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.

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.

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!   

  
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