Author Archives: Simon Layfield

Operating Days & Special Events


  • Sunday 19th January 2014
  • Sunday 16th February 2014 – Sentinel Sunday (to commemorate the closure of ironstone quarrying in the Belvoir valley)
  • Sunday 16th March 2014
  • Sunday 20th April 2014
  • Sunday 18th May 2014
  • Sunday 15th June 2014
  • Sunday 6th July – Driver For A Fiver! Drive a diesel loco for just £5.
  • Sunday 20th July 2014 – Sundew & The Great Walk Commemoration – Click for Flyer
  • Sunday 17th August 2014
  • Sunday 21st September 2014 – Diggers & Dumpers Event – Click for Flyer
  • Sunday 19th October 2014 – There will be no trains on this day due to preparation for the new Exhibition Centre. However, the Sundew Café will be open, and visitors are invited to come and see the progress of our current projects.
  • Sunday 16th November 2014 – Autumn Steam Gala – Note that the visiting loco for this event is now Beyer Peacock No.1879 from the Foxfield light railway and not Vulcan as previously advertised. Click for Flyer
  • Sunday 14th December 2014 – Santa & The North Pole Express – Booking Essential. Click for Flyer
  • Sunday 21st December 2014 – Santa & The North Pole Express – Booking Essential. Click For Flyer


  • Thursday 1st January 2015 – Mince Pie Specials – Booking Essential. Click for Flyer.

Note: Operations on Bank holidays is subject to review and will be confirmed in due course – check website for details.

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Steam Gala Feedback

The gala was a close run thing – we completed the construction of the trackwork in the locomotive yard leading to the new servicing pit at lunch time on Friday 15th November after rebuilding the pointwork, donated from Barrington Cement Works and barely dismantled a matter of three weeks before, as well as essential jacking and packing to ensure that there were no gaping voids under the track.

All three locomotives were in attendance, Peckett 1749 FULSTOW visiting from the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Andrew Barclay 2088 SIR THOMAS ROYDEN returning from a season at the Royal Deeside Railway and resident Andrew Barclay 1931 by the end of the week after transport arrangements had gone smoothly.

The locomotives were carefully prepared for their long weekend of work while the final shunting took place, FULSTOW joining the diesel fleet of JEAN and Mr D in completing the work on Saturday.

Sunday saw a fantastic turnout of visiting enthusiasts from far and wide, some returning friends but a large number of keen visitors who had not been to the Museum before. They were not disappointed for action as the three steam locomotives took ‘shifts’ on each type of activity – working the quarry, hauling the hopper train up our ‘bank’ into the yard and then shunting stock while the third took charge of our passenger shuttle to the far end of the Museum site.

The volunteers were complemented on the development progress at the site since the beginning of the year – the first steam gala being a great showcase for the hard work.

On Monday, we hosted the second photographic charter organised and promoted by Russ Hillier when around 50 keen photographers arranged a series of photographic opportunities with the three steam locomotives. These included a period of double heading, solo working, a cameo quarry scene and the day culminating in an evening shoot just as the light was fading. The event saw all types of weather including sun, fog, rain and a magnificent sunset – all made for some very photogenic scenes!

Galleries of the two days events can be seen on the following links;
the very good video films by Steve Hanglands and Mike McCormac on

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Steam Enthusiast Update!

We are closing in on the largest gathering of operational steam locomotives at Cottesmore since our relaunch!

Phone calls and emails have been bouncing around the internet as we start to coordinate the moves required to get the locomotives to Rutland in time for the event. With SIR THOMAS ROYDEN returning around 350 miles from a season in Scotland at the Royal Deeside Railway, careful planning to ensure that the lorries are going to be on time has been essential. Although coming from much closer to home, FULSTOW from the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway requires careful planning to load the locomotive at Ludborough. Locomotives need to face uphill at Cottesmore to work the 1 in 60 bank – and need to be loaded accordingly! Both railways are taking the opportunity of movements out to arrange other stock moves – we are also hoping to benefit from the movements by arranging for our Shark Brakevan to be turned.

