Tag Archives: Exhibits

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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Mini-Gala (March ’13)

The long awaited steaming of our two Barclay locomotives in the same shift – SIR THOMAS ROYDEN and 1931 – took place at our March operating day.

Reminiscent of an early morning quarry loco shed scene, the day started with a fantastic sunrise as the two veteran locos gently started to raise steam even before visitors were awake to start their journeys.

As a precursor to the unseasonal weather, we were faced with deteriorating conditions from around ten am with heavy snow falling throughout the middle of the day.

The two locos performed faultlessly with the innovation of a trainload ‘attacking the bank’ at the beginning and end of each shift change.

With two steam locos in operation, we were also able to ring the changes during the day to allow quarry and passenger operation with both locos.

The day was a real treat for enthusiasts and photographers alike as some truly spectacular wintry scenes were experienced.

With some fantastic feedback, we hope to incorporate the innovations into our regular operating days in the future.


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The enthusiast following for the small railcars produced by the Wickham company who were based in Ware in Hertfordshire comprises a knowledgeable group who have started to document the whereabouts of those which have survived this far. Prompted by their research, our track teams have been assessing the practical need for rail cars and trolleys to assist with the regular permanent way maintenance and rebuild work being undertaken on our rail system. It is often impractical to carry tools to a job or collect spare components by hand.

We are pleased to report that our long time Wickham ‘Lightweight Stretcher Trolley’, works number 8713, delivered new to Stewarts & Lloyds Minerals at their Market Overton Quarry will be retired from track maintenance work and restored as an interesting and unique quarry exhibit featuring removable casualty stretchers.

To replace this trolley we have been able to acquire two former Type 17a cars, Works numbers 7445 and 7587 to run as simple unpowered trailers. The first of these, No.7445 was acquired from The Lavender Line in East Sussex late last year and has now been overhauled, repainted and entered service to assist our Loco Yard rebuild team in February 2013.

The second trailer, No. 7587 has been acquired from a private collector but was resident at Cottesmore from 1980 to 1990 before departing as surplus to requirements. It is hoped that this trailer will enter service later this year after a rebuild.

While unpowered trailers might be useful, we have also been able to address the transport of track gangs around the site by acquisition of Type 17 Wickham No.1519 built in 1934 for the LNER and which is complete and close to its original condition. This machine is currently being restored at Hunsbury Hill but is due to debut at the Museum as part of a special event this Spring.

While the Type 17 may be highly historic, we hope that in due course we will be able to use a later Type 27 car, No. 7514 which is being rebuilt off site at the moment by an enthusiastic volunteer.

To house the small collection we are constructing a small garage in which the cars will be stored and maintained. In typical fashion, the siding for this building will be at 90 degrees to the running line and accessed

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Not the end of the line for Quarry Loco

The future of the last remaining quarry train at the CEMEX Barrington Cement works has been secured following the company’s decision to donate the locomotive and two remaining wagons to Rocks by Rail.

In February 2005 the last working standard gauge quarry railway in the UK finally succumbed to the pressures of modernisation at the Barrington Cement Works in Cambridgeshire. The cessation of the internal movement of quarried material from the quarry face to the works by an internal industrial railway signalled the end of nearly 200 years of industrial history which can be traced back to the very dawn of the creation of the railway age. The quarry railway atBarringtonwas subsequently taken up in favour of modern methods of mineral excavation and movement.

The plant was acquired by the global materials company CEMEX in March 2005 and in recognition of the significant part played by the quarry railway, it was decided that a quarry loco and two wagons were to be retained and preserved on permanent display on a short length of line within the works.

However, due to the recession the Barrington Cement works was mothballed in late 2008, but the quarry train remained on-site. However the decision has recently been made that the Cement Works will not now re-open and the initial phase of de-commissioning of part of the works is nearing completion.

As a result there was some concern regarding the eventual fate of the surviving preserved quarry rolling stock at the Barrington Plant but a solution has just been announced whereby CEMEX, recognising the importance of these items to the industrial heritage of the area, has agreed to donate and entrust the items to Rocks by Rail.

