Friday, 14 April 2017

Great Central Railway Mountsorrel branch


I might have mentioned, quite some time ago, a visit I made to the Mountsorrel and Rothley Heritage Centre? This is a relatively new venture that includes a cafe, two rooms of information boards and exhibition cabinets, a nature walk and a train!

Well, on a lovely sunny Good Friday 2017, hubby and I visited again, on one of our long walks, this time from Quorn GCR station, to Swithland Reservoir, down to Mountsorrel and then back to Quorn. We had two tea stops on the walk, the second was at Stonehurst Farm in Mountsorrel, but the first was at the Heritage Centre.

Hubby hadn't been before, so, after having a cup of tea, we spent quite some time reading the information boards in the Heritage Centre (1), before going on the lovely nature walk. The approach to the nature walk was actually across the railway track, and pausing before crossing there was a lovely old bridge to the left of us in the direction of the reconstructed Mountsorrel station, and to the right a set of levers for changing the points, beautifully painted.

Whilst we were down near the tracks, we saw a building, and set off to investigate. Popping inside, I was aware of a strong smell of paint, but that didn't put me off looking at the fascinating information boards, which were related mostly to the railway and quarry. Quietly minding our own business, and deep in concentration, we were startled by a voice asking us if we were ok! 

Turning, we saw a man in a high-vis jacket coming towards us. We got into conversation, and were surprised to learn that this was the first time this particular building had been open! In the larger building next to this one - also its first day of opening - there were a couple of trains, and outside were a couple of interesting, eco-friendly toilets!!

We were told that there were regular weekends when the train runs, and that eventually it is hoped to link up with the Great Central Railway. Originally, the Mountsorrel branch line was an industrial line, serving the Nunckley Quarry and Swithland, and linked up with the GCR at one point and the Midland mainline at another. 

The whole complex was quite fascinating, and it was interesting to hear that the buildings were originally positioned elsewhere, and were rebuilt on site, thus preserving them for posterity. So, for example, Granite's, the teashop, was once the "time office" for the old Mountsorrel quarry.

We felt really quite pleased that we had managed to inadvertently turn up on the first day of opening of some of these exhibits, and plan to pop back later in the year when the plans for further buildings on the site will come to fruition. 

Here's some pictures from our visit:

The new exhibition area

New exhibition area straight ahead and to the left


Inside the larger exhibition area

Inside the larger exhibition area

A mega digger

Nunckley Hill station

The tracks

A view from the nature trail to the track

In the nature trail

Picnic area in the nature trail

Changing the points

The bridge

The Mountsorrel station

(1) Each board had a very helpful QR code in the corner, which when input to a smartphone delivered an audio version of the board. Here's an example of the one on Saxon Britain


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Dyer, Lynne (2017). Great Central Railway Mountsorrel branch. Available from: http://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.com/2017/04/great-central-railway-mountsorrel-branch.html [Accessed 14 April 2017]

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