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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.
It was not intended to duplicate the Midland line by serving a great many centres of population.
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.
Avoiding Wigston, the GCR served Lutterworth (the only town on the GCR not to be served by another railway company) before reaching the town of Rugby (at Rugby Central), where it crossed at right-angles over, and did not connect with, the LNWR's West Coast Main Line.
It continued southwards to Woodford Halse, where there was a connection with the East and West Junction Railway (later incorporated into the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway), and slightly further south the GCR branch to the Great Western Railway station at Banbury.
It was built by the railway entrepreneur Edward Watkin who aimed to run a high-speed, north-south main line to London.
The line was designed to a specification which permitted trains to run at higher speeds; Watkin believed that it would be possible to run direct rail services between Britain and France and had presided over an unsuccessful project to dig a tunnel under the English Channel in the 1880s.
Apart from a small freight branch to Gotham between Nottingham and Loughborough, and the "Alternative Route" link added later (1906), these were the only branch lines from the London extension.
The line crossed several other railways but had few junctions with them.
A number of new viaducts were constructed for the line including the 21-arch Brackley Viaduct, and viaducts at Braunston, Staverton and Catesby in Northamptonshire, one was built over the River Soar, along with two over Swithland Reservoir in Leicestershire, and one over the River Trent near Nottingham.
Several tunnels had to be built, the longest of which was the 2,997 yards (2,740 m) Catesby Tunnel.
He had grand ambitions for the company: he had plans to transform it from a provincial middle-of-the-road railway company into a major national player.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating