Newsletter: January 2018

Banner Discovery Centre in-situ

Discovery Centre

In last month’s newsletter we gave you advance details about our Discovery Centre project.

Since then the plans have been modified to take account of some of your comments and are now available to view in Granite’s Coffee Shop. So if you are in the area why not pop along and chat with one of our volunteers who will be more than happy to talk you through the plans and answer any questions you may have. Plans will be on view until February 4th, and Tarmac’s “Pod” will also be on display in our Railway Museum. This virtual quarry experience will give visitors a taste of the ways technology will be used in the new Discovery Building.

You can view some of the plans below (click on the image for a larger view if required).

In conjunction with the architect we have also put together a short virtual tour of the Discovery Building which may help you to visualise what the building will look like inside.

Crazy Golf

We have been busy reorganising the area around the high viewing area. Some of the tables have been transferred down to Granite’s patio area to make way for a small crazy golf course, which is currently being designed by one of our volunteers.

This is where you can help!

We have a “wish list” of items that we need for the construction of the various obstacles. If you have any of the following that you no longer need then please get in touch (simply reply to this newsletter) and we will let you know where and when to leave your items..

  • External grade plywood sheet.
  • Plank wood (e.g. decking).
  • External paint or varnish.
  • Wood Glue.
  • Small hinges and brackets.
  • Wood screws (any size)
  • Steel, wood or plastic rod (for axles).
  • 1″ to ½” metal tube.
  • Clear plastic tubing 2″ to 3″ diameter.
  • Wood dowelling and any other profiles.
  • Waterproof material (e.g. an old raincoat).
  • Empty tins and lids any size or shape (e.g. biscuit tins).
  • Bells.
  • 8″ x 6″ Union flags.
  • Chain.
  • Rope.
  • Clock face dials.
  • Leather pieces (e.g. an old belt)
  • Shed roofing felt.
  • Bamboo.

Swithland Signalling Upgrade

The Great Central Railway’s Signals & Telecoms Dept. have the work scheduled for their May Work Week, at the end of which the upgrade should be nearly complete. We understand that the various tasks will include removing the current branch signal, installing two new signals and installing the point motors and connections to the Swithland Sidings signal box. There will be tweaks and snagging to carry out after that and the final completion date should be around the end of this year. In the meantime, however, we would once again thank everyone who donated to last year’s fund-raising for this project and made it possible to go ahead.

News from the ECO team

The Meadow

In between the rain and snow showers and freezing temperatures, the Team has begun tackling the persistent Couch grass in the Meadow. Unfortunately, this particular grass, some of us might know as “Twitch” is so prolific in its spreading habit, the spaghetti-like root system or rhizomes, greatly restricts the growth of both perennial and annual meadow wild-flowers and delicate meadow grasses. A large area was removed last year and another large area is undergoing removal this month. In addition, we are once again sowing Yellow Rattle seed which will inhibit any returning grass root growth. In Spring we will be sowing both annual and perennial wild-flower seed in the cleared areas so watch out for improved flowering here next Spring and Summer. Bees and butterflies welcome!

Network Rail on the high trail

On January 23rd volunteers from Network Rail came to the heritage centre site to help build an extension to our Spinney Trail. Working alongside our own volunteer team, a new path was created which climbs the hill side up to what will be a new viewing area at the highest point of the site, giving views out over the Nunckley Quarry and beyond. This is the latest of several volunteer days Network Rail have assisted us with and we would like to say a big thank you to them for all their help!

If the company you work for runs volunteer days for their staff, then please get in touch via and come along with your work colleagues to lend a hand.

Stop Press! Steam Trains

We have just received advance notice that the GCR will be running steam trains along the Mountsorrel Branch line on March 24th & 25th. More information in next month’s newsletter.