A very happy New Year to you all and we hope that you had a really good Christmas!
We’ve already swung back into action after the Christmas break. The site reopened on January 3rd and has been very busy indeed. Various projects around the site have already seen action from the volunteers or further planning behind the scenes.
Workshop Extension Appeal
We are aiming to offer passenger rides around our narrow gauge railway circuit in the quarry bottom area of the site. Feedback from visitors suggests this would be a very popular addition.
We need to complete four stages before we are able to give passenger rides on our narrow gauge railway:
- Extend our workshop building to provide good covered storage, maintenance and service facilities for our narrow gauge (NG) locos and to allow for the possibility of housing a small NG steam loco. This is the subject of our current appeal
- Track alterations to the NG layout to reduce the severity of the curve radiuses and to create a platform at the rear of the Peace Garden to allow passengers to board and leave the trains.
- Creation of two purpose built open coaches to carry passengers.
- Administrative and safety case paperwork to be able to move passengers.
As the site grows with new things to see and do, they all add to the operating and maintenance costs. We remain committed to keeping the site free to enter so everyone can continue to benefit from what we have created. Nevertheless, those increasing costs need to be paid for so it is essential that we invest in new areas of the site that can help to generate income.
You might wonder why the Mountsorrel Railway is not operated more often to generate extra funds? The branch line is owned and operated by the Great Central Railway who receive all the income from train tickets they sell, but the Heritage Centre does not receive any income from the operation of trains on the Mountsorrel Railway branch.
We have already started work on modifying the NG rail layout.
As mentioned in our Christmas newsletter, tenders for the extension have been obtained and we are looking at just over £14,000 for the building work. The electrics, building control, alarm modifications, concrete and track for the floor are all in addition to this, but we are covering these extra costs from our own reserves, which just leaves the £14k construction cost to fund.
Thank you very much indeed to everyone who has donated to our appeal. A fantastic £9,430 has been raised! A generous long time supporter is doubling all donations received, but only until the end of February. This means there is still a potential £2,285 in match funding available if we can just raise the remaining £2,285 needed to release it all.
Obviously we are keen to benefit from all of our match funder’s generosity and raise the remainder quickly. If you haven’t already donated but would like to, please consider doing so before the match funding offer expires. Our public appeal to visitors can be found on the Donate page of the website which details the many ways you can make donations to the Heritage Centre or you can donate via our GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/6dd414a5.
Robert Stephenson’s historic 1834 lift bridge
The final concrete pour has taken place which completes the bridge slab with the hold down bolts in place.
We have finalised the list of timbers required to construct the bridge and are poised to order the timbers.
Once the timbers arrive we will start assembling the deck of the bridge on top of the foundation slab.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Garden
Work has started to create a new garden to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Standing at the side of the Peace Garden, and before you reach the Botanical Garden, it will feature a new circular path with a planted area at its centre, new ornamental trees and a bench on the far side.
The garden will be completed and ready for opening for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration in June.
The LMS wagon museum
The LMS wagon museum has a new addition, a 70 year old 3 rail Hornby Dublo model railway layout. These extremely well made tin model railway items were made by Hornby from 1938 until 1963. The intention is to enable the set to be controlled by a coin operated timer, so that visitors can insert a coin to watch the trains go round.
We plan to open the LMS wagon museum for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration.
There is still space for additional items in the museum, so If you have any locally themed historical items that you would like to loan to the Heritage Centre for display in the wagon please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can as the audio presentations and display board graphics for the museum are in preparation.