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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 This website is no longer updated.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, 19 December 2008

Trackbed preparation and ecology group begin

Trackbed view looking towards the junction with the GCR

Steve Barsby, a local digger contractor, has been on site preparing the trackbed near to the GCR junction in readiness for ballast laying to commence early next year.

The first 150m of the trackbed have been scraped back to reveal the original ballast bed; holes and soft areas have been stabilised where necessary. Contractors will return (for free!) in January to extend this work half way along the trackbed towards Bond Lane. This will form the first phase of ballast laying and will give us a length of almost 1km to lay track over.

A local supporter from Seagrave has also offered to create the wildlife habitats for us. These will be created at various intervals along the side the trackbed and are aimed at increasing the biodiversity of the wildlife along the railway corridor. This is the first of many initiatives devised by our parallel ecology group.

Work has also started on a OO gauge scale model of the Bond Lane halt we hope to build. When finished this static portable model will help us to illustrate how the halt will fit into it's surroundings. This will be a great promotional tool for the project which we can take to galas, events and shows to publicise the project.

If you would like to become involved, or to support the Mountsorrel Railway, please contact the relevant volunteers listed below:

Railway restoration and history - Steve Cramp
Ecology group - Amanda Bolton
To donate - George Overton

We would like to thank you for reading our website and supporting the project. We wish all our supporters a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Quorn village magazine article

We are pleased to announce that The Quorndon village magazine has just run a four page article on the project!

page 1 (lo res)
page 2 (lo res)
page 3 (lo res)
page 4 (lo res)

The Quorndon is the quarterly magazine for the village of Quorn. It's an A4 size glossy, very well respected and read publication. We think that this is one of the best written and presented articles that's been printed about the project so far and are very grateful to The Quorndon for running the article.

The Quorndon has kindly allowed us to reproduce the article for our website readers.

The article is reproduced, with permission, from the Winter 2008 edition of The Quorndon. © 2008 The Quorndon. Further reproduction prohibited without written permission.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Mountsorrel Railway stump removal complete!

Thanks to J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd, last Saturday stump removal was finally completed over the full length of the trackbed, all the way to the end of the line at Bond Lane!

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:

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

Wood Lane bridge missing stone replaced!

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.

Stone under bridge

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.


Digger recovers

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.

Lift away

Almost there

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

New photos from talented photographers

Wood Lane bridge

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 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 Many thanks.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Trackbed preparation work commences

Saturday November 8th saw the commencement of stump removal and trackbed preparation work courtesy of J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd, who are undertaking the work at no cost to the project. We are extremely grateful to them for providing this donation.

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

McCann at work

Nunckley Hill towards GCR

Long straight towards GCR

Missing capping stone

What the other side of the bridge will look like

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Mountsorrel Railway project steps up a gear!

Project fundraising continues in earnest and we have been very fortunate to receive a substantial offer of assistance from J. McCann (Nottingham) Ltd.

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.

Thank you.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Google map of the route and Flickr photos

View Larger Map

Also please see the photos online at Flickr of some of the volunteer work so far to clear the route. These photos include geographical information (approximate latitude and longitude), so that a further map of the route can be generated.

As ever we need donations to recreate the Mountsorrel Railway. Contact us if you'd like to donate, or print out our donation and Gift Aid form. Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Late October update

This week Steve Cramp, Mountsorrel Railway project coordinator, had a meeting on site with the managing director of a Nottingham based company who would like to help the project. We are very pleased to announce that he agreed to provide, free of charge, up to four weekends work with an excavator especially suited to removing tree stumps. This should allow us to remove all the remaining stumps, of which there are many, from the Great Central Railway (GCR) junction to the Wood Lane bridge!

It doesn’t stop there either! He also agreed to provide the loan of two dumpers and drivers for a couple of weekends to ballast the trackbed as far as possible towards Mountsorrel.

Lastly he also agreed to lift a missing capping stone back onto the bridge at Wood Lane. Although seemingly quite insignificant, the eight hand carved granite capping stones represented half of the total cost of constructing the bridge back in 1896. The missing stone, which lies intact on the trackbed under the bridge, has become quite a focal point within the local community. Replacing the stone on the bridge will generate a lot of local support and interest, which is obviously good for the project.

All this free work is of great benefit to the project and will save us many thousands of pounds so we are very grateful indeed to the help that this company is providing.

The help came about through a business associate of one of our Mountsorrel resident volunteers. If we hadn’t taken this project to the hearts of the local community, this offer of help would simply have not materialized.

