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 This website is no longer updated.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

Friday, 18 December 2009

Happy Christmas from the Mountsorrel Railway

The project would like to thank our many volunteers, supporters and companies who have aided the project over the last year. We wish all our website readers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Next year we should see track on the branch, and hopefully trains!

In the meantime, even this close to Christmas, two important aspects of the project have moved on considerably:

Wood Lane bridge east side repointing completed!

Project volunteers have been working throughout this past year to repair the Mountsorrel Railway bridge at the top of Wood Lane. The work has been extensive, as reported in previous updates. Recently volunteers have been repointing the parapet walls which has been a painstaking and time consuming task. We are pleased to report that the eastern parapet wall has now been completed!

This has been possible through a donation by Mountsorrel Parish Council towards the material costs for the work. We are very grateful to the Parish Council for their support for the project. We would also like to express our thanks to the many volunteers, mostly from our local community, who have given their time over the last year to help restore the bridge, the end result looks fantastic! We also thank Lafarge Aggregates and Stonehurst Family Farm who have supported work done earlier in the year on the bridge.

Volunteers working to complete the repointing of the Wood Lane bridge
Photo courtesy Nigel Harris

In November the project received a donation of 350 daffodil bulbs from a Mountsorrel resident who expressed a wish that they be planted around the bridge faces, in the hope that next spring they would help to show off our restoration work to full effect. The project is very grateful for this donation and volunteers have planted the bulbs has requested.

Community volunteers planting 350 daffodil bulbs around the Wood Lane bridge

Attention is now turning to the west side parapet wall which is also in urgent need of repointing and repair. The material cost for this side of the bridge is expected to be around £50. If you or your company would like to sponsor the repair of the west side of the bridge, please get in touch with Steve Cramp.

Work begins on the third and final replica Mountsorrel wagon

Hot on the heels of our first two restored wagons, volunteer restoration work has now started on the third and final replica Mountsorrel Granite Company wagon. Volunteers have already stripped the existing rotten timbers from the floor, prepared the steel work for painting, commenced painting of the frames and made a start on preparing the sides for painting. At present work is being undertaken primarily by our Tuesday evening volunteer team. Our Tuesday evening team of teenage girls has now increased to seven, one of whom is working on the wagon as part of her Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.

Some of the Tuesday evening team working to remove the floor timbers of our third wagon

Wagon work will pause over the Christmas break, but if you would like to get involved, either on Saturdays, or Tuesday evenings, please get in touch with Steve Cramp.

Thanks again for your support and have a happy Christmas.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Recent press coverage

News of the ballast link up to the Great Central Railway, and progress with the wagon restoration, has really caught the public's imagination!

Over the last few weeks we've had some great exposure in the press:
  • A further piece in the Quorndon Magazine. The article is reproduced, with permission, here and here. The Quorndon is the quarterly magazine for the village of Quorn. © 2008 The Quorndon. Further reproduction prohibited without written permission.

We're very grateful to these publications for their support.

And, even with Christmas coming, volunteers will still be working hard on the project. There will be work ongoing on the trackbed in the coming weeks, restoration of the third wagon, and behind the scenes work securing track and fundraising. If you would like to offer your help, either with volunteering or fundraising, please let us know.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Further ballast laying complete

A milestone point in the project has been reached, thanks to local firm McCanns donating their equipment and operators for free. There is now ballast laid from the junction with the Great Central Railway all the way up most of the route of the Mountsorrel Railway to the Wood Lane bridge.

Compare a photo of the junction in October 2007 (taken by Nigel Harris) with the very different scene snapped earlier this week:

GCR junction, October 2007

GCR junction, November 2009

Massive thanks to all the volunteers who have really worked hard over these last two days with very little notice and at times pretty unkind weather! We really could not have done this without them.

