Where has the year gone?
As well as the usual DMU shuttle services on the railway there were again services onto the GCR’s main line. Our Mountsorrel Granite Wagons were also out and about as part of the GCR’s Goods Galore gala. Our restored Brake Van saw its first outing as part of the GCR’s armistice events, and recently we have acquired a second narrow gauge loco. In April we hosted a Morris Minor Rally, whilst September saw the railway museum housing a steam toy fair. The Spinney trail extension up to the high viewing area was completed early in the year, with help from volunteers from Network Rail, who have also helped to create a further path around the base of the quarry (which should open early next year). In September our Crazy Golf was officially opened by the genius behind the many obstacles, Bruce, whilst our Spooky Wood weekend was busy, despite the weather.
…or should that be closing?
We will close our doors at 5pm on Sunday 23rd December for our Christmas break, and re-open at 10am on Wednesday 2nd January 2019. I’m sure you won’t begrudge our staff and volunteers a well earned break.
On the run up to Christmas there are final reductions on the last few heritage centre calendars, down from £9 to only £6, get them whilst you can. Granite’s Coffee Beans are on offer at £6 a 250g bag or £16 for three bags. This is your chance to enjoy Granite’s excellent coffee at home if you have a bean to cup coffee machine.
If you are visiting for lunch or a snack Granite’s have many Christmas delights on offer. Home made broccoli and Stilton soup is going down a storm, as are our home made giant mince pies, served warm with delicious clotted cream. Norths have created some seasonal cakes for us including salted caramel cheesecake and chocolate orange cake. There are seasonal ice cream flavours including gingerbread and Ferrero Rocher, delicious on our new hot Belgian waffles! Even at the coldest time of year you can be always sure of a warm welcome at Granite’s.
A thank you to our volunteers
Earlier we mentioned our volunteers deserving their Christmas break. Many of you may have seen volunteers out and about during train weekends; manning stands, controlling the car parks, shaking buckets or helping visitors on and off the trains. This is the tip of the iceberg! Many are out and about in all weathers, restoring wagons, tidying the nature trails, or cutting back the vegetation along the 1¼ miles of track. Did you know that in renewing the bark along the trail the wheelbarrow travels over 200 miles! Of course it doesn’t do that on its own. Who needs gym membership?
I mustn’t forget the volunteer guides, or the young (and not so young) helpers that man the garden railway, giving up their weekends, and summer holidays, to give joy to our younger visitors. And finally those that work behind the scenes, auditing the accounts, scouring the country for donors and supporters, answering queries, maintaining Facebook, Twitter and the website, or creating the information boards around the site.
Railway Museum Appeal
Whilst we are thanking people, we must say an enormous thank you to everyone who has donated so far to our museum appeal. Just prior to our “Black Friday triple-up” event we had around £26,000 in donations. Our total now stands at over £41,343. Your generosity, and that of our supporter that agreed to triple all donations, has meant that we have been able to place an order for the museum building. We hope that construction will start early next year.
However we are still short of our final target of £50,000. Our supporter has agreed to continue doubling donations up until 5pm Sunday 23rd December so if you are considering making a donation there is still time to make the most of the double-up offer. For details of how to donate please visit our how to donate page.
2019 Train weekends
The GCR have provided us with provisional dates for next year’s train running days as follows:-
- 31st March (Sun) (Possibly steam and through to the main line)
- 17th April (Wed)
- 24th April (Wed)
- 28th April (Sun)
- 26th May (Sun)
- 30th June (Sun)
- 28th July (Sun)
- 7th August (Wed)
- 14th August (Wed)
- 25th August (Sun)
- 29th Sept (Sun)
- 27th Oct (Sun)
All are subject to loco availability. We will confirm dates nearer the time.
Heritage Centre Touch Display
By the time you receive this the large 55″ touch display should be operational in the downstairs Heritage Room. A massive thank you to Rothley Primary School for raising the funds to allow us to buy this.
At present there are over 200 photos, videos, and narrations for you to watch on the display; these will be added to over the coming months as we scan and index the wealth of historical information that has been loaned to us. This should give visitors a taste of what is planned for our Discovery Centre and allow you to see historical content with much more detail than would be possible in a book or on a display board.
If you are visiting the Heritage Centre give it a try and let me know what you think.