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Museum History

IN THE BEGINNING …….

In 1979 some 6 acres of former derelict railway land at the eastern end of the Cottesmore Mineral Branch was purchased from the British Rail Property Board to accommodate a growing collection of industrial locos and rolling stock that had been assembled at nearby Market Overton in Rutland. Having obtained planning consent volunteers steadfastly set about modifying their new home ready to accept the items to be transferred.

A view from the former empty wagon siding land at the end of the Cottesmore Mineral Branch looking towards the public highway in the far distance.

View of derelect Cottesmore Mineral Branch from empty wagon siding.
New site access works.

Firstly a new access into the site had to be created from the public highway. This was followed by the construction of a ramp to replace the steep gradient at the end of the original cutting which once acted as an empty wagon siding for the operation of the former iron ore tipping dock. The deposit of some 600 tons of quarry overburden effectively produced a ramped access from the public highway onto the route of the old railway.

View northwards from ore tipping dock.

A view looking northwards from the top of the former ore tipping dock. The inevitable bonfire was a regular consequence of tree and vegetation clearance in the early months.

The same view northwards from ore tipping dock but in 2023 showing Museum cafe.

For comparison, the same view in July 2023.

Using the route of the old wagon siding as an access road a start was made on tracklaying near the old tipping dock using sleepers and rail brought over from Market Overton. By the start of 1980 construction of a short length of track allowed for the transfer of the first exhibits for the fledgling Rutland Railway Museum from the old site at Market Overton.

After many hours of vegetation clearance and some early track laying the first steam loco arrival “Singapore” is coaxed off the low loader using a tractor.

Singapore steam locomotive unloading from low loader.

After months of heavy work cutting down trees and track laying in early August 1980 the volunteers allowed themselves a very short respite from their labours. On the 2nd of August “Singapore” was steamed and provided short brake van rides for Members along the track that had been laid over the previous months.

First steam up as Singapore takes the Midland brake van slowly down the line.

The first steam up. “Singapore” takes the Midland brake van slowly down what became the main demonstration line.

At the end of that month museum volunteers were busy arranging and carrying out the transfer of plinthed Hunslet 50550 Class S& L No.24 from West Glebe Park in Corby to the Museum. The removal of the loco on a short length of track was no mean feat and fortunately we had the services of our good friend Brian Freer who turned up with his two Scamell tractors and a winch.

With the two Scammel lorries linked together the loco is winched onto the lowloader.

Two Scammel lorries winching Hunslet number 24 onto lowloader.

Oil fired Hunslet No.24 trundles through the streets of Oakham.

Hunslet number 24 trundles through the streets of Oakham on lowloader.

Having successfully loaded the loco onto the large lowloader it was a relatively short journey to the museum at Cottesmore but it made an unusual site negotiating the roads system in Oakham. Track work continued into the autumn creating siding space greatly aided by a members ex Stewart & Lloyds Lima 34 crane.

View looking south into the developing locomotive yard.

General view looking south into the developing yard area.

Construction of the west wagon storage sidings.

Construction of the western wagon storage sidings at the museum.

You can read the rest of the Museum’s history on our Facebook pages………
Use “Forty years on” in the Facebook search box for a random search – there are 40 pages in total!
The index below may help with words for a more specific Facebook search.
I don’t know of a way to hyperlink to specific Facebook items.

1 – FORTY YEARS ON AT THE MUSEUM
2 – IN THE BEGINNING
3 – IN THE BEGINNING
4 – HARD GRAFT, RAKE OF WAGONS AND FIRST OPEN DAY
5 – FORMER EXTON PARK IRONSTONE QUARRY JANUS RETURNS TO RUTLAND
6 – CORBY IRONSTONE QUARRIES WAGONS SAVED FROM SCRAP
7 – THE DAY BBC TV CAME TO THE MUSEUM
8 – THREE MORE DIESELS, A TANKER AND A RAIL CRANE
9 – SAVING THE WOOLSTHORPE IRONSTONE QUