Chasewater Railway Museum Winter 1961/2 RPS 3.3 Bits & Pieces 14

Taken from the RPS Newsletter, Winter 1961/2

From RPS to RPA

Changes in Policy

Plan to encourage co-ordination.

On Saturday, October 21, representatives of Bluebell RPS., Middleton RPS., and the RPS itself, met at Leeds to discuss and agree upon a national organisation for the following objects:

a)    To act as a general clearing house and meeting place for all railway preservation societies.

b)    To circulate information on existing and proposed schemes.

c)    To foster and encourage co-ordination between existing and proposed schemes.

d)    To organise and assist full exchange of information between all societies on preservation of railway ethics.

e)    To co-ordinate and assist with publicity.

It was unanimously agreed this organisation should be known as the Railway Preservation Association, and that members of any constituent society should be welcome to meetings and to activities of other constituent societies.

The RPA will not be another society which will appeal for individual members. It is being established as a national organisation where representatives of schemes accepting the underlying principles will meet regularly. It is planned as a forum where consultations and co-operation can be mutually beneficial.

News from the Districts

West & East Midlands

We are still in the market for a branch line.  Members are probably aware that our negotiations with British Railways for part of the Coalport Branch have fallen through, due to the excessive annual rentals of £1,500.Coalport.  Would’ve been nice – including the Coal Tank!

But we are hoping that further news concerning the Mountsorrel mineral line.  This has been discussed with our Patron, the Earl of Lanesborough, and something should materialise in the not too distant future, and so provide a definite start for our East Midland members.

Response to a correspondence campaign launched to build up membership in the East Midlands, has so far been poor.  Several informal meetings are planned fro this winter to tell prospective members about our cause.

John Betjeman, the historian and an authority on railway architecture, has agreed to join Lord Lanesborough as a Patron.  Further details will be announced later.

A New Chapter Opens

Pooling our resources

This is the last issue of the ‘Newsletter’ in its present form.  Our National Council has decided that the Society shall in future be known as ‘The Railway Preservation Association’, to which all organisations connected with railways may seek affiliation and take advantage of our space and distribution scheme.

When we publish again in the Spring your news and features will appear in a new magazine called ‘Forum’, which will be distributed nationally, and which we hope will assist greatly in interesting the public in our endeavours.

During the three years that the ‘Newsletter’ has been circulated our achievements have been considerable.  We believe that ‘Forum’ will widen further the prospects that lie ahead for all of us.

As far as these posts are concerned, I shall continue to follow the interests of the West Midlands District though their magazine ‘The Mercian’ I assume that somewhere in our archives we have copies of the ‘Forum’ and if so, I shall have a look for items of local interest.

The organisations involved at the start of the Railway Preservation Association were given as: London District, West Midlands District, East Midlands District, North-West District, Scotland District, Bluebell RPS, and Middleton RPS.

5 responses to “Chasewater Railway Museum Winter 1961/2 RPS 3.3 Bits & Pieces 14

  1. Hello,

    My name is Steve Cramp. I lead a group within the Great Central Railway who are working to restore a section of the former “Mountsorrel Railway”.

    I have a Google Alert set up which has detected your posting regarding the RPS Winter 1961/62 news letter.

    The letter mentions that the West and East Midlands society were in talks with Earl Lanesborough with regard to the “Mountsorrel mineral line”.

    We had no idea that a group had looked at taking on the branch line all those years ago. I was wondering if any of your members may have any further information regarding this? If so I would very much like to hear from them.

    In the same way, if any of your readers would like more information about the current restoration plans for the branch line, I would gladly answer questions.

    I can be contacted at

    Best wishes,

    Steve Cramp

    • Hi Steve,
      I have spent the afternoon trying to find more about the Mountsorrel line, sadly without success. The West Midlands District were looking at the Coalport branch , near Wellington, Shropshire, plus the Uttoxeter – Stafford line and the mineral line at Chasewater, where we are now. I believe that the East Midlands District ceased to exist about the middle 1960s, but what happened about their Mountsorrel venture neither I nor some of the long-standing members of Chasewater know. In my post from the first ‘Mercian’ magazine, the East Midlands District report does state that they ‘hope to publish our results in the National Newsletter’ This should be about the visit to the Kettering – Cambridge branch but, with a bit of luck, may include other visits. I know that we have a number of the National Newsletters in our archives, I just hope that we’ve got the right one! I shall have a look through them over the coming weekend.

