Background

The mission of the Mountsorrel Railway project is to recreate this once forgotten industrial steam line, which was crucial to the local Leicestershire community. We have nearly finished recreating the railway - thanks to your support!

Since 2014, the project has entered a major new phase - with the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre, due for completion late 2015 / early 2016.

Please make a donation today, or volunteer your skills. Thank you.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Work Starts on Heritage Centre Build

Work is finally underway on the construction of the heritage centre project.


The new entrance onto Swithland Lane was the first element to be built.


The old Time Office from Mountsorrel Quarry has been dismantled and relocated to Nunckley Hill. The Time office will be rebuilt to form the new tea room.

Time Office can be seen in the centre of this late 19th century picture, next to the tall chimney. (Lafarge Tarmac archive)

Volunteers are sorting through the Time Office stones/bricks into sizes and cleaning ready for re-assembly.


The historic barn on Kinchley Lane has also been dismantled. This will be relocated and rebuilt to form the heritage centre itself. This building was saved just in time as the area where it stood will soon be lost through expansion of Mountsorrel Quarry.



Contractors Carlin Construction from Nottingham were successful in winning the contract to build the heritage centre, as well as the new station platform at Nunckley Hill. The new platform will allow visitors to join and leave the trains running on the restored Mountsorrel Railway.

Mic Robins of Carlin Construction commented "We were in awe of the work that the volunteers have already done and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to work on such an exciting and unique project, that has so much community support."

Foundations for the heritage centre are now being dug and it is hoped to see the centre start to rise from the ground over the coming weeks.

 
Local digger operator Steve Barsby is working to create the site road way. This will give access to the base of the old Nunckley Hill quarry and allow historic railway vehicles to be brought to the new railway museum, which will be built as part of phase 2 once funding is in place.


Project volunteers have spent the past few weeks laying the new point into the branch line that will feed the new demonstration sidings and museum.

 

A new path is also being created to connect the Nunckley Trail to the heritage centre site.


Much work is taking place by volunteers on the Nunckley Trail itself. Over the past few months many thousands of wild flower seeds have been planted by volunteers and over 150 Guides, Brownies and Rainbows who have visited the project.


The sensory area is also being developed and dry stone walls restored. A small Victorian herb garden has been created mimicking the Dobb Hall herb garden that may have served the old ruined house in the middle of the site.
Sensory Area
 
Victorian era herb garden
 
Wildlife certainly seems to be appreciating the work our ecology group volunteers are doing!

 
 
 
Work continues to complete the remaining railway related tasks required before the line can open. At present, the opening date for the railway and Mountsorrel Station for passenger trains is looking to be mid October. More details to follow as soon as they are finalised.

As the heritage centre project moves into top gear, now is your time to come and get involved. We have so many varied and interesting tasks to tackle over the coming months that we very much need your volunteer help with. If you can spare a few hours on a Tuesday or Thursday, or especially on a Saturday, then please get in touch with project leader Steve Cramp.

Fund raising is now firmly focused on the phase 2 Mountsorrel Railway Museum and Exhibition buildings in the base of the old quarry. The museum will allow historic railway vehicles from the old Mountsorrel quarry to be displayed to the public and the exhibition building will tell the story of the geology of the Charnwood Forest, the history of quarrying in Mountsorrel and the story of the Mountsorrel Railway.


Site plan with the phase 2 Mountsorrel Railway Museum and Exhibition buildings circled in blue. 
Planning permission has already been obtained for the construction of both buildings, which will cost £70,000. It is more cost effective and simpler to add these buildings during the current construction phase rather than once the centre is open, so please consider making a donation to our phase 2 appeal. Our sponsor a brick appeal is still open. Bricks cost £50 each and can be sponsored by individuals, couples or families, or even as a present for a friend or relative. Sponsors will have their name displayed on the large sponsorship plaque on the wall of the heritage centre tea room.





Sunday, 15 March 2015

Project News Update

Mountsorrel Station is now complete. Only signage and some painting in the warmer months remains to be done. Track laying has also been completed through the station. A buffer and sand drag have been installed on the other side of the bridge at Bond Lane.
     

 
 

The granite outcrop problem that delayed construction of the station car park entrance was finally dealt with and the entrance is now also complete.




At Nunckley Hill there has been much activity around the Nunckley Trail. Hedge laying has taken place, dry stone walls have been restored, additional trail information boards have been erected and two areas have been set aside for wild flower seed sowing to bring more summer colour and wildlife to the trail.



Sponsorship for hedge bushes, seeds, a wheel barrow and information boards has been secured. More about this in the next update.

The heritage centre project is also taking giant leaps forward. The volunteers have been burning the midnight oil (and in some cases the 3am oil!) to work through the huge list of legal and other details that have to be dealt with before a spade can even go into the ground. Unavoidable delays in these areas have inevitably led to delays in the start of construction work, but we are now very close to the end of the tender process with an anticipated start of work on the ground in April.

