Several tunnels had to be built, the longest of which was the 2,997 yards (2,740 m) Catesby Tunnel.
Instead it was intended to link the MS&LR's system stretching across northern England directly to London at as high a speed as possible and with a minimum of stops and connections: thus much of its route ran through sparsely populated countryside.
Starting at Annesley in Nottinghamshire, and running for 92 miles (148 km) in a relatively direct southward route, it left the crowded corridor through Nottingham (and Nottingham Victoria), which was also used by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), then struck off to its new railway station at Leicester Central, passing Loughborough en route, where it crossed the Midland main line.
At the time many people questioned the wisdom of building the line, as all the significant population centres which the line traversed were already served by other companies.
However, Watkin defended it by arguing that growth in traffic would justify the new line.
The GCML was very much a strategic line in concept.
It was not intended to duplicate the Midland line by serving a great many centres of population.You'll receive a free portion of Dough Balls and be in with a chance to win a £500 gift card. The Great Central Main Line (GCML), also known as the London Extension of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR), is a former railway line in the United Kingdom.It was opened in 1899 by the Great Central Railway and ran from Sheffield in the North of England, southwards through Nottingham and Leicester to Marylebone in London.The GCML was the last main line railway to be built in Britain during the Victorian period.Watkin was an ambitious visionary; as well as running an independent trunk route into London, he also aspired to connect his larger railway empire to the rail network of France and had even begun a project to dig a channel tunnel under the English Channel, Watkin's Great Central Main Line was designed to a continental European loading gauge, more generous than the usual specification on British railway lines, and it is thought that Watkin's aim was to construct a line which, when connected to a future channel tunnel, would be able to accommodate larger continental rolling stock.