We must also thank McCanns, who have gone to extreme lengths to help us this week, and Haydn Yeo, project volunteer, for introducing us to and liaising with McCanns. Without Haydn and McCanns, we would not have been able to undertake two long sessions of ballast laying in July and November, lift the Wood Lane bridge stone, or other tasks requiring their equipment and expertise.

Thanks too to the Great Central Railway, who have had to make special arrangements so the ballast laying could take place this week, and to Lafarge of course for donating the ballast.

Ballast has reached the GCR junction

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Second childrens' ecology activity session builds on the success of the first!

On Saturday October 31, Mountsorrel Railway Ecology Group volunteer Lesley Humphries ran the second of our hugely successful children's ecology activity sessions.

These sessions are aimed at opening up the ecology of the trackbed and its surroundings to our younger generation and their parents. The railway is blessed with a wealth of wildlife, which our ecology group strives to maintain and encourage.

Our latest event involved the children and their parents studying the wildlife that had taken up residence in wildlife habitats that the children helped to build at the first session in September. The children were able to take bark rubbings and learnt to identify the types of trees along the line and how to tell one from the other. They also examined some of the 17 species of wild flowers that are still flowering along the trackbed.

These sessions are aimed at children of all ages and are open to anyone who would like to bring their children along. The project makes no charge for taking part in these events. The next session will be early in the New Year; further details will follow nearer the time.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Second replica Mountsorrel wagon completed in record time

We are pleased to announce the completion of the second replica Mountsorrel Granite Company wagon!

The completed second wagon

Impressed by our work on the first wagon, RVP kindly allowed us to use space on their siding inside Rothley carriage shed for the second restoration. This meant that we were not restricted by the British weather as we were with the first wagon. This allowed our volunteers to really go to town and, coupled with our restoration knowledge obtained during the first restoration, we were able to push on at lightning speed with volunteer activity occurring almost daily over the last few weeks!

A look inside our second wagon

From start to finish the wagon took only five and a half weeks to restore! That's not to say that less work was required, far from it! A new floor had to be made and fitted together with full derusting and repainting of the metal frames both inside and out. End planks needed to be replaced as well meaning that the work required was almost on a par with the first wagon. As with the first wagon, even the bits you can't see have all been thoroughly restored as well.

Teenagers from the Tuesday group carefully applying the finishing touches

Thanks must go to all our volunteers who have worked on the wagon over the last few weeks. Our volunteers have included people from all areas of the community from teenagers up to volunteers in their late 70s. Our wagon restoration project really seems to have caught the imagination of the community. We are also very grateful to East Midlands Airport for sponsoring the signwriting costs of all three wagons and to all our supporters who have donated funds to aid the wagon restoration project.

One of our teenagers from the Tuesday evening team bolting down the planks of the new wagon floor

The wagons will form the core of historical recreations on the rebuilt branch line. These include a project we are undertaking with local primary schools to allow today's children to take part in a recreation of the Sunday school outings that used to run on the Mountsorrel Railway in the 1920s and 30s.

We are about to start work on the third and final wagon, so it's still not to late to help out with our wagon project, volunteers are always welcome (contact Steve Cramp). Alternatively you may wish to support our work with a financial donation. Thank you.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Childrens' ecology session this Saturday

This Saturday afternoon, 31 October, volunteer Lesley Humphries will be running her latest childrens' ecology activity session. The children will be investigating the wildlife habitats that have been built around the trackbed, and other activities. The event will have an autumn/Halloween theme!

Please let Lesley know if you'd like to attend this event.

If you'd rather take part in other volunteer activity this Saturday, between 9am and 4pm our volunteers will be clearing the trackbed around the Wood Lane bridge. Please e-mail Steve Cramp if you'd like to join in.

Your support with both of these initiatives would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Radio 5 coverage

If any of you were up early, or late, depending on how you look at it, on Sunday morning, you may have heard the BBC Radio 5 Live "Up All Night" interview with Steve Cramp (the volunteer who coordinates the Mountsorrel Railway website).

