See new website

The Mountsorrel Railway is part of the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre. This website is no longer updated. For updates see:

Tuesday 22 December 2015

New Website

The Mountsorrel Railway blog has been a great way of keeping supporters up to date with progress over the past few years. The project has now grown to encompass much more than the Mountsorrel Railway, with the heritage centre site on Swithland Lane due to open next April.

A new website has been setup to provide information, news and other details about both the Mountsorrel Railway and the Mountsorrel And Rothley Community Heritage Centre.  News updates that would have appeared here will now be posted to the news pages of the website, so please update your book marks.

Please take a look at the new site where you will find photos of the newly completed Mountsorrel Railway Museum and Exhibition Buildings, as well as the almost complete heritage centre and Nunckley Hill station.

There is also an excellent time lapse sequence which is updated each week and shows the rapidly changing progress at Nunckley Hill since May 2015.

This blog will be retained and linked through the heritage centre website so you can still look back through the remarkable achievements since the blog was launched in 2008.

Thank you for your support and we very much hope that you'll stop by the new website from time to time and come and visit when the heritage centre and Mountsorrel Railway are open in 2016!

May we wish you a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!


Thursday 12 November 2015

Opening Weekend Success

Apologies for the delay in writing this update, the past few weeks have been a blur with so much going on.

The opening weekend of the railway was a huge success with all trains sold out!

Such was the enthusiasm, not just from the volunteers, but from all the visitors that came as well, that not even the a rainy Saturday could spoil things. The first train of the day was reserved for the volunteers and it was great to see so many of the team altogether. This was followed straight after with the VIP opening train.

The new platform at the heritage centre was almost finished so our VIP guests were able to board the train there and ride to Mountsorrel Station, so we had two brand new stations in action! Thanks go to Lord Faulkner who made a very good opening speech at Mountsorrel Station, thanking the volunteers for their tremendous achievement. A banner was then held across the line for the train to break through declaring the Mountsorrel Railway and Mountsorrel Station officially open.

Public trains got underway at 12:30 and all trains ran almost to time through the afternoon.

On Sunday the sun was out which really showed off the character of the branch line to full effect. The first train was at 9:30 and there were 10 departures through the day. Both the branch line volunteers and the GCR volunteers worked very hard to try to find spaces on the trains for everyone. It was certainly a very busy day and the afternoon ended with the last trains running bang on time.

Over 1100 visitors rode the trains over the weekend, plus the volunteer and VIP trains. The feedback from visitors was outstanding and the kind words were much appreciated by everyone who has worked so hard these past 8 years. Even though the branch line offers a great deal, this is tiny compared to what it will offer next year when the heritage centre opens as well. A visit to the Mountsorrel Railway won't only include a train journey, you could also visit the heritage centre, historic quarry recreation, Mountsorrel Railway Museum, Exhibition building, Nunckley Trail and a trip to Granites coffee shop for refreshment as well! We very much hope you'll pay us a visit next year when everything is open.

We must thank all the many individuals, organisations, groups and companies who have helped the project to succeed. We have been blessed with an amazing team of inspiring volunteers. The GCR volunteers and staff have also been exceptional, especially in recent months on the build up to opening. We must also thank Tarmac who have provided substantial grants for Mountsorrel Station and the heritage centre site. Thanks as well to the Leicester City Fire Brigade Museum who very kindly provided a Green Goddess fire engine for the weekend to help water the steam locos.

There are several videos, plus TV and radio news coverage and selections of pictures from the weekend on the heritage centre website at the following link, they are well worth a look!


Wednesday 21 October 2015

Opening Weekend Update

Unfortunately steam loco "Colin McAndrew" has had to withdraw from hauling the opening weekend trains due to a mechanical fault. The loco has been replaced at very short notice by LNER Y7 from the Middleton Railway. A big thank you goes to everyone who has been involved in arranging the late hire of this loco.

Advanced tickets for some of the weekend trains had sold out so we are pleased to say that additional advance purchase tickets have been released for all of the weekend's trains. Tickets can be bought from the GCR's website until 4pm on Friday and will be sent to you by email.

There will still be tickets available for every train to buy on the day, but we strongly recommend buying your tickets in advance from the website to avoid the need to queue on the day.

