Newsletter: Summer 2019

Is this the Summer? I’m sure the gardeners and farmers will be thankful for the recent rain, however Thomas, Percy and friends on our garden railway don’t appreciate the wet weather.

Railway Museum

We have now spent all of the £46,000 you helped raise for the railway museum extension, which is now complete. You may remember that the extension was to allow us to renovate exhibits separate from the main railway display area in the existing museum. This should allow the main bays to be used as a clean, dust free environment for our exhibits, whilst providing a better environment for you, our visitors.

We have already acquired two new exhibits.

0-4-0 Brush Loco and Tar Wagon

Left: 0-4-0 Brush Loco arrives
Right: Tar Wagon awaits restoration.

The first of these is the last surviving standard gauge steam locomotive to be built at Loughborough’s iconic Brush works! The 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive was built in 1906 as number 314 and worked at Swansea Docks. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 and presented to the Leicester Museum of Technology in 1968, before going on display at Snibston Discovery Park in 1992.

The second arrival is a Tar Wagon, which is currently parked at the side of the railway museum and will undergo cleaning and restoration over the summer months.

To improve the environment for our exhibits we have launched a £4,800 appeal to raise the remaining funds needed to fit out the main museum building.

This money will allow us to provide:-

  • A 50cm tall, 7.2m long display board running the full length of the Brush loco.
  • New boards for the yellow wagon will explain about goods wagons during the early 20th century.
  • The brake van will have a set of timber steps built so that visitors can go inside and listen to an audio presentation voiced by a 1920’s guard.
  • Lastly a further set of steps will lead into the Mountsorrel wagon, the inside of the wagon will be set out with white sheeting and benches as it would have been during the Mountsorrel Sunday School outings.

We are pleased to say that a Mountsorrel resident has very kindly offered to match fund every pound that’s raised up to the £4,800 total required, until September 1st! So if you can help with a donation, whether it be large or small, every £10 you donate will double to £20, and, if you are a UK tax payer then please consider gift-aiding your donation, which would effectively make your £10 donation worth £25 to the appeal at no extra cost to you! For further information on how to donate check out our how to donate page.

Garden Railway

Improving the garden railway

Groundworks for the model village

The garden railway has also seen a few changes. We have added slightly to the layout and are in the process of incorporating a model village into the centre of the layout. Several of our volunteers are busy creating buildings which will be added over the summer months. Our aim is to operate the garden railway every weekend and throughout the school summer holidays, weather permitting. If you would like to help operate the garden railway, in particular during the school summer holidays, then please get in touch.

Train Weekends

The GCR have provided us with provisional dates for this year’s train running days. These are generally the last Sunday in each month with additional weekday trains in August as follows:-

  • 30th June (Sun)
  • 28th July (Sun)
  • 7th August (Wed)
  • 14th August (Wed)
  • 25th August (Sun)
  • 29th Sept (Sun)
  • 27th Oct (Sun)

All will be through trains to the GCR main line and are subject to loco availability. Details can be found on the GCR’s website.

Nunckley Nature News

Somewhere in between the unbelievable warmth early on and the recent pouring rain, the Team managed to sow this year’s wildflower seeds around the site. In early Spring it was good to see the Snakeshead Fritillaries in the Meadow and the site covered in those long awaited Snowdrops and Cowslips. Following a trip to Naturescape, some new wildflower plants have been planted at Nunckley including Betony, Common Agrimony, Great Burnet, Figwort and Ragged Robin introduced in the Meadow; all good flowers for wildlife.

Volunteers weeding

Left: Weeding the car park
Right: Tarmac tackle the Sticky Weed

This year surely must be the ’Year of the Cleavers!’ or Sticky Weed as many of us know it. The mild Winter temperatures and damp, hot early Spring must have been perfect for it to ‘explode’ all over the woodlands. A big “thankyou” to the volunteers from Tarmac who have helped us to clear masses from the Spinney before it has chance to set seed and return en masse next Spring. Bring on the Summer. However, experts are waiting to see what effect the drought period in 2018 has had on butterfly numbers. Let’s hope for good news. At Nunckley, Ox Eye daisies, Fox & Cubs, Knapweeds, Ferns, Bramble, Nettles, wild Geraniums, Thistles and mixed planting, not forgetting our nectar-rich Buddleias, will hopefully support a good number of insects, colourful butterflies and moths, Damselflies, Bees and Dragonflies for us all to enjoy.

Very Special Visitor

We are pleased to announce that on the 24th July we have a second very special visitor coming to see the heritage centre site and to meet the volunteers. Our previous special visitor being HRH The Prince of Wales in January 2017. Further details will follow shortly.

Other news

Both the standard and narrow gauge track layout in the base of the quarry will be modified during the summer. This should improve the NG layout and also provide a standard gauge spur into the workshop area.

During busy periods, and especially when we have events or train running days, it can be difficult to find a parking space. We have already started to level an area near to the site entry with the aim of extending the car park parallel with Swithland Lane. Hopefully this will provide much needed parking spaces.