The back story here is that the restoration has incorporated a fully accessible veranda to be used by pushchairs and wheelchairs – the problem is that since starting the project, we have rebuilt the platform on the other side of the railway!!! The Brakevan will be turned to allow full use of the new facility when the vehicle joins our operational fleet.

The programme allows for the locomotives to arrive in Rutland on Thursday, with preparation and “Fitness to Run” of the fleet on Friday and Saturday before the Gala swings into action early on Sunday morning. The use of the new servicing pit will depend on the platelayers finishing their work but we have every confidence at this stage.

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Yard Development Update

When we started the complete rebuild of the locomotive yard in March of this year, we knew that we had a real task on our hands. After removing the contaminated trackbeds in the area, over 250 tons of fill material and a drainage system have been installed. The experience gained in rebuilding the central area of the Museum last year led us to determine precise levels across the site and after filling material to bottom of trackbed level, a compacted bed was achieved with a vibrating roller across the new yard.

At the rear of the site, we have installed a volunteer pathway to avoid walking across operational track, together with water and power for servicing the fleet under lighting.

On 20th October, the rails on the pit were connected to the central siding, this being the first track replaced in the new yard.

This view in early November shows the extent of progress as the second yard point, known operationally as L2, takes shape – this being a flatbottom point recently recovered from Cemex Barrington after a kind donation by the company.

The closure rails and link panels from the turnouts are now in place and volunteers intend to work as hard as they can to complete the yard to initial standard before the dedication of the new

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Autumn Steam Gala Event

More details regarding the 2-day steam event to be held later in the month.

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Runners & Riders for Diggers & Dumpers

The organiser was extremely pleased to receive a phone call for a late entry of classic plant for the Diggers & Dumpers event on Sunday, when local owner of a TRACK MARSHALL blade dozer offered the operational machine for the event. Of even greater significance than having an operational bulldozer to level the ‘Digger Playpen’, was the information that the machine, which was preserved in 1970, was delivered new to Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Limited and worked on restoration of ironstone quarries across the ironstone belt of the East Midlands.

The event is shaping up to see the most intensive use of our quarry and playpen areas to date, with action focussing on the Ruston 22-RB dragline loading the vintage Euclid B5 dumptruck, supplying material for the dozer to spread across the work area. The quarry area will see steam haulage from the quarry face as the Ruston face shovel swings into action.

Visiting machinery of a more modern era includes a SMALLEY excavator, built locally, this is an example which has worked in the Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire areas for the whole of its life.

A reminder that as part of the event to celebrate our first year of opening, we have organised a ‘Rutland Record’ attempt to gather as many diggers and dumpers into our quarry as is possible. Children (of all ages) are invited to take part in the challenge by bringing their own toy quarry diggers to pose in the quarry area, the official count taking place at 3pm.

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NCS – National Citizen Service to the Rescue

Many young people see the summer holidays as an endless boring series of days with nothing to do!

In this area things are different! An enterprising group of 16 young people from Oakham, Stamford and Uppingham chose to spend 30 hours of their vacation making a significant improvement to our Museum under the National Citizen Service Summer programme.

The young volunteers took part in a range of activities including the transformation of our 1926 Charles Roberts water tanker – which although used operationally to service our steam locomotive fleet, has always remained in its ex-industrial condition, rather unloved and bedraggled.

Spending the earlier part of the week to remove loose paint, rust and debris, the team of April, Claire, Jacob and Lucy working alongside our own volunteers were able to transform the vehicle into a presentable example of rolling stock worthy of display in our museum environment by the end of their project.

Other teams were able to make significant contributions to our community Museum through improving quarry area interpretation, visitor amenities, clearance of line side materials as well as starting to transform our new study centre into a useable facility.

The Trustees and Volunteers of our Charity are indebted to these enterprising young people and hope that the experience was as rewarding for them as it has been for the Museum.

