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!