  2. Thank you very much John for your reply and taking the time to investigate my questions.

    The Mountsorrel Railway consisted of two branch lines connecting at the main quarry yard in the centre of Mountsorrel village. The original branch line was built in 1860 and ran from the quarry yard for just over a mile to the Midland Railway’s Loughborough to Leicester main Line. There was a junction at Barrow Upon Soar.

    The second branch line was built in 1896 and ran from the quarry yard in the opposite direction to connect with the under construction Great Central Railway at Swithland Sidings.

    After WW2 both branch lines were quite run down although still heavily used. The Mountsorrel Granite Company did not have the man power or the funds to repair both branch lines so they elected o focus on the branch to Barrow Upon Soar as this line saw the most traffic. The branch to the GCR carried on being used until around 1953. After that it was used for storing wagons until the track was lifted in 1959.

    I think it must have been this section of the railway that the RPS were looking at? The route to Barrow was still being used at the time and continued in operation until 1976, when it was replaced by a mile long conveyor belt which still carries stone to the railhead at Barrow today.

    Best wishes,

    Steve Cramp

  3. Hi Steve,
    I’ve got to watch what I’m doing here, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself but the mention of Swithland rang a bell! I’ve gone forward a few magazines to the June/July issue, 1963 and will print the article in its entirety.
    Visit to Swithland Hall.
    A small party of Midland Area members paid a visit to Lord Lanesborough’s ancestral home on Saturday, April 27th. His Lordship entertained members by operating his extensive model layout. This was followed by a trip to Swithland sidings, where his Lordship answered questions on the Great Central line, he also outlined the Great Central Association’s scheme for the takeover from British Railways.
    The Hon. Sec. proposed a vote of thanks to his Lordship in allowing members to visit the hall and sidings, the party then continued to Mountsorrel Granite Quarry to inspect the workings and railway installations.
    David A. Ives.
    I hope that this is of some interest Steve (it will probably appear again when I get to that copy of the magazine!)

  4. Thanks again John for taking the time to look this up!

    Going back to the mid 19th century, the Lanesborough family of Swithland Hall were the major land owners in the area. They own most of the land that was being quarried so had a vested interest in the Mountsorrel Granite Company (MGC).

    It was Earl Lanesborough who championed and submitted the 1859 Act of Parliament for the “Mountsorrel Railway”. He paid for the construction of the branch to Barrow Upon Soar and he owned the railway, which he then leased to the MGC who operated it.

    Again in 1896 when the quarry wanted a branch line to the Great Central, it also ran through the Earl’s land so again he paid for and owned the branch line which was then incorporated into the lease to the MGC.

    The practice of the Laneboroughs’ owning the railway and leasing it to the MGC continued throughout the railway’s life. Therefore if in 1961 the RPS were looking to restore and operate the Mountsorrel Railway, then Earl Lanesborough would have been the man to speak to.

    The last Earl died leaving no decedents and his estate went into trust. It is the Lanesborough Trust who we are leasing the branch line from today.

    Interestingly, Earl Lanesborough left a stipulation in his will that the trackbed of the Mountsorrel Railway must only ever be sold or leased for the purpose of a railway. It is this stipulation that prevented a scheme in the 1980’s to turn the route into a cycle path. It also prevented the sale of sections of the trackbed to local farmers and other interested parties that came along over the years. This ensured that the trackbed remained in one piece allowing us to restore the railway today.

    The last Earl Lanesborough was very much a railway fan. He was president of the preserved GCR in the 1980’s. There would be no Mountsorrel Railway Project today if it had not have been for is efforts to protect the route.

    Thanks again John for your time in looking this up. I find all this fascinating!

    Kind regards,

    Steve Cramp

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