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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
The stumps that have been removed are mostly being used to create wildlife habitats at the side of the railway. Not only will these provide a home to a varied selection of animals, birds and insects, but the additional wildlife will be another point of interest for passengers riding on the rebuilt railway.
The development of these habitats is the first project for our new ecology volunteer group.
The ecology group will operate separately, but in parallel, to the railway reconstruction work, utilising a different volunteer group mainly made up of local people with either a professional or casual interest in ecology.
The purpose of the ecology group is to both study and encourage the diversity of wildlife that exists along the Mountsorrel Railway corridor. The group's aim is to specifically encourage species of wildlife that would have been native to the railway corridor during the original operating life of the railway. This includes types of wild flowers, birds and animals.
If you would like to become involved with the ecology group please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Saturday we had a visit from railway photographer Clive Hanley and railway video cameraman Mike Snow. Clive has kindly made his photos available for viewing at:
Mike has also put a video up on YouTube showing work on the Mountsorrel Railway. This can be found at:
Reconstruction work on the branch line over the coming weeks will focus on surveying, profiling and grading with a view to laying ballast early in the New Year.
If you would like to support the project then please send your donation cheque, payable to "RVP Ltd", with "Mountsorrel Railway" written on the back, to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough LE12 7EW.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
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.
Monday, 17 November 2008
Two local photographers, Dan Norcott and Andy Stafford, took some really good atmospheric photos of the Mountsorrel Railway trackbed last week. The photos will help get some publicity for the project.
Dan's are here and his photography website is at http://www.dannorcott.co.uk. Andy's photos are here.
We're very grateful for Dan and Andy's support. If you'd like to contribute to the project, in any way, please let us know by e-mailing email@example.com. Many thanks.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Progress was swift with over half of the remaining stumps being removed. J. McCann will be back again this coming Saturday to complete the work which will see the entire length of the trackbed cleared and ready for detailed surveying.
McCann will also be further assisting the project by lifting the missing capping stone back onto the Wood Lane bridge for us this coming Saturday. The missing stone was featured by DJ Ben Jackson on his recent Radio Leicester breakfast show recently.
The bridge has been repaired by volunteers and is now ready to receive the one tonne, hand carved granite stone, which was dislodged from the bridge around 10 years ago and now lies on the trackbed underneath.
The architecture of the granite bridge is very elegant and the missing stone has generated much local interest. In order to prevent crowds gathering to watch the lift and in the interest of public safety, the exact time of the lift must remain confidential. A full update will follow next week.
Thanks for your support
Thursday, 6 November 2008
They have offered to remove most, if not all, of the remaining stumps along the trackbed for us. In addition to this they have also offered to provide dumpers and operators for laying ballast in the next stage of the project reconstruction. Some of you will have noticed the missing capping stone on the Wood Lane bridge (see map here); McCann will also be resetting the stone back onto the bridge for us. The missing half tonne hand carved granite stone, which lies on the trackbed below, has become quite a focal point with the local community, particularly since we cleared the ivy from the bridge, so replacing the stone should bring much needed local publicity to the project.
We are extremely grateful to J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd for providing this help, which represents a saving to the project of many thousands of pounds.
Stump removal work has already been scheduled and will be starting this coming Saturday, November 8th.
This offer of support is in addition to the very substantial donation of ballast that we were able to secure from Lafarge Mountsorrel quarry earlier this year.
We have also been receiving many personal donations to the project. These have been arriving at our fundraising HQ on an almost daily basis in recent weeks. We would like to pass on a very big thank you to all those, both personal and organisations, who have donated and supported the project so far.
In recent months, the monetary value of the offers of material, plant and labour, together with the financial donations we have received, now amounts to almost £40,000! This has been raised independently of the GCR and general RVP funds to ensure that the project doesn’t have any negative financial impact on other work currently being undertaken.
The project is now at a critical stage where every pound we can raise really makes a difference. Over the coming months the trackbed will be transformed, early next year the first sections of the trackbed should see ballast laid leaving the trackbed ready for track laying to start.
Although we have been fortunate to attract the offers of help and donations we have received to date, much more is needed to keep up the high rate of progress that the project is experiencing.
Please can I ask you to consider making a donation to the project? Large or small, all donations are very much valued. The project is run entirely by volunteers and has no overheads so every pound donated will go directly to furthering the reconstruction of the railway. Please send your donation cheques made payable to “RVP Ltd” with “Mountsorrel Railway” written on the back, to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 7EW.