The interview ran for 22 minutes which almost makes it a programme in its own right about the project! Normally TV and radio interviews rarely last longer than a couple of minutes, so this is really good coverage.

You can catch the interview on the BBC website by clicking here.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Second Mountsorrel Granite wagon restoration progresses at a rapid pace

It is only three weeks since restoration on the second Mountsorrel Granite Company liveried wagon started, but progress has been nothing short of remarkable!

Second wagon prior to restoration

Second wagon only three weeks later
A combination of improved methods based on what we learnt from the first wagon, increased volunteer activity, and the luxury of being able to work on the wagon in the dry environment of the carriage shed opposed to outside in the rain, are the reasons for the improved pace of the restoration.

Although the second wagon is a three plank as opposed to the first which was a five plank, the work required on this wagon has been almost the same as the first. Again, we have had to replace the entire floor and some of the end planks. As with the first wagon, the decision was taken to replace the floor with hardwood planks because of their extended life span opposed to softwood. The intention to use the restored wagons in historical recreations involving local school children, means that the floors must be in excellent condition.

As with the first wagon the entire frames have had to be de-rusted and repainted. This can be a messy job as space between the frames is restricted.

The existing planks that can be reused have been carefully repaired to ensure extended life.

At present the painting of the frames is almost complete. The new end planks have been painted and fitted. The rest of the sides have been primered, undercoated and top coat glossing is almost complete. New timbers for the floor have been cut and painted and are almost ready for fitting.

It took five months to restore the first wagon but we expect the second to be ready for the signwriter's attention in around two weeks time! If you are coming to the Great Central Railway Gala on October 10th/11th, then as well as seeing the completed first wagon on display at Quorn, you should also be able to view the second wagon at Rothley shed. Please come and say hello.

If you would like to get involved with restoring the second wagon, or helping out with the third, then please get in touch with Steve Cramp. We have volunteer sessions on Saturdays, Tuesday evenings and occasional Sundays and weekdays, so we should be able to find a time to suit you. Funds are still required for the restoration of the third wagon so if you would like to donate, please download our donation form or contact George Overton.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Mountsorrel Railway first ecology activity session is a tremendous success!

Saturday September 26th was the launch date for a new initiative by the Mountsorrel Railway Project aimed at giving local children and their parents the chance to learn about and experience ecology.

Ecology activity session

Mountsorrel resident and project volunteer Lesley Humphries organised a series of activities aimed at helping children to develop a better understanding of the environment and, on this occasion, insect wildlife in particular. Lesley said:
The trackbed and surrounding area of the old Mountsorrel Railway is a wonderful haven for wildlife. We want to open up the educational opportunities of this ecological resource in a controlled manner that allows children to learn in a hands on fashion. Children can learn so much from an opportunity like this. It's great to allow the parents to share in the experience as well!
The children spent several hours exploring the areas around the trackbed and were shown how insects thrive in certain locations and not others. The children were able to see many different types of creatures first hand. The children then constructed their own mini wildlife habitats which were placed along the trackbed at various locations.

Ecology activity session

Volunteer project leader Steve Cramp commented:
Lesley has worked hard over the last few weeks planning, researching and sourcing materials and it was great to see so many local families come along to take part. My sincere thanks go to Lesley for creating this learning opportunity.
As a direct result of the success of the first activity session, Lesley hopes to run a further ecology session at the end of October. The project makes no charge for these activities. If you would like to take part in future sessions please contact Lesley or see the project website for further details.

And don't forget there's an opportunity to join guided tours of the Mountsorrel Railway on the weekend of Saturday 10th October! See here for more information.

Ecology activity session

Ecology activity session

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

See the Mountsorrel Railway for yourself!

Come and see the Mountsorrel Railway project for yourself on the weekend of Saturday 10 October!

All day on both the Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, ticket holders to the Great Central Railway's Steam Gala will be able to take a free hourly shuttle bus for a one hour guided walking tour of the trackbed.