Building work will proceed until around October and it is hoped to open the heritage centre in late 2015/early 2016.

Work has started on dismantling the old buildings that will be saved and relocated to form the new heritage centre. The Time Office has already been dismantled and the barn will follow shortly.

Yesterday the volunteers lifted sections of track to allow the point to be installed that will lead into the historical quarry recreation and museum sidings, which are part of the heritage centre project. There was almost a surreal feeling as we were taking track out opposed to laying it! Volunteers will be installing the new point over the coming weeks.


A new website for the heritage centre project is also under construction, so look out for news of that in the coming weeks. 
Several new films of the branch line have been updated to the project's Youtube channel.

The project is about to enter its busiest phase and we need additional volunteers, both to help tackle the physical work on the ground and to help behind the scenes with tasks such as organising services connections, sourcing materials and specialised contractors, etc.

If you can help please get in touch by email

 
It had been hoped that the opening of the railway would be early July, but it is looking increasingly likely that this will slip back further as additional work has been identified that needs to be completed before the railway can open. Most noticeable of these is a second safety sand drag siding at the GCR end of the branch line. We have been left with a cost short fall of just under £10,000 to fund this before the line can open. We are appealing for public donations to help raise the shortfall as quickly as possible.

If you would like to make a donation, please send your donation cheque payable to "DCRT" (David Clarke Railway Trust), c/o 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire LE12 7EW (and write "Mountsorrel Railway" on the back of the cheque).

Many thanks for your support.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Mountsorrel Station Almost Complete

Work on the new Mountsorrel Station has moved into its final stages with the completion of the platform.


The platform picket fence will be painted white and there still remains some general tidying up of the site to do and other small finishing off jobs. The final major task is the construction of the car park connection to the highway.



The station landscaping is also complete with the planting of the boundary hedgerow, new trees and the cutting sides have been sown with wild flower seed.
 

The most striking element of the new platform is the station sign. This has been constructed by our volunteer Ray Martindale with sponsorship of the sign timber coming from Harbot Builders of Carlisle Street, Leicester.




On December 1st LMS Jinty no. 47406 came along the branch line to Mountsorrel station to bring track materials ready for track laying in front of the station platform and made an impressive sight on the 1:70 climb away from Mountsorrel Station!


 



A volunteer has also taken some aerial photos of the new station site.





We would like to say thanks to the contractors who have worked on the station project - Costock Building Services, J. Taylor Landscapes and Steve Barsby Digger Services. We also thank Lafarge Tarmac for providing the Landfill Tax Credits grant to allow the station to be built as well as materials for the build and their digger operator Nigel Copson. Most of all we give thanks to our hard working team of volunteers who over the past few months have at times worked 7 days a week side by side with the contractors to help keep construction costs to a minimum.

There is still much to do early next year with track laying. This is a task that needs at least 20 volunteers each Saturday, so if you fancy burning off some of those extra Christmas calories, please get in touch and spend a day volunteering with us track laying. No previous experience is necessary so give it a try!

May we wish all our website, Facebook and Twitter followers a very happy Christmas and thank you for your support over the past year.
 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mountsorrel Station Build Progresses



Contractors and community volunteers continue to work side by side to create Mountsorrel Station.

Costock Building Services have completed the platform block work. A 58m long platform, including ramps at either end, has been created. The platform has been designed for a train consisting of two coaches and a steam loco or a two coach diesel rail car.


The contractor is currently laying the platform surface. Volunteers will then erect a traditional picket fence at the rear of the platform and the station name board.

Volunteers have undertaken extensive work to improve the drainage in the cutting side above the new platform. The location of a new platform in the base of the cutting has made the build quite complex. New gulleys have been dug by hand and original field drains have been repaired and improved. Thanks as well to Nigel Copson of Lafarge Tarmac who has helped with the drainage and other work.




Contractors Steve Barsby Digger Services and J. Taylor Landscapes have worked with our volunteers to create the disability friendly access path to connect the new platform to the car park.  Work on the access path is very nearly complete with only the final connection to the platform still to be built.


   
Volunteers have erected the timber fencing for the car park.



The car park itself is very nearly finished. Stone foundations were laid which were then covered by a plastic mesh that is then filled with soil. Grass seed will be spread to grow a green natural surface that is very durable, strong and hard wearing.



Volunteers are starting to work on the landscaping of the site. The first task is to tidy the cutting sides to create the final profile, which has involved a lot of work with spades and barrows! Volunteers will then be planting trees, hedgerows and seeding the banks with a wildflower meadow mix, which should hopefully ensure plenty of colour by the opening next year!


 
As well as a big thank you to the contractors and community volunteers who have at times been working on the site 7 days a week, we are very grateful to Lafarge Tarmac who have provided most of the funding and some of the materials for the station build, the Edith Murphy Foundation and Leicestershire County Council who provided the match funding.
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