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.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

July News

Voting Success

We did it!!

Out of 169 projects nationwide we came 3rd, which is just remarkable! We were up against some very stiff competition, so it is a tremendous achievement to take 3rd place.

All of the top 15 projects each receive a £5000 grant. The grant will cover the materials and tools we need to create the stone masons huts in the base of the quarry. The rebuild/restoration of the huts will be tackled entirely by our volunteer team. We are aiming to start work on this segment of the project in October, with the aim of having the huts ready for the opening of the heritage centre site in early 2016.

 
Thank you very much to all of you who voted for us. We couldn’t have done it without your support!

Now you’ve helped us secure the funding, why not volunteer and get involved with the actual building of the huts! If you are interested then contact project leader Steve Cramp.

Heritage Centre/Coffee Shop Progress

The heritage centre building is rising quickly!
 
 
The heritage centre section of the building, which is the relocated historic barn from Kinchley Lane, is already up to the second floor.
 
 
The tea room/coffee shop element is the old Time Office from Mountsorrel quarry. Both of these elements of the build are being built by utilising an internal timber frame design with surrounding block walls. The original stones are then built up on the outside. Externally the buildings will look identical to the originals, yet are fully eco friendly to heat and comply with modern building regulations. The external stone walls are due to start to be built towards the end of July.    


The original grant completion date was July 12th but an extension has been granted due to the long period of time it took to sort out the legal side of the build, which was out of our control.

The main building is due to be completed in October.

Track Donation

British Celanese at Derby have very kindly donated track materials for the quarry demonstration sidings, which are part of the heritage centre site.

Three sidings will be laid together with a fourth loading siding. Two of the sidings will one day lead into the Mountsorrel Railway Museum building, which will be built as part of Phase 2 subject to funding (see below).

 
The sidings will not be used for the storage of railway vehicles, they will allow the three Mountsorrel Granite Company wagons (restored by local school children) to be displayed and to operate shunting demonstrations.  

Project volunteers made several trips over to Derby in May and June to dismantle the track and assemble into stacks ready for transport.

 
We are extremely grateful to British Celanese for their very kind donation.

Railway Progress

With the arrival of the track materials from Derby, volunteers have already started to lay the siding connection track into the base of Nunckley Hill.
 
 
On going progress of the siding track laying can be viewed on our time lapse picture sequence.

In addition to this, preparation is taking place for the erection of lever frames to control the points at Nunckley Hill and also the new run off sand drag siding at the junction with the GCR.

The GCR’s Signal and Telegraph volunteers have been building the ground frames to hold the levers and restoring the other items required to connect up the points.
 
Ground frame
 
Restored point lever
Ground Signal

Mountsorrel Station

The foundations have been laid for the new Nunckley Hill station. The platform will allow passengers to leave/join the train from the heritage centre site.

 

Nunckley Trail
 
Volunteers have been working hard to look after and promote the wildlife around the Nunckley Trail through the most active season of the year. In addition to this volunteer Chris Thompson has created a wonderful sculpture close to the sensory area. The idea of the sculpture is to encourage the sense of touch to feel the texture of the wood and different shapes.
 

The area where the Guide, Brownies and Rainbow groups planted wild flower seeds back in April, is now starting to flower.
 
  
Mountsorrel Station

The final tasks at Mountsorrel Station are underway. These include the erection of the station signage. The new car park entrance sign looks especially effective.


The car park has been constructed of a grid surface which allows grass to grow through whilst still supporting vehicle use all year round. This was an important part of our determination to minimise the visual impact of the station. The car park is now starting to green up and blend in with the neighbouring field.
 

The Great Central Railway will be opening the Mountsorrel Railway for a special weekend on October 24th/25th. This weekend will be a trial weekend to assess passenger numbers and operational requirements, prior to regular operation of the line in early 2016. Mark the weekend in your diary and make sure you don’t miss it. High visitor numbers over this weekend will be essential to ensure regular use through 2016. More details to follow nearer the time.

Phase 2 Appeal

The final costings are in for the Phase 2 Museum and exhibition buildings at the rear of the old Nunckley Hill quarry. A potential funding source has been identified and a grant application submitted. We need to raise £7,800 in match funding ourselves, should the grant be awarded. So far £1600 has been raised so we still have £6,200 to go. If successful it is hoped to start work on phase 2 in October with completion by the end of the year.
 
CAD model showing the Mountsorrel Railway museum and exhibition buildings to the left of view.
Please consider making a donation to our phase 2 appeal. Any amount both large or small would be very much appreciated. Our sponsor a brick appeal is still open. Bricks cost £50 each and can be sponsored in your name, in memory of someone, a family name or as a gift. All the brick sponsors names will appear on a large commemorative plaque in the heritage centre tea room.

Here are the links where you can download Donation and Gift Aid forms with all the details of where to send your donation cheque. If you would like to donate online please contact Steve Cramp for details.

Volunteering

With so many varied and interesting tasks underway, there are many volunteering opportunities to interest everyone. If you are available on an occasional Saturday, Tuesday or Thursday and would like to get involved, then please get in touch with Steve Cramp.

 

 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Stone Mason's Huts Restoration Online Vote

As detailed in our last post. We are hoping to secure a grant of £5000 to recreate 3 stone mason's huts. These were once common at Mountsorrel quarry but none survive. The restored huts would be used for stone dressing demonstrations on select days.

Voting has been busy and with only 3 days to go until voting closes on Monday lunchtime June 29th, we are currently in 10th place, the top 15 places all receive a £5000 grant.

However, only a handful of votes separates the final few places, so we really do need you to vote for us as we approach the finish line. Click on the link below to see our page, register your email address and look out for the confirmation email which you need to reply to, beaware that this might go ito your spam folder. Once registered click on the link below again and you should be able to vote.

There have been technical hitches which have now been corrected so if you have tried to vote and been unsuccessful, please try again. Your vote really will make the difference between whether we secure the grant or not. Please help!

https://foundation.onefamily.com/projects/mountsorrel-railway-project/

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Online Funding Vote

The project has been shortlisted for a funding award of £5000 to help volunteers construct the replica Stone Mason's huts at the new heritage centre site.


Around 100 years ago the old Mountsorrel quarry had hundreds of these huts around the outside of the quarry. A stone mason worked in each hut with his hammer and chisel all day long, working the stone to create road side kerbs, setts (road cobbles) and dressed building stone.

Our aim is to recreate three of these huts in the historic quarry recreation area alongside the new heritage centre. Volunteers intend to undertake all of the building work with the grant covering material costs.

On select days each year it is hoped to bring in a stone mason to give demonstrations to visitors of how the granite would have been worked at Mountsorrel all those years ago.  

The grant award will be decided based on an online public vote. Please give us your support and spare a couple of minutes to vote at the following link. 

https://foundation.onefamily.com/…/mountsorrel-railway-pro…/

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.
 
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