You'll be shown round by our volunteers, who'll talk about the history of the line, our work with schools and the local community, and show you what's being done to imminently bring back this industrial branch of the Great Central!

For more information about the Steam Gala click here and see the video below.

More details, including bus times, will be posted on this website nearer the time. If you have any questions about the event, or the project in general, please contact us. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Learn about ecology at the Mountsorrel Railway

Local volunteer Lesley Humphries will be running a special ecology session aimed at younger children and their parents on the afternoon of Saturday September 26th.

The session will start at 2:00pm and last around 90 minutes to 2 hours. The meeting area is on the grassy area near to the bench at the top of Halstead Road, at its junction with Swithland Lane/Wood Lane.

During the session the children will have the opportunity to construct their own mini wildlife habitat which will be carefully positioned alongside the trackbed. The children can then return to these in future sessions to see what creatures have taken up residence there.

Lesley will also be conducting a wildlife hunt aimed at helping the children to seek out and discover the wildlife that lives alongside the trackbed.

The session is open to the general public and not just those who are currently involved with the project. The Mountsorrel Railway will be making no charge for anyone taking part in these activities. We simply seek to give our local children, and their parents, the rare and unique opportunity to get hands on with nature!

Lesley is putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into putting together this activity, so we really hope that the public will come along to support her. For health and safety reasons, children must be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If the session is a success we hope to run further sessions in the future.

Lesley is collecting various items to help with this activity, so please can you bring along at least one of the following:
  • Blocks of wood
  • Empty plastic drinks bottles
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Insect collecting containers/kits that you might have
Please e-mail Lesley if you intend to come, so that we can make sure we have enough materials for everyone. We very much hope to see you there!

A very special thanks goes to Lesley for running this session!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Our first replica Mountsorrel Granite Company wagon now restored!

The restoration of our first replica Mountsorrel Granite Company wagon has now been completed!

The first wagon completed

Project volunteers have spent the last five months restoring the wagon. Restoring the wagon really has been a community initiative involving volunteers of all ages and we even have a group of five teenage girls from Mountsorrel giving up their time to volunteer on Tuesday evenings! We would like to thank all of our volunteers who have worked on the first wagon, some of whom have devoted many hours to recreate our heritage. Such as young Jamie and Lenny, who have worked on the wagon under the guidance of Dave almost every day throughout the school summer holidays!

The Mountsorrel Granite Company once had over 750 of these wagons at various times. Sadly none of the originals survive but we were able to track down similar wagons which in themselves are 50-60 years old. These are ideal for recreating Mountsorrel's industrial railway history!

The wagons will be used for historical recreations on the restored Mountsorrel Railway. Most notable of these recreations is our intention to recreate the Sunday School outings of the 1920s and 30s when local children would have rode in the wagons. We are working with Mountsorrel, Quorn and Rothley primary schools to allow todays' children to recapture those those scenes of yesteryear. If you would like your school to be involved in this recreation please contact Steve Cramp.

We are very grateful to East Midlands Airport for sponsoring the signwriting costs of the three wagons, and also to professional signwriter John Robinson for doing such a good job of applying the lettering.

We hope to start work on the second wagon within the next couple of weeks. If you would like to recreate a piece of history by volunteering to restore the second wagon then please contact Steve. Funds are still required for the remaining two wagons so if you would like to donate to support our work please download and fill in our donation form.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Mountsorrel Railway needs more volunteers - can you help?

More and more families are coming along to volunteer on the Mountsorrel Railway project. Volunteering with the project is a good way of spending family time together in a constructive environment. At the end of the day you can look back and see what you have managed to achieve, and go home with the satisfaction that you have done something to help a community project! The project helps to encourage children to be constructive and creative whilst getting exercise and most importantly away from the computer games and TV!

Mountsorrel Railway needs more volunteers!

