Mountsorrel Railway opens again after 50 years

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Media captionProject leader Steve Cramp and Lord Faulkner opened the railway

A railway that was dormant for 50 years has reopened after more than 200 community volunteers spent eight years restoring it.

Mountsorrel Railway was originally an industrial steam line used for transporting granite from quarries surrounding the Leicestershire village.

It fell out of use in the 1950s and the track was lifted in the 1960s.

It has reopened as a heritage railway for passengers, and is an extra branch line for the Great Central Railway.

Image copyright Mountsorrel Railway Project
Image caption More than 200 community volunteers restored Mountsorrel Railway

Mountsorrel Railway project leader Steve Cramp came up with the idea after doing some research into local history.

He discovered the quarry used to run Sunday outings for local children, who were allowed to ride in the open wagons.

"We got into this through a desire to be able to do historical recreations and it grew from there," he said.

"It's very special because it has been restored by community volunteers.

"Rather than a group of enthusiasts employing contractors to restore the railway it's been undertaken entirely by the community volunteers."

Image copyright Mountsorrel Railway Project
Image caption Volunteers even did their track-laying work in the snow - including one volunteer who came from Paris to help

Hundreds of passengers rode trains throughout Saturday and Sunday as part of the opening weekend.

Other people who want to try the railway will have to wait until next year, when it is is expected to open fully around Easter time.

A railway station has been built as part of the restoration, and work to build a community heritage centre is under way.

Image copyright Mountsorrel Railway Project
Image caption Steam locomotive Teddy visited the railway for the opening weekend

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