After the excitement and frantic activity associated with the visit of HRH Prince Charles on the 25th Jan, February was always going to seem a little flat. However work goes on. Up on the Nunckley Trail the bark paths continually need repairing and topping up with fresh chippings, and “Doris” left a few of the trees needing a little attention. The den building area is almost complete, boot scraper production continues, the Wickham shed has been cleared ready for the arrival of a new loco in the coming weeks, and new planting has taken place around the site.
We are also responsible for the fencing along the length of the line. We have started laying the branch line hedgerow just west of the level crossing and have tackled a good 50m length of the hedgerow.
New AttractionsLast month we mentioned that we hoped to open part of the quarry area early in March. Sadly we are a little behind schedule, so we have pushed back the opening of the Railway Museum and Exhibition building to coincide with the opening of our new high viewing area and the Spinney Trail with den building area to the North of the car park. We now hope to open all these areas on the 8th April in time for the Easter holidays.
If you can spare a morning or afternoon one day a week then why not volunteer to help out as a warden or guide. Full details of how to do this can be found at http://heritage-centre.co.uk/help-us/how-to-volunteer/
Trains!Our most frequently asked questions are “when will trains next run on the line?” followed by “Can I catch a through train to Leicester/Rothley/Quorn/Loughborough?”
Well we can give you a definite answer to the first question; the weekend of the 25th/26th March! Ticket prices will be as before, adults £5 and children £3 for a single trip, or £7 and £5 for a daily runabout. Again the train will operate as a shuttle running every 40 minutes between Mountsorrel, Nunckley Hill and on to the junction at Swithland, and will NOT stop at any GCR station. Details will be published on our website and Facebook when finalised, and ticket sales will be available through the GCR’s website. (Please note: This is advance information and the links may not be active on the day you receive this newsletter.)
The answer to the second question is somewhat more difficult to answer. Basically the Mountsorrel Branch was a mineral line, and was never built (or signalled) for passenger transport. Because of the signalling and points arrangement at Swithland it is difficult to safely run trains from the main GRC lines onto, and off, the branch line. However plans are afoot to improve the signalling at Swithland to allow for an easier connections. The GCR’s signalling team have agreed to perform the work, however we need to purchase the hardware, which will cost around £75,000. In the near future we will be launching an appeal to raise this money. However we have some very generous benefactors who have agreed to match any public donations. We hope to be able to announce that for every £1 donated by the public our benefactors will donate a further £4, so, hopefully, we need to raise just £15,000 to achieve our £75,000 goal. You can download a donation form now or look out for our crowdfunding appeal which will appear on website and Facebook.