The Mountsorrel Railway project welcomes volunteers of all ages. Whether you come as a family, with a friend, or as an individual, you'll be made very welcome indeed. We have tasks for everyone regardless of age or gender.

More volunteers are needed as the project approaches it's most exciting phase yet and continues to grow and expand! If you would like to come along and help a local community project, then please get in touch with Steve Cramp.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Mountsorrel Parish Council sponsors the repointing of the Wood Lane bridge

Great care has been taken to restore the repaired sections of the Wood Lane railway bridge to its original appearance.

The remaining sections of the bridge are also in urgent need of work in the form of repointing to replace the original mortar that has eroded away over time. Although the material costs of repointing the bridge are not that great, it is a very time consuming and skilled task therefore employing contractors would be be beyond the financial means of the project. However, without undertaking this work the bridge would deteriorate very quickly indeed.

Our volunteer stonemason has kindly agreed to take on the task of repointing the road facing side of the bridge, supported by other members of our volunteer team. The total material costs are around £100.

Mountsorrel Parish Council has very kindly agreed to donate £50 towards these costs. We are grateful to them for supporting the project in this way.

The already repaired sections of the bridge give a good impression of what the completed works will look like.

Mountsorrel Parish Council sponsors repointing of Wood Lane bridge

The bridge is an important reminder of Mountsorrel's industrial past and we are delighted that the Parish Council is helping us to protect our heritage!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Aerial photos of the trackbed

A local supporter of the project has kindly sent us several superb aerial photos, which were taken in July 2009 after the ballast had been laid. The sequence starts from the Great Central Railway (GCR) junction and moves along the trackbed towards Mountsorrel.


This shot, looking south, shows the GCR running top left to middle right with Swithland Sidings visible in the top left of the picture and Swithland reservoir to the right. The branch can be clearly seen curving away from the GCR and leaving the shot towards Mountsorrel in the bottom left. The lighter green area to the right of the branch trackbed approximately half way around the curve, is the proposed site of Railway Vehicle Preservation's (RVP's) future carriage shed. The current head of ballast is obscured by the line of trees in the bottom left of shot.


This shot, again looking south, was taken from a little further along the branch. The farmer's track can be seen crossing the trackbed in the middle of the picture. The newly laid ballast can be seen on the approach to the crossing but the trees obscure the ballast beyond. The crossing itself will be ballasted and constructed once track laying reaches it.

Long straight

This shot was taken looking north. It shows the long straight beyond the crossing. Again the newly laid ballast is clearly visible.


This shot, again looking north, shows the curve at the end of the RVP section of the trackbed. The Lafarge section starts roughly in the middle of the shot and leaves the frame towards Nunckley Hill on the right.

Looking north east

This view, taken looking north east, shows the trackbed as it enters the Nunckley cutting, passing through the old Nunckley Hill quarry, under Wood Lane, before continuing towards Bond Lane in the far distance.

Close up of head of ballast

A close up of the head of ballast at the end of phase one in the base of the old Nunckley Hill quarry. Wood Lane can be seen crossing the trackbed just beyond the ballast to the right of shot. It is also just possible to pick out the newly restored bridge wall on the bridge. At this point the head of ballast is 1,300m from the GCR with 500m to go to reach Bond Lane.

You can have a tour of the trackbed for yourself if you come to the Great Central Railway gala on 10-11 October. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Ballast laying pushes on to within sight of the Great Central Railway!

Wow - what a weekend!

Mountsorrel Railway volunteers have staged a massive three day ballast laying push, which saw the head of ballast extend from its previous position some 1,010 metres from the junction with the Great Central Railway (GCR), to within 330m of the junction! In all 680m of ballast were laid over the three days, meaning that 970m of the trackbed is now ballasted and ready to have track laid.

Looking towards Mountsorrel
(many more photos here)

This is a phenomenal achievement, which took a tremendous amount of preparation and planning prior to the event - coupled with the dedication and so much hard work by our team of volunteers over the three day stint.

