Not the end of the line for Quarry Loco

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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.