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!

But in 2014 the work does not stop there and the project enters a major new exciting phase - with the proposed Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre.

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

Monday, 13 October 2014

Heritage Centre Project Gets Planning Approval

The Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre, has now received planning permission to go ahead with its ambitious project to build a heritage centre at Swithland Lane on the boundary of the two parishes. With finance and planning permission in place the hunt is already underway for suitable contractors to undertake the majority of the work.


The Heritage Centre will be constructed alongside the restored Mountsorrel Railway at Nunckley Hill, close to the Halstead Road junction and will be operated by an independent, not for profit company run by the community for the community. The aim is for the heritage centre and other attractions on the site to be free for the public to visit with a tea room generating income to allow the site to operate.

The plan involves the rescue, relocation and restoration of three old granite stone buildings, all of which have local importance and their own history, but are either in a poor state of repair or at risk of being lost. These will be relocated to Nunckley Hill to form the core of the heritage centre and tea room.

The scheme has been made possible thanks to Lafarge Tarmac who are providing the land required for the project, materials at prime cost, as well as a grant of £540,000 through their Landfill Tax Credits scheme. The remaining match funding has been provided by public donations and grants from the Rothley History Society, Friends of the Great Central Main Line, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Harry Hames Cottage Charity, the Helen Jean Cope Charity and the Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust.

The heritage centre will tell the interesting and varied story of both Mountsorrel and Rothley’s history, which includes connections to the abolition of the slavery movement, the Knights Templar and a castle built by a nephew of William the Conqueror!

As well as the heritage centre and tea room, the scheme also includes car parking, a half mile long “Nunckley Trail” nature path through woodland, created by volunteers over the past 18 months, a railway platform to allow visitors to ride heritage steam and diesel trains, which the Great Central Railway will run along the branch line starting next year. There will also be a quarry museum area providing a static recreation of how granite quarrying took place in Mountsorrel at the end of the 19th century. This involves the creation of replica stone built stone masons huts and railway sidings for shunting demonstrations.

A future addition will be a railway museum building housing historic railway vehicles that once worked at Mountsorrel quarry and an exhibition room to tell the story of the geology of Charnwood Forest as well as the history of quarrying at Mountsorrel. Funding is still required for these two buildings but the planning permission includes their construction.

To comply with funding conditions the work is scheduled to be completed by mid-summer 2015. To keep costs down, however, a substantial portion of the work will be carried out by community volunteers and several local companies have come on board to offer their advice, services and skills free of charge to help the project succeed. These include Lafarge Tarmac, Edward Hands & Lewis Solicitors, Ask Accounting, Languard Vegetation Management, Palmer Smith Tax Services, D & d Building Services Consulting Engineers, Kibworth Tax Services. The Rothley History Society, Mountsorrel Heritage Group and Rothley Heritage Trust are all working closely with the project also.

Project Leader Steve Cramp commented “We have been overwhelmed by the response of local businesses and individuals to our project, which continues to develop as more people hear what we are doing and have achieved. To reconstruct the branch line, from Bond Lane, Mountsorrel to Swithland sidings on the Great Central Railway, took us six years and was a tremendous achievement. The heritage centre is an equally ambitious project. We are very grateful to Lafarge Tarmac’s Landfill Community Fund for providing the majority of the funding for the scheme and also to the public and other charities and organisations that helped us to raise the £56,000 match funding required to release the landfill grant. The next 9 months are certainly going to be an exciting and busy time for our volunteers. We need more help so if you would like to volunteer and get involved, whether it be with physical work or with the many administration and planning tasks, please get in touch”.

For further information, or to volunteer, then email project leader Steve Cramp Vist the project website

If you would like to donate to the Exhibition and Museum Building fund then please send cheques made payable to “DCRT” (David Clarke Railway Trust) to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire LE12 7EW (Please write ‘Heritage Centre’ on the reverse of cheques.)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Mountsorrel Station Build Progress

Contractors and volunteers are making good progress with the station build at Mountsorrel.

The granite stone parapet wall at the end of the bridge has been rebuilt. Those of you who have followed the project for a while may remember our early endeavours to restore the bridge wall back in 2011? Sadly after much hard work the torrential weather of summer 2012 led to a torrent of water undermining the new wall foundations and the rebuilt section of wall had to be taken down.

Volunteers restoring the original wall in 2011.
The new wall as been built with the inclusion of drainage pipes in the foundations, so the wall should be able to with stand extreme weather we saw in 2012.
Contractors Steve Barsby and Jim Taylor work on the new wall.



The finished wall looks fantastic.

New gates have been installed to provide access to the station car park (left gate) and access to the field for the farmer (right gate) as the original field entrance had been lost due to the development.


Volunteers have repaired the dry stone walls either side of the new gates.


Good progress is being made on the access path that will bring visitors down from the car park to the station platform. The path will be fully disability friendly with hand rails along each side.


Work on the platform has also started. The foundations have been cast...



...and contractor Neil Birch has made a start on the block work for the platform and Nigel Copson has been laying new track drainage in the base of the cutting.


The platform will be 50m long and 2m wide, with the addition of 4m long ramps at either end.

Work will continue to progress over the coming weeks.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Grant Match Funding Target Reached!

Thanks to your help we've done it!! The £56,377 match funding money required to release the £540,000 Lafarge Tarmac Landfill Community fund grant, has now been raised.