The team are now feverishly beavering away to ready the formation for the stump removal work which could start as early as November 8th. We are also organizing preparation of the holding area for the delivery of the 1,900 tonnes of ballast that Lafarge have kindly agreed to donate. We obviously can’t utilize the free dumper offer until we have the ballast!

With survey work also proceeding at a pace, so that the trackbed can be pegged out and the levels set, we could potentially have the first 950m of the route ballasted and ready for track very soon indeed. The cost to get to this point will have been very minimal indeed considering the position the project will then be at.

Fundraising continues, so do consider supporting the project by making a donation. Please send a cheque payable to “RVP Ltd”, with “Mountsorrel Railway” written on the back, to 112 Balmoral Road, Mountsorrel, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 7EW.

Finally some fine words about the project from Nigel Harris, GCR Director, from the Great Central Railway discussion group: "it's probably one of the best thought-through projects I've ever seen on the GCR".

Thursday, 16 October 2008

October 2008 newsletter online

Click here for our latest newsletter.

It covers the completion of the trackbed clearance phase of the project, the historical recreations that are planned with local schools, and future developments.

The newsletter was distributed at last weekend's Steam Gala at the Great Central Railway, and we are very grateful for the donations we received from visitors to the event.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

GCR’s plans for Mountsorrel Railway

From the Mountsorrel Post, #24, September 2008, pp8-10:

Some readers may not be aware that the village once had its own railway: called the Mountsorrel Railway, it was built to serve the nearby granite quarries.

Local resident Steve Cramp is currently in the process of writing a book about the history of this industrial railway and is also heading up, on behalf of the Great Central Railway (GCR), a project to restore a section of the railway as a working museum of the important part the railway once played in Mountsorrel village life.

On July 8 Steve organised a historical walk along part of the disused railway trackbed. The purpose of the walk was to raise local awareness of the project, to allow local people a chance to learn about the railway’s history and to hear about the recreations that are planned for the rebuilt railway.

“I’m very pleased to be part of this project to restore part of the Mountsorrel Railway” said Steve. “18 months ago when I set out to research and write a book I never dreamt that I would actually end up being part of a volunteer community project to actually recreate Mountsorrel’s history”.

The walk was arranged at the suggestion of the Mountsorrel Heritage Group and was very well attended with over 50 people taking part. The group walked along the trackbed viewing the clearance work that has already been undertaken. Steve would stop at intervals to explain the various archaeology that still remains and also to talk about the recreations that are planned.

Trackbed Walk

“Our recreations are quite ambitious” continued Steve. “I have put together what we term as the schools project”.

The schools project is a plan to involve children from the three local primary schools of Mountsorrel, Quorn and Rothley. “Far too much local history becomes lost as people grow old and are no longer with us” Steve continued. “If we can create an interest with our younger generation it may encourage them to ask more questions about the past and to look beyond the now to realise that Mountsorrel, and indeed the world, was once very different.

“We will go into the schools to explain about the railway and the effect it had on village life, in particular that of the children. We will also tell the children about the annual Sunday School excursions where the children would ride in the railway wagons, to the quarry owner’s house, where they would be entertained for the day. We hope to allow today’s children the chance to recreate a static version of this annual event in Mountsorrel’s history”.

The GCR plans to restore and repaint three historical railway wagons into the livery of the former Mountsorrel Granite company.

“15 competition winners from each school will be invited up to Rothley station where they will be allowed to get hands on with the restoration of the wagons under full supervision. When the wagons are eventually finished the children will be invited back dressed in Edwardian costumes. The wagons will be posed on a section of the rebuilt railway, we hope with the last surviving steam loco from the quarry – Elizabeth. The children will be allowed to sit in the wagons effectively recreating the Sunday School scene from 70-90 years ago. Old style black and white photos of the children will be taken and presented to the schools. We will also invite along any of the surviving children that rode in the original excursions of all those years ago.

“This is one of many recreations that will be possible. The GCR also hopes to run passenger trains on the rebuilt railway. Although passengers never rode on the railway originally, being able to on the rebuilt railway will be an interesting new attraction at the GCR. It also allows passengers to experience the history of the railway first hand” Steve explained.

The project seems to have captured the imagination of the local community with most of the volunteers working on the project living locally. “Most of our volunteers have become involved because of a desire to preserve Mountsorrel’s history. We have people of all ages from children right up to the age of 76 and of both sexes. We really seem to be a project for everyone.”