Consequently plans are being made to move the items to the museum’s site at Cottesmore, where they will join our unique collection of quarry rolling stock.

Ian Southcott, CEMEX’s Community Affairs Manager said: ‘We are delighted that these important aspects of the industrial heritage of the Barrington Cement Works will not only be preserved but will actually be seen in action at the Rocks by Rail museum.’

In addition, to the donation of the rolling stock, the Rugby Group Benevolent Fund, a charity with close links to the company has provided a grant of £5,000 to cover the cost of transporting the loco and wagons to their new home and creating supporting information for display at the museum.

Simon Layfield, Secretary of the Rocks by Rail Charity commented :

“Through this generous act CEMEX have safeguarded the future of historic quarry railway items which they were originally instrumental in saving. We are very grateful for their support both now and in the past. Once the items arrive at the museum they will supplement the other rolling stock that we have already received from the Barrington Quarry Railway”.

The arrival of the wagons will enable the Museum to form a genuine quarry train consisting of a loco and four wagons which can be operate in our quarry very much in the same way as they used to work at Barrington.

The wagons arrived at the Museum on Friday 28th September and with the loco to follow, the exhibits will arrive at the museum in time for their initial display on Sunday 21st October 2012 at the next Museum operating day.

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Ready for Business!

With the landscaping team still in full action, it was with real pleasure that we welcomed the first trial passenger train into the new platform yesterday afternoon.

Overseen by our external Independent Competent Persons (ICP’s), and after the finishing touches to the facing point lock mechanisms, the technical adjustment of the vacuum braking systems, and completion of safety fencing around the Museum, the Andrew Barclay steam locomotive SIR THOMAS ROYDEN (Works Number 2088) had the honour of hauling the first movement into the platform. The first run was delayed as a red lamp had to be found for the new buffer stop at the end of the passenger running line.

As part of the completion of the rebuilding works we have had to ‘prove’ the standards of the track, locomotives, vehicles and most importantly the volunteer competency to operate. As a result, we organised a full dress rehearsal under the watchful eye of the external assessors to ensure that all would run smoothly at our reopening.

After such hard work on rebuilding the Museum railway, the volunteers were very relieved that the final safety assessment, received late last night was positive and will allow us operate a full service on Sunday.

We now look forward to opening our doors on Sunday to visitors from the local community and perhaps those enthusiasts from further afield looking to find a rather unique heritage experience.

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All cleaned out!

As part of the recent rebuilding of the Museum, the team of volunteers have taken great care to make sure that the storage of operational materials are handled away from those areas in which visitors want to focus on the heritage aspects of their tour.

After a great deal of hard work, the team succeeded in relocating a range of poor quality facilities to open up the frontage of the historic Harston Locomotive Shed and in the process revealed a mature and interesting hedgeline.

It is intended that this area will now be accessible for all visitors and from time to time will feature a new or unique rail exhibit accessible for close quarters inspection.

The area also allows far greater opportunity to watch the rail operations in the busy ‘throat’ of the yard while providing a prime spot to photograph the locomotive taking coal and water at our new servicing facilities recently constructed.

Early visitors commented that the wide expanse of countryside which removal of the box vans has opened up is in stark contrast to the previous impression the Museum gave.

We hope that you will appreciate the effort needed to improve this area of the Museum and hope that you will visit soon.

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Exhibit Returns to Work!

On Tuesday 3rd July 2012 locomotive Andrew Barclay 499 left the Museum to return to work in industry!

The Heritage movement is used to housing exhibits as they retire from work so the Museum was extremely pleased to assist W H Davis Ltd, railway wagon manufacturers based at Langwith Junction, Mansfield when their regular works shunter broke down recently.

The locomotive was serviced and brought back into traffic at short notice to assess its suitability for the intended use at the factory which is engaged in building the large 60 foot long modern designs of wagon regularly seen on Network Rail these days.

The trials proved very satisfactory and the locomotive has left the Museum 25 years after being preserved for a second lease of work in the care of a very careful and interested new owner. The Charity is very proud to have assisted the company solve their locomotive problem and hope to build ongoing links to a thriving but increasingly rare British engineering busines

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