The ballast laying was only possible through the very kind donation of plant equipment and operators by J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd, and Lafarge Aggregates Mountsorrel Quarry who very kindly donated the ballast. We are immensely grateful to both John McCann and Lafarge Aggregates for their very kind support of the project.

Our attention is now turning to the completion of the last 330m to join up with the GCR. If you, or the company you work for, might be interested in sponsoring the project by providing plant equipment to help with all or part of this task, then please contact project leader Steve Cramp. Funds are urgently needed to allow us to complete the ballast laying and reach the GCR so that track laying can commence. Please see our donations form for details of how to donate and support the project.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Pete Waterman visits the Mountsorrel Railway

Last Saturday music industry legend and TV personality Pete Waterman visited the Mountsorrel Railway. Pete has a keen interest in heritage railways and had heard about the project and the work we are doing with children.

His visit coincided with the final school party history/ecology session for this term, which consisted of children and parents from Mountsorrel Primary School. In all we have run 13 visits for local schools and groups over the last two months. 328 local children have been able to visit the trackbed to learn about their local history and ecology. Check out the photo section of the website for photos of the various visits.

Pete Waterman

Pete was very impressed with what he saw and spent over an hour with us talking to the children and project volunteers. He asked to be kept informed as the project progresses and develops, so hopefully we will see him back with us again in the future. We are very grateful to Pete for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come and see us.

Pete posted the following on his personal blog:
On Saturday, I popped down to see the Mountsorrel project which is a branch of the Great Central - a great idea and very different approach. I think it’s a first and you should all try to see it. The team is made up of ecologists and environmentalists as part of the team and it shows. The local schools are all involved with re planting the wild flowers and there are youngsters all over the place getting very excited by it . The ballast was donated and delivered by Lafarge from their Mountsorrel quarry, which is a great example of a company really working with their community.
If you'd like to offer your support to the project too, please consider volunteering or donating to the project.

STOP PRESS: Are you free from 8am tomorrow (Friday 9 July) or Saturday? Volunteers urgently needed for surveying the trackbed. No experience necessary. Please e-mail Steve Cramp or phone him on 0116 230 1374. Thanks.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Brian Simpson MEP visits Mountsorrel Railway

Last Saturday we received a visit from European Member of Parliament Brian Simpson.

He had heard about the the project and wanted to see for himself the work we are doing with local children, and the community spirit that the project is creating. Project leader Steve Cramp showed him around, together with Great Central Railway (GCR) Director Nigel Harris and Chair David Morgan.

Brian Simpson MEP visits

Mr Simpson spent quite sometime on the trackbed talking to members of the Junior Ecology Group and other volunteers. He was very impressed with the progress being made and that it was great to see the community working together.

Brian Simpson MEP visits

We are very grateful to Mr Simpson for endorsing the project in this way and we will be sure to keep him fully informed of our continued progress.

Ballast laying gets underway!

We are please to announce that ballast laying has finally started! Ballast is the small stones that support the sleepers and track. This is the final stage in the process before track laying commences. We hope that the head of ballast will reach the GCR junction at Swithland Sidings in a few weeks time. We are extremely grateful to Lafarge Aggregates for donating the ballast to allow this to take place.

Ballast laying, looking away from Swithland towards Wood Lane bridge

Lafarge have commented that they are pleased to be able to support what has turned out to be an inspirational project that has reached out to all age groups of the community.

Junction signal ready to be installed

The GCR's Signal and Telegraph volunteers have been working to restored a signal for use on the Mountsorrel Railway. Once installed the signal will control the flow of trains off the branch line and onto the GCR mainline.

Mountsorrel Railway signal awaiting installation at the junction with the GCR

As you can see, we are making very speedy progress with the reconstruction of the Mountsorrel Railway. To show your support, please consider making a donation to the project.