Restoration work has been swift with most of the trackbed now cleared and in the process of being prepared to receive track. The work is being undertaken entirely by unpaid volunteers in their spare time. If you would like to get involved then please contact Steve Cramp either at or in the evenings on 0116 230 1374.

Local historian Noel Wakeling has provided the following details about the Mountsorrel Railway

From the Mountsorrel Post, #24, September 2008, pp10-11:

In the days before television I would sit enthralled and fascinated listening to my dad telling me about the Mountsorrel Granite Company (MGC) quarrying and its operations. A great treat for me was to be taken to see my granddad at work who was a locomotive driver on his Peckett Loco Doris 11. Sometimes he would wave to me as he travelled over the bridge in the main street, next to the 1860 bridge and onward to Barrow on Soar, with his wagons loaded with stone.

Quarrying had taken place in various locations around Mountsorrel: Buddon Wood, Hawcliffe Hill, Nunckley Hill, Cocklow Wood etc. Broadhill became the main number one quarry. The MGC Group also had quarries in south west Leicestershire, namely Stoney Stanton, Enderby, Potters Marsden, Huncote, Little Pit and Clint Hill.

My dad was a time served carpenter and joiner with the company but later moved over to the engineering and maintenance side, visiting these south Leicestershire quarries to sort out various problems from time to time, as well as at Mountsorrel, as part of his job.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I started to delve into the activities of the MGC and its history.

The Martin era: owners of Mountsorrel Granite Co for 150 years plus

The Martins had taken over the quarrying under a lease arrangement from landowner the Earl of Lanesborough of Swithland Hall in 1842. It became a limited company in 1875.

Horses and carts were the mode of transport for internal use, and local deliveries, and were also used to take stone in its various forms to the main line station at Sileby or Barrow on Soar.

The canal system was being extensively used, using the company’s own barges and contractors. It was a very time consuming operation. Eventually a railway system was a necessity, both in and out of the quarry itself and being far sighted it was decided on main line track dimension of 4 feet 8.5 inches, standard gauge throughout.

The railway network at one time extended into the old previously worked Buddon Wood quarry with proper manually operated level crossing gates across Wood Lane and a bridge nearby. With offices in Mountsorrel, Welford Place Leicester, and Caxton Place in London, stone in all its capacities was being sold throughout the UK.

Not only was the stone known for its hardness but one of its most saleable attributes was its pink colour and it became known nationally both for roads, building and monumental work (i.e. gravestones and war memorials). It became obvious that a more expedient method was required to get the stone to the Midland Counties Railway. Many hours of discussion took place between the main interested parties, namely the MGC, the Earl of Lanesborough and John Ellis, Chairman of the Midland Counties Railway. In 1858 an Act of Parliament was applied for, and passed, for a branch line as an extension to the Midland Counties Railway. The main sponsor was the fifth Earl of Lanesborough. The Act stated that the new railway line over the Soar valley will be known as the Mountsorrel Railway and that it will be beneficial to the inhabitants of Mountsorrel, surrounding villages and granite quarries. The railway will terminate at Mountsorrel north end. The drawings for the said branch line, with all its bridges and ducts, were deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the County of Leicester at 12 noon on 30 November 1858.

With the Act of Parliament passed, and all necessary arrangements in hand, construction started and was given a four year period to complete. The engineer in charge was John Addison. The junction on the main line at Barrow on Soar was 21.5 miles from Derby and 29 miles from Rugby.

The Mountsorrel Railway

The red brick single arch bridge, with the date in blue brick built into either side and known to locals as the 1860, was constructed with a 40 foot span and 16 foot to the centre of the arch over the canal. It is reputed to be the longest single span brick bridge in England. At the same time the construction of a raised embankment was taking place across the Soar valley with periodic culverts to allow flood water to flow through.

By 1861 the new railway line was up and running and carrying in excess of 200,000 tonnes of stone per annum. Canal borne loads were severely curtailed although they did continue for a while.

Many people think that the Mountsorrel Railway was owned by the Mountsorrel Granite Company but this was not so. It was leased on a quarterly basis from the Earl of Lanesborough who had financed the project and was responsible for its upkeep. Periodic inspections by engineers form the Midland Railway would take place.

1896, some 35 years later, saw the building of Swithland Reservoir and the Great Central Railway through Leicestershire, spanning the reservoir on a blue brick viaduct. At the same time as the Central track was being laid, the necessary connection for the forthcoming rail link to Mountsorrel was put in place.

The MGC, now a limited company, with an extension to the previous Act and under the same arrangements, constructed the railway link out to Swithland sidings, giving a complete link from the Midland main line at Barrow on Soar to the Great Central, a distance of 3.5 to 4 miles.

