Only six months ago you could almost be forgiven for passing over the road bridge on Wood Lane and not realising that there was even a bridge there!
Over the last few months our volunteer team have worked to restore this elegant Mountsorrel Railway granite stone bridge to its former glory.
Back in the summer we cleared the masses of ivy and other vegetation that was engulfing and gradually damaging the stone work of the bridge. We were also very grateful to Leicestershire County Council who assisted with work to protect the bridge.
Once the bridge was visible again, it was impossible not to notice the missing granite capping stone that had become dislodged some ten years ago and lay on the trackbed below.
Of the original total cost of building the bridge, half was attributed to the eight hand carved, one tonne, granite capping stones that ornately decorated the bridge, four on each side. Each stone is a work of art and bears testament to the skill of the stone mason who would have painstakingly carved each one with his hammer and chisel.
The missing stone had become quite a focal point of interest with local villagers and we were often asked when we were going to replace it.
We are only a volunteer community project with minimal funds so it was quite a challenge to find a company with the skills and equipment to recover and replace the stone at a reasonable price.
We are very grateful to J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd who agreed to undertake the work for us at zero cost to the project. Our volunteers repaired and rebuilt the damaged parapet wall where the stone would sit and the lift was scheduled for November 15th.
The stone had to be recovered from the trackbed floor underneath the bridge by construction fork lift and transported extremely carefully along the trackbed to Swithland Sidings, where it could be loaded on to a low loader to be transported back to the bridge.
It took several hours to recover and transport the stone and by 2:30pm we were ready to perform the lift via a small HIAB crane.
The stone was soon cemented and secured back in place and we are pleased to say that the bridge now looks complete again.
We are very grateful to the local people who gathered to watch the lift of the stone and who expressed their support for our ongoing restoration work. Knowing that Mountsorrel cares about its history, and that we have the support of its residents, inspires us to push on with the restoration of the Mountsorrel Railway.
The bridge still requires further repair and repointing work but the stone lift is a major step in restoring it to its former glory.
If you would like to support the restoration of the Mountsorrel Railway please consider donating to the project. The Mountsorrel Railway project is committed to restoring and preserving the Mountsorrel Railway but our work can only continue with your financial and practical support.
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: http://heritage-centre.co.uk/