Are you free this Saturday morning 27 June?

Are you free this Saturday morning 27 June between 9.30am and 1pm please?

If so we really need you to help with some urgent surveying of the trackbed of the soon to be recreated Mountsorrel Railway. No experience necessary.

To those of you sitting on the sidelines, waiting to get involved, this is your chance to come and make a difference.

To offer your help or to find out more, please e-mail Steve Cramp or add a comment to this message ASAP. Thanks.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Phase two Wood Lane bridge wall repairs completed

The restoration of the bridge wall at Wood Lane by our project volunteers has now been completed. The final cornerstone, weighing in at around 250kg, was too heavy to lift into place by hand. We are pleased to say that Stonehurst Family Farm came to our assistance and offered to lift the final stone as a donation to the project. We are very proud of the completed restoration. All of the marked up stones fitted perfectly into their original positions ensuring that the wall retains it's original appearance.

Wood Lane bridge wall repair completed

Whilst we had lifting machinery on site the opportunity was taken to remove one of the large hand carved capping stones which had become slightly dislodged from its original position by ivy growing underneath it. The ivy was removed and the stone replaced all within a couple of minutes.

Stone lift

The restoration of the bridge would not have been possible without the donation of tools, materials and a new foundation concrete pour by Lafarge Aggregates. We are very grateful to Lafarge and Stonehurst Family Farm for their assistance in restoring the bridge.

Attention is now turning to phase three of the bridge restoration work which involves the removal of a small elder tree which was growing out of the top of the stonework. Again the stones have been numbered to ensure that they all go back in their original positions. We hope to complete the restoration of this part of the bridge over the next three weeks.

School and group visits continue!

We are now over half way through our program of school and group visits. Last Saturday we hosted a visit from pupils of Christ Church and St Peter's Primary school in Mountsorrel. Children, parents and teachers came along to take part in our ecology project to plant native wild flowers along the sides of the railway. The purpose of this is to encourage the wildlife of the trackbed to diversify and expand forming an haven for insects, small animals and birds.

Mountsorrel Primary School

The children also had a go at our history and ecology hunt that encourages them to look around them to discover the historical and ecological areas of interest along the railway.

The visit went very well indeed, so well in fact that a second visit has hastily been organised for later this month to allow more children from Christ Church and St. Peter's to expeience and learn from the Mountsorrel Railway!

Mountsorrel Primary School

We have so far received visits from St. Bartholomew's Primary School in Quorn, both the Monday and Tuesday Quorn Scout groups, Mountsorrel Boys Brigade, and Quorn Guides. Over the coming weeks, as well as a second visit from Mountsorrel primary school, we will also be hosting visits from Mountsorrel Guides, Mountsorrel Scouts and Woodhouse Eaves Scouts.

Mountsorrel Boys Brigade exploring the site of the old level crossing

Humphrey Perkins High School at Barrow Upon Soar are also planning a series of visits in conjunction with Leicester University Archaeology department to allow pupils to undertake a detailed industrial archaeological study of key areas of historical interest along the trackbed.

1st Quorn Guides taking part in our program of wild flower planting

The Mountsorrel Railway project is making no charge to the schools, groups or universities taking part.

Mountsorrel Charities Fayre

Despite the rain on the Saturday morning of June 6, we still had many visitors to our stand at the Mountsorrel Charities Fayre. Thank you for coming to see us and for your overwhelming support for the project! We gained several new volunteers throughout the morning and thanks to those of you that help us with information for the wagon restoration.

Mountsorrel wagon restoration continues

The restoration of the first of three historical wagons into the livery of the Mountsorrel Granite Company is progressing well. Work on the frames is now complete and volunteers are restoring the timber work of the wagon. We hope to have her ready for the signwriter to apply the final livery within a matter of weeks!