In 1959 the Mountsorrel Granite Company Ltd was floated on the stock market and was acquired in its entirety by Messrs Redland Aggregates Ltd. It was about this time that the rail network ceased.

The locomotives that had played such an important part in the history of the company, with names like The Baron, Doris, Robbie, Willie, Kate, Gerald, Lady Winifred, The Countess, Violet, Kathleen and Elizabeth were to be scrapped, or had been along with the track and rolling stock. Elizabeth however managed to be saved and ended up in Rutland Railway Museum. It has now been bought and is in private hands for restoration.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

August update from RVP

Clearance continues on the formation of this former branch line. The volunteer team have concentrated recent efforts on the section beyond RVP's boundary, running past Nunckley Hill quarry, under Wood Lane, and ending at a point just short of the main (working) quarry at Bond Lane.

This section is owned by Lafarge, but they have granted permission for it to be cleared to make the formation available for future use. The volunteer team's willingness to work with Lafarge on this no doubt encouraged the significant donation of ballast which RVP will receive in due course.

With clearance work nearing completion on the Lafarge section, the team will return to RVP property to continue preparation of the trackbed. In the meantime track design is being finalised ready to move forward.

Wood Lane bridge

Looking north towards Wood Lane bridge

Bond Lane bridge

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Historical walk

The former branch line which ran north east from the Great Central Railway's Swithland Yard towards the village of Mountsorrel was built in 1899 and fell out of use in the 1960s.

The track was taken up in the 1960s and the route abandoned.

The quarry it served is still operating, taking its stone out by a conveyor belt over another branch line formation.

Working at weekends, volunteers have cleared a distance of around 900 metres which had obviously become overgrown with vegetation.

Thanks to a generous donation of ballast from the quarry itself they are soon to start relaying the track.

It is ironic that similar stone to that which was once carried over the railway will now go underneath it to help in the rebuild.

Steve Cramp, who coordinates activities, is planning a historical walk on July 8. The walk will start and finish at the gateway of the Lord Lanesborough former private coal siding.

During the walk Steve will explain how the branch line used to operate and point out the various historical points of interest along the way.

He will also explain how the rebuilt railway will operate and discuss the recreations which they hope to stage.

The walk is open to anyone interested and there is no charge although donations to the Mountsorrel Railway project would be appreciated.

The walk will start at 7pm and last for between 75 and 90 minutes. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book.

The project is still keen to recruit more volunteers and anyone interested should contact Steve Cramp on 0116 2301374 or by e-mail at

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Great Central Railway press release

Generous donation of ballast from Quarry company gives boost to track laying

Community involved with rebuild project – school children set to recreate Edwardian day out

Coming soon to the Great Central Railway, 900 metres of brand new track! A former branch line which once carried millions of tons of stone from a local quarry is being partly re-laid. The project is being undertaken jointly by the GCR and resident group Railway Vehicle Preservations Ltd.

The branch line ran north east from the Great Central Railway’s Swithland Yard towards the village of Mountsorrel. It was built at the same time as the main line, opening in 1899. It fell out of use in the 1950s, the track was taken up in the 60s and the route abandoned - until now! The Quarry it served is still operating, taking its stone out by a conveyor belt over another branch line formation. Working at weekends, volunteers have cleared the 900 metres and thanks to a generous donation of ballast from the Quarry itself, track laying is due to start soon.

Heading up the project for the GCR and RVP Ltd is Mountsorrel resident Steve Cramp. He said, “We’re very grateful to Lafarge Aggregates, who operate the quarry for agreeing to donate 2000 tons of ballast. This will form a bed for the re-laid railway to sit upon. Naturally it’s exciting to have the support of a major company and the fact the line used to serve their quarry makes an interesting connection with the past as well.”

The new railway will add another aspect to the GCR, demonstrating how freight trains used to arrive in Swithland Yard from the quarry, their wagons ready for shunting, so the stone could be sent onwards by train across the country. The local community have become involved in the rebuilding with even a group of school children helping to clear the overgrown route.

Steve continued, “There are important educational aspects to the branch, hence the tie up with schools. Village life was very different a century ago. Some Mountsorrel children, from the age of just nine, would work in the Quarry pushing wagons around. Rebuilding the branch provides an illustration not just of railway operation but rural life. It wasn’t all hard work though. Once a year, the Martin family who owned the quarry opened the doors of their house to entertain families. Children would ride in the wagons, pulled by steam engine to get there!”