A massive thanks goes to all of you who have donated or organised events and other activities to raise money, or helped with the fund raising process in other ways!

To raise such a large sum of money in only five months was certainly going to be a challenge. Your generosity has been overwhelming with most of the match funding money being donated by the public. This demonstrates the high level of public support for the scheme which was also evident at the planning public consultation days back in March and also by the large numbers of people who came to the project stand at last weekend's Mountsorrel Revival event.

More news to follow as we move forward to the next phase. Watch this space!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Only £3000 Needed to Reach Heritage Centre Target!

It feels like the entire community has been beavering away over the past few months with various fund raising activities to help raise the £56,000 match funding needed to release the £540,000 grant awarded by Lafarge Tarmac's Landfill Community fund to build the heritage centre.

Volunteers have undertaken sponsored activities, local schools have been fund raising, there have been community garden parties, to name but a few.

A huge thanks goes to everyone who has donated to our appeal and to all those who have been fund raising!

With just over £53,000 raised since February,only £3000 remains to complete the match funding. We only have until the end of the month to raise the remaining £3000 though. Time is running out and we need everyones help to take us over the finishing line!

Please sponsor a brick or make a donation of any amount large or small. If you work for a local company who might want to make a donation please get in touch. We are so close to our target now.

If you would like to find out about our project to create a community heritage centre next to the Mountsorrel Railway at Nunckley Hill, please see the details here.

To donate/sponsor a brick please send a cheque payable to "DCRT" (David Clarke Railway Trust) to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough, LE12 7EW. Don't forget to fill in a Donation and Gift Aid forms.

Don't delay! With your help we can do it!   

  

Young People Group Visits

Many local Scout, Guide, Cub and Brownie groups have sponsored bricks for our heritage centre match funding appeal and have enjoyed evening visits to the Nunckley Trail throughout May and June.




Through their visits to the trail the children have been able to learn how to identify different types of birds by their bird song and to discover the other wildlife of the Nunckley Trail through fun eco quizzes and other activities.

Evening visits have come to a close now for this year.

Stephen Dorrel MP Visits

In early July MP for Charnwood Stephen Dorrel kindly took time from his busy schedule to come to visit the railway to see the Nunckley Trail and to learn about the community benefits the proposed Mountsorrel And Rothley Community Heritage Centre will bring. Mr Dorrel was very impressed with what he saw and was astounded by the progress made on the railway restoration and the Nunckley Trail since his last visit three years ago.

It was our vision for the heritage centre project that really impressed him the most though. Our careful attention to detail, in particular with the quiet room for disabled visitors and visitors with long term illness, was just one of many examples of how the project will provide an invaluable resource for the community.

Mr Dorrel has pledged his full support for the heritage centre project.

Nunckley Trail

The wild flower meadow, funded by Leicestershire County Council's Stepping Stones Project and planted by local school children last October, has been a resounding success. The first year wildflowers have been fabulous and the insect life they have encouraged has been clear to see. We look forward to the meadow looking even more colourful next summer. Pictures thanks to Mark Ramsell.



 

 

Work has started on creating a sensory area aimed at stimulating touch, smell, sight and sound, for both able bodied visitors and visitors with disabilities.

An outside Eco classroom has been created for use by local schools and young people groups. The classroom has already been used by local Cub, Guide and Brownies and should help in our quest to encourage children and young people to learn about the wildlife around us.

Loughborough Round Table

Loughborough Round Table have very kindly provided a grant of £260 to sponsor the provision of Braille information panels on the next 7 information boards that are to go up at points of interest around the Nunckley Trail.

The boards themselves are sponsored by Loughborough University. It is important to us to ensure the trail is as inclusive as possible, so being able to include Braille for visitors who are visually impaired is paramount. However, the provision of Braille doubles the cost of each board, so we are very grateful to Loughborough Round Table for allowing us to include Braille.


In all there will be 14 boards. Funding is still required for the Braille panels on the final 6 boards, so if your group or company would like to sponsor the £230 Braille cost for the remaining 6 boards, please get in touch.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Branch Line Restoration Progress

Our track volunteers have spent the past 6 months "fettling" the ballast around the track. The ballast is very important to a railway as it holds the track in place. The process is a painstaking task which involves shovelling up excess ballast onto trolleys for transport to other parts of the track where there is not enough. The shoulders either side of the track need to be supported, especially on the tight curves. Our volunteers have worked very hard at this and the process is finally complete.
 


There was one area close to the Swithland Lane bridge where there was a small hump in the track. The only way to deal with this was to shovel all the ballast away, jack the track up so that ballast under the sleepers could be removed, which allows the track to sit lower.

Ballast is hard to shovel and with some 20 tons to dig out were lucky to draft help form AON Insurance who were running a volunteer day for their staff. A team of 14 AON volunteers consisting of 10 ladies and 4 men came to help with the process. There is sometimes the misconception that ballast work is a heavy job best suited to big strapping lads, but the girls from AON certainly dispelled that myth and on a very hot day managed to remove all the ballast from the track!


 
 
With help from our track volunteers the track was lowered, the hump removed and the line repacked with ballast and ready for trains.



A big thanks goes to AON for their help!

This means that the track is complete along the full length of the line with the exception of the final 100m which is still to lay at Mountsorrel Halt.
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