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Our blog updates are usually tales of success and completion of projects at the Museum as the Charity makes progress with its development.

Imagine the disappointment when volunteers arrived at the site to find that intruders had tried to gain access to our main gates, failed and then drove cross country across our boundary before breaking into the main workshops and making off with a substantial haul of heritage items, tools and materials stored for our next restoration projects.

Of major importance was the theft from the workshop of the original brass draincock valves from VIGILANT, dating to the construction of the locomotive in 1883 and refurbished ready for refitting to the machine. Other heritage thefts included the Wakefield lubricator valves from Hudswell Clarke No. 1308 RHOS, a sandbox cover from Ruston Hornsby locomotive ERIC TONKS and a gauge from Hawthorn Leslie SINGAPORE.

The items are all assumed lost but are irreplaceable given their historical and intrinsic importance to the respective locomotive exhibits.

Model items were stolen from our Museum displays but the biggest setback was our tool store where a haul of valuable to replace equipment was removed for resale.

Our local Police have started to make enquiries but the volunteers have now implemented a series of measures to remove any ‘temptation’ in the future as well as reorganising security measures on site. Without giving any information away, the measures include teeth!

If you spot any items which may correspond to the heritage items, please do not hesitate to let us know. We have started to raise funds to replace the equipment lost.

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Newest Exhibit is the Oldest Exhibit!

The Ashbury & Company four wheel passenger coach body ..

The Museum was extremely pleased to receive its latest exhibit yesterday – the Ashbury & Company four wheel passenger coach body, built for the Great Eastern Railway as their No.514 in 1869. The coach will become our dedicated visitor passenger vehicle when its running and brake gear are restored and the coach is restored to its former glory.

The coach is pictured on its temporary accommodation chassis which it will occupy for transit into our workshop.

As described in our blog update on 14th January 2013, the history of the coach is remarkable as it was retired from railway service as long ago as 1910, then being used as a coal order office in Newport, Essex until it was preserved at the South Cambridgeshire Rural Railway Museum in the 1970’s.

Surviving in an extremely good condition under a corrugated steel roof, the coach was lifted from its home onto a lorry and made its furthest journey from the Capital in its 144 year life yesterday, to an accommodation chassis at the Museum in Cottesmore.

The coach will be displayed for a short while but the intention is that it will enter our workshops for assessment and separation of body from chassis in order that reinstatement work can commence. The project will become the central group volunteer project as the coach is stripped and rebuilt over the next few years.

The coach was originally built for Victorian commuter services, primarily from Liverpool Street to Enfield, Hertford and Epping and has five ‘open’ compartments, where the wooden bench seats had little in the way of comfort for third class passengers. In the early days, even lighting was out of reach for third class passengers but we are planning on being a little more accommodating with our visitors!

We would welcome volunteers for this project and donations for materials, in our attempt to return a very historic vehicle to operational service.

The Museum thanks Mr Bob Drage and transport contractors Deeping Direct Deliveries for their support and assistance with this project.


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The Museum hosts its second ‘CAB-IT’ event on Sunday 21st July – an open day with a difference and certainly one for the enthusiasts and interested alike! The Museum is allowing access to as many of its exhibits cabs as is possible – including operational exhibits, exhibits on display and exhibits under restoration! Visitors can drive our diesel locomotives JEAN and Mr. D under supervision, while our quarry machines will be open for guided access and tours. In the workshop, a range of opportunities which are not usually possible will be made available. We look forward to showing you around our collection in a very different way at the event.



The weather is extremely hot and the Cottesmore area has not seen rain for a long time. After consultation with professional advisors, we have withdrawn steam operation for the event on Sunday 19th July due to the extreme fire risk associated with steam locomotive use. The Museum takes its responsibilities to its visitors, its collections and its neighbours seriously and although we regret the disappointment that the withdrawal of steam services will cause, trust that visitors will understand the reasons. A warm welcome awaits at the event where the operational team have arranged a rather special ‘event with a difference’!

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