are committed to holding Forums in Aylesbury, Rugby and Leicester – subject to demand and supply of people responding to the opportunity afforded and choosing to join, get involved and take a pro-active interest. Failure to respond, means we are limited in what we can do. The principle of reopening the Great Central Corridor are laid out in our report: where you can buy a pdf download, gem up and by all means come back with questions but also be prepared to be part of the answer.

What you can do: if you agree with what we are expressing here you can:

  • Sign external petition Re-open the GCML between London Marylebone, Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly on
  • Join ERTA – every member helps make us a louder shout for more of what we may wish for. Please see Membership page for more information.
  • Offer time and talent – if you want to get involved we have volunteer opportunities and whilst we welcome reliability and enthusiasm, we welcome any special focus’ or skills. Please see Get Involved (Volunteering) page for more information.
  • Area Reps convene meetings, gather people together, inform teams and help move projects along. It could be a new station, it could be a new piece of railway. It can start with you, as all progress and advocacy of improvement must. Please see Get Involved (Volunteering) page for more information.
  • We need trackbed watchers all along the line between Narborough-Rugby via Lutterworth and south of Rugby along the Canal corridor to Willoughby and south through to Brackley and south thereof to Calvert and the spur land use potential for direct Oxford and yonder running vice versa .Please see Get Involved (Volunteering) page for more information
  • We need people to make business cases and work at getting the case made up to acceptance by Network Rail’s GRIP process and at the Department for Transport (DfT).
  • We need people to object to planning applications and blockage threats, places like Woodford Halse are out in the sticks to non-car drivers like us, we need you to be our ears and eyes and report back.
  • We welcome people with time or talent or both to take pictures, monitor locations, lead and go with others to take delegated meetings with councils to win over to the principle of corridor re-railing, that is the goal and ticket, and can always be upgraded once established


Fill the Gaps with Rail for Modal Shift