Community support for the project doesn’t end with the clearing of the trackbed. Three wagons at the Great Central are due to repainted by local groups into the colours of the Mountsorrel Granite Company. An original vintage engine which ran over the branch line still survives and its planned to eventually recreate an original train from the branch and arrange for school children in period costume to pose with it!

The GCR also hopes on special occasions to provide the chance for visitors to ride over the branch line, albeit in carriages – not wagons!

Tim Deal, Senior Planning and Estates Manager for Lafarge Aggregates said, “We’ve been impressed with the work done so far to clear the original route of the branch line. It’s good to be able to support this Great Central Railway project. As a major Leicestershire employer, we take pride in getting involved with the community. It just so happens the stone, which once was carried over the railway, will now go underneath it to help in the rebuild.”

The branch line trackbed continues beyond the 900m section being restored, as far as Bond Lane on the outskirts of Mountsorrel. Lafarge and the Great Central Railway are working in partnership to clear this further section of vegetation. The total length of the line is 1.8km (1.2 miles)

Steve concluded, “Restoring this lost branch line has turned into a genuine cross community activity with local schools and the Rothley Youth Group, besides the GCR, RVP and the welcome support from Lafarge Aggregates. Tracklaying should begin later this year and will progress as volunteer support and resources permit. I’d be delighted to welcome any assistance. There are a number of jobs which can be done from home even if you can’t spare the time to get involved with the physical reconstruction.”

If you can spare a few hours of your time then please contact Steve Cramp, either by email or by phone on 0116 2301374.

WORDS: 749

Details on the above and all forthcoming events can be found on the Great Central Railway's extensive website:

Additional information can also be obtained from the Booking Office, Loughborough Central Station, (Daily 9.00 - 5.30) on 01509 230726


Voted number 12 on the list of the 50 greatest railway journeys in the world the Great Central Railway is the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway. It’s the only place in the world where full size steam engines can be seen passing each other – just as it was when steam ruled the rails. The preserved railway has been operating for over 30 years, and is manned by around 700 volunteers and a small team of permanent staff. Originally a main line from Sheffield to London, the 8 mile preserved section between Loughborough and Leicester is fully operational and the 4 stations reflect a different period of the railway's 109 year history.

Trains run every weekend of the year, bank holidays and daily in the summer. In addition, First Class Restaurant Car Services provide 4 or 6 course meals, whilst travelling between Loughborough and Leicester or childhood dreams can come true with a Drive a Train Experience. We also run a number of family events, including “Days Out with Thomas the Tank Engine”, Bonfire Night and Santa Specials.

The railway has won a number of awards including “independent railway of the year”, and a gold award for the East Midlands best visitor experience and is a quality assured visitor attraction as designated by Enjoy England.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Can you help?

Have you ever wondered what Mountsorrel used to be like in times gone by? How the village has changed and what life used to be like for the people that lived here many years ago? Our village has a rich and varied history. The local granite quarries and the extensive railway network that used to serve them were once the cornerstone of Mountsorrel life.

Over twelve months ago, village resident Steve Cramp started researching part of that history with the intention of writing a book about the Mountsorrel Railway. This has now developed even further into a scheme to rebuild and preserve part of the Railway. The purpose of this is to allow historical scenes from Mountsorrel’s past to be recreated for current and future generation to enjoy.

We also aim to recreate working replicas of three original Mountsorrel Granite Company wagons. It is also hoped to bring back the last surviving Mountsorrel steam loco. We also have a scheme to involve the local primary schools of Mountsorrel, Quorn and Rothley in the recreation of local historical events that involved the railway.

The project is being undertaken by an enthusiastic team of unpaid volunteers, most of who live locally and have a desire to see Mountsorrel’s history preserved for current and future generations to enjoy. Would you like to be part of this volunteer team and help to make this vision a reality? Our team consists of both sexes and we age from 10 to 76 so there is a task for everyone, regardless of gender, age and ability! If you can spare a few hours on the occasional Saturday please get in touch with Steve Cramp by phone on 0116 2301374 or by email at We can promise you a very rewarding time with a friendly group of “guys and gals” to work with.

Progress has already been swift with the trackbed being cleared and in the process of being prepared for track. We have received a donation of rail and other materials and hope to start laying track later this year.

If you are unable to volunteer but would still like to support the project then please consider donating. Every penny donated will go directly towards the purchase of track and associated materials. We are a registered charity so if you are a UK taxpayer the chancellor will also top up your donation! Please contact George Overton at if you would like to donate.
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