With two steam locos working hard on the branch line gradients, plus guided tours of the new heritage centre site, it should be an opening weekend not to miss! Remember that this will be your only chance to ride the Mountsorrel Railway for sometime.

Toilets and a catering van will be provided at Mountsorrel Station. Disabled access is also available to the trains,  but we ask that visitors who require wheel chair access contact us in advance so we can ensure that space is available. 

Thursday 15 October 2015

Steam Locos For Opening Weekend

We are very pleased to say that two steam locomotives will be visiting for the opening weekend. All trains will be hauled top and tailed by 0-4-0 Peckett "Teddy" and 0-4-0 Barclay "Colin McAndrew".

0-4-0 Peckett "Teddy"
"Teddy" is named after the rev Teddy Boston who setup the Cadeby Light Railway in the grounds of the Cadeby village rectory. The loco was based there from 1982 until 2006. It is wonderful to see the loco back in Leicestershire again.

0-4-0 Barclay "Colin McAndrew"
"Colin McAndrew" was built in 1911 and was a former railway contractors locomotive.

Both locomotives are ideal for the Mountsorrel Railway with its tight curves and steep gradients and we are very grateful to the owners of both locomotives for allowing them to come and be part of the historic opening!

Monday 5 October 2015

Book Online for Mountsorrel Railway Opening!

Advanced tickets are now available for the historic opening of the Mountsorrel Railway on October 24th and 25th. Full details of the event and advance tickets can be purchased on the Great Central Railway web site by clicking here.

The VIP opening of the railway will take place on the Saturday morning, so please come along to see the train break through the banner and the opening celebrations. Further details will follow nearer the time.

Public trains will commence at 12:30. There will be 5 trains on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday 25th 10 trains will run starting at 9:30am.

To avoid disappointment we recommend booking in advance, although tickets will be available from the train staff on the day.

Stonehurst Farm have very kindly agreed to allow the use of the corner of their field directly next to the station for overflow parking. This should ease the parking situation over what we hope will be a very busy weekend. Additional parking will also be available at the new heritage centre site on Swithland Lane, some 300m away. If you are coming as a part of a group please try to car share. If you are local and able to walk/cycle to the station then please do.

If you have booked your tickets in advance please arrive at least 20 minutes before your departure time, in case the station car parks are full and you need to allow time to walk from the heritage centre car park.

Mountsorrel Station can be found on Bond Lane, Mountsorrel. The station doesn't have a post code but for SATNAV purposes the nearest post code for Bond Lane is LE12 7AA some 400m or so away.


Wednesday 23 September 2015

September Project News

Fund Raising

We are very pleased to announce that our match funding target has been reached! A huge thank you goes to everyone who donated. Your support has ensured we are ready to move with phase 2 as soon as the grant application comes through.

Mountsorrel Railway Opening – October 24th & 25th

A huge amount of both physical and organisational work is going on at the current time to ensure the railway is ready for the grand opening on October 24th/25th. There are technical issues that are delaying the GCR from being able to firm up the timetable for the event which means that online advance booking is still not available. Please don’t phone the GCR booking office for updates. Keep an eye on this website and also the GCR website for further news of the event as soon as it becomes available.

Heritage Centre Progress

There has been much progress on the heritage centre building since the last report.

The structural frame work of the building is complete. Stone work on the historic Time Office is almost complete with the stone work about to start on the relocated Kinchley Lane barn. Each stone has been carefully cleaned by our volunteers and the bricks that form the window surrounds and corner quoins have also been recovered from the original buildings by the volunteers.

The slates for the roof of the building are starting to go on and it is hoped that the building will be water tight in around 3 weeks time.

The three historic buildings are linked together with a new build section. The new bricks for this have been hand made in imperial size and each has individual characteristics so already look 120 years old. Whilst providing contrast with the old sections of the build, they really add to the heritage feel.

Nunckley Station Progress

Progress has been good with the new Nunckley Hill Station as well. The block work is very nearly complete, including the disabled access ramp and access steps at the rear.

The platform will shortly be filled and the surface applied.

Behind the new station our project volunteers have installed two new points recently donated by British Celanese. These will feed into two sidings for the phase 2 museum building.
Signalling Installation

The GCR’s S&T volunteers have been working flat out to install the signalling and point operation for the branch line.

