Author Archives: Sophie Bruton

40th Anniversary of the end of Ironstone Mining in the East Midlands

Forty years ago nearly 100 years of opencast mining for ironstone came to an end when the pits that served the giant steelworks at Corby ceased extraction. The last working day was 3rd January 1980 when three pits at Shotley, Harringworth Lodge and Great Oakley loaded and dispatched their final loads to the steelworks. On that day Driver S. Spencer and Roperunner C. Crane took loco No.52 to Shotley to collect 20 loaded wagons conveying some 504 tons of ironstone bound for the steelworks.

With their work done the giant quarry draglines at the ironstone quarries seemed to dip their heads as their long booms were lowered onto a platform of heaped overburden to take the weight off the supporting wire ropes and the access doors and windows were boarded up.

Rocks by Rail has an exhibition to mark the history of the ironstone quarries in the Corby area, opening at Easter. Check our ‘What’s On and Events’ page for full details of the 2020 Programme.

The pictures below, from left to right are: 1. 110RB Loading train at Corby Quarry; 2. S&L 52 with loaded train and below 3. Sundew with jib lowered.

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Track Work helps shift the Christmas pounds!

General Manager, Andy Salmon is marshalling his ‘troops’ for a week of energetic track work to help shift some of the excess Christmas ‘cheer’ while at the same time completing vital maintenance work.

Andy has promised to provide soup to keep people going through the day and they may well need sustenance; the message from Andy is that ‘The winter track week starts on Sunday 5th Jan to Saturday 11th Jan. The plan is to work from 9.00am to 15.30 pm each day as that is all the daylight hours will allow.  I hope as many as possible will try and attend this project, it really will be a great opportunity to work off some of the Christmas indulgences!!!’

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Membership Renewal and Annual General Meeting

Please note that reminders for membership renewal and details of the Annual General Meeting will be sent to all members during February. It helps the Museum and the Membership Secretary greatly if we are able to do this via email where possible.

If you have not yet provided an email address and are able to do so, please let the Membership Secretary have your details.

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Programme of Events for 2020

The Programme of events for 2020 has been tweaked slightly in view of new information about some important ironstone quarrying anniversaries. Full details can be found on the ‘What’s On and Events’ page.

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Happy New Year

We wish all the members and friends of Rocks by Rail an very happy and peaceful 2020 and look forward to welcoming you to our Open Days and other events in the coming year.



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Corby Diorama

As the Anniversary of the closure of Ironstone Quarrying in Corby approaches we thought this photo of a quarrying diorama might be of interest.

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Steam on the Ironstone for our Gala Day October 2019


The autumnal nights might be drawing in but the museums volunteers have been busy preparing for our last public open day of our operating season to be held at the Museum on Sunday 20th October 2019 .

For our Gala Open Day we are planning to steam the two resident Andrew Barclay saddletanks SIR THOMAS ROYDEN and 1931. Whilst one loco will be used to provide visitor brakevan rides along our demonstration line to the Oakham Canal the other will see use on quarry trip workings including shunting iron ore wagons in our mock ironstone quarry along with a restored quarry diesel loco.

Earlier this year former Colsterworth Ironstone Quarry restored diesel no.1382 returned to the museum and it is hoped to pair this locomotive for the first time with a newly repainted Appleby Frodingham Iron and Steel hopper wagon. The eighty year old wagon is one of only two survivors which carried the iron ore from Colsterworth Ironstone Quarry in block trains to Scunthorpe Steelworks.

The Gala Open Day on Sunday 20th October runs from 10am to 4pm and light refreshments will be available. Locos and exhibitions may be viewed in the Simon Layfield Exhibition Centre and there is a free car park. Your last chance to see us operating this year and we look forward to welcoming you to Rocks by Rail – the Living Ironstone Museum.


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