As ever, raising funds is an essential part of the project. Without money we simply won't be able to buy track or other related materials:
  • to make a donation please click here to download a standing order form; or send a cheque, made out to "RVP Ltd" with "Mountsorrel Railway" written on the back, to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 7EW, or e-mail George Overton
  • to volunteer please e-mail Steve Cramp, project coordinator
Thank you.

PS the first ballast has just been laid on the trackbed! And a local MEP is visiting today to see the work which he has heard so many positive things about! More about these two key developments in a future update.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Project moves into its busiest period yet

The already relentless pace of the Mountsorrel Railway project is moving up into an even higher gear over the next few weeks. Last Tuesday we hosted a visit from the entire year five of St. Bartholomew's Primary School in Quorn. 57 children came with their teachers and volunteer parent helpers to experience and learn from the Mountsorrel Railway.

57 from St Bartholomew's year 5 visited the trackbed to undertake historical and ecological study

The children undertook activities involving metal detecting, archaeological investigation, wild flower planting and recording the history of the railway through sketching and report writing. The visit was a massive success with several children commenting that it was the best school trip they had ever been on! This is testament to the hard work put in by the school and our volunteers to plan the visit to ensure that the children got as much out of it as possible.

In all the children discovered two wheelbarrows full of metal artefacts from the railway which they have taken back to school for further study.

57 children from St Bartholomew's year 5 visited the trackbed to undertake historical and ecological study

This was the first of 11 visits we have planned with local schools and community groups over the summer term. In all just over 300 children will be able to experience and learn from the railway over the next few weeks. They will also be taking part in our ecology project to restore the sides of the formation to how they would have appeared during the original operating life of the railway. Each group or school has been allocated a section of trackbed to plant up wild flowers, which they have been growing in the classroom and at home. It's a great way to allow our younger generation to get involved with ecology and experience it in a natural surrounding.

Hot on the heals of this was a visit from the 2nd Quorn Scout Group on May 12th. The Scouts planted wild flowers in their adopted section of the trackbed and also had a go at an "ecology hunt" we have devised to encourage the children to look around them and discover the wildlife of the trackbed.

2nd Quorn Scouts

Last weekend we ran a very successful series of trackbed tours for visitors to the Great Central Railway'ss 40th anniversary gala. With most of our work away from publicly accessible locations, this was one of the first chances for people to see all the hard work that our volunteers are putting into the project. We hope to be able to repeat something similar in the future.

GCR 40th anniversary tours took place along the Mountsorrel Railway over the weekend of 9 May 2009

As well as the tours last weekend we also had multiple volunteer work parties beavering away on various aspects of the project. Work on restoring the bridge wall at Wood Lane is continuing steadily. This is quite a complex job to ensure that the predominate stones all fit back into their original places. Thanks to the volunteer help of a local builder with stonemasonry skills, the bridge is looking absolutely fantastic. Another few weeks should see it returned to its former glory! The bridge restoration would not be possible without the very kind donation of materials by Lafarge Aggregates and the donation of a concrete pour for the foundations by Lafarge Ready-mix.

Volunteers at work rebuilding the parapet wall of the Wood Lane bridge

Work was also progressing at Rothley carriage and wagon works to restore the first of three wagons into the livery of the Mountsorrel Granite Company. Restoration of the frames is continuing well and we will soon be working on the timbers. East Midlands Airport has kindly agreed to fund the sign writing costs for all three wagons. This is fantastic news, allowing us to employ a professional sign writer to ensure the livery is to a very high standard. We are very grateful to the airport for this donation.

Frames painted

Our ecology group was also at work clearing nettles ahead of the wild flower planting.

The project really is a hive of activity at the moment! The pace will not be letting up over the coming weeks with work on the bridge continuing, wagon restoration and our ongoing visits from schools and groups.

There couldn't be a better time to get involved with this vibrant and very active project. If you would like to volunteer please get in touch with Steve Cramp. If you'd like to donate, please download our standing order form or contact George Overton.
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