Two new LMS style ground frames have been built and installed at Nunckley Hill and near to the GCR junction. Installing the rodding work to connect everything up is a major undertaking and work will continue over the coming weeks.

A very big thank you goes to the S&T volunteers for all their help with this!

GCR Junction Run Off Siding Installation

Mountsorrel Railway volunteers have been working to install the new sand drag siding at the GCR end of the line. This is an essential railway safety feature required to stop a train in the unlikely event of a runaway occurring and are quite common on the national network at junctions.

The point is complete and the connection to the ground frame is being undertaken by the GCR’s S&T volunteers. Our next task is to install the short siding leading into the sand drag which will be identical to the sand drag we built last February at the opposite end of the line.

Line side Clearance

Our eco volunteers have been working to trim back the vegetation and hedges along the sides of the railway. This is an annual task that we have to undertake to maintain the line of site for the loco driver. Cutting back 1.2 miles of cutting and embankment side is a major undertaking with only hand tools at our disposal. Never the less, Progress has reached the Swithland Lane bridge from the GCR junction and will progress to Bond Lane before the opening.


Heartfelt thanks goes to all our volunteers. We need more help though to finish the last remaining tasks on the run up to the railway’s opening and then on the run up to the heritage centre opening next year.

The work is physical but the sense of achievement is hugely rewarding. If you would like to get involved please get in touch, we need your help!

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Phase 2 Appeal

The final element of the heritage centre project is the creation of a Mountsorrel Railway Museum building and an Exhibition building in the base of the old quarry at Nunckley Hill. 

The museum building will allow railway vehicles to be publicly displayed that have an association to Mountsorrel. Most notable of these is sole surviving Mountsorrel Railway steam locomotive Elizabeth. The exhibition building will tell the story of quarrying at Mountsorrel, the geological history of the Charnwood Forest and the the story of the volunteer restoration of the Mountsorrel Railway.

Plan of site showing museum and exhibition buildings highlighted.

Planning permission is already in place and we have a grant application in for the majority of the funding. As part of this grant though we need to raise 10% ourselves. This equates to £8,500.

By the end of August we had raised £2800 and a generous donor has come forward to pledge £3000 providing that we can raise a further £3000 ourselves before the end of September.

Our sponsor a brick appeal is still open so if you were to sponsor a brick for £50, the GA on top would increase that amount to £62.50. With the match funding this would double to £125. So your £50 donation would actually be worth £125 to the project!

Bricks can be sponsored in your own name, the name of your family, a deceased loved one or as a present for a grand child or other family member. Names of brick sponsors will be displayed on a large commemorative plaque in the tea room of the heritage centre and a permanent reminder of the important role sponsors have played.

If you would like to donate any amount is appreciated, both large or small and all helps us towards our target. Please spread the word about our appeal as well. Timing is crucial as we only have until the end of September.

To donate please send your cheque payable to "DCRT" (David Clarke Railway Trust) to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough LE12 7EW. Donation and gift aid forms can be downloaded and sent in with your donation to allow Gift aid to be claimed.

Cheque donations are preferred, but it is also possible to donate by internet transfer. This is administratively difficult for DCRT though, but if you don't have a cheque book and want to donate this way, please contact us by email.

Many thanks to you all, we can do it! Let's not let this £3000 of match funding slip through our fingers.

Monday 24 August 2015

Opening Weekend Advance Booking Delay

The GCR are still to sort out the details for advanced bookings for the October opening, so please don't phone the booking office to book your place just yet. Hang fire for now and we will post again to let you know when they are up and running.

Friday 21 August 2015

Mountsorrel Railway to Open in October

It has taken 8 years and over 80,000 hours of volunteer time to restore. The Mountsorrel Railway and the new station on Bond Lane, Mountsorrel will be opening for public passenger trains on October 24th and 25th!

This is not the start of passenger trains running every weekend though. The Great Central Railway will be operating this as a trial weekend to gauge public interest and to work through operational matters. The line should open again in 2016 but how often trains run depends entirely on passgener numbers over the October 24th and 25th weekend.

So set asside one of those dates in your diary and come along to ride the trains! Please download and forward the leaflet above to everyone you know and spread the word. We want to see trains running every weekend next year but that will only be possible with your support.

With ticket prices as low as this it is a weekend not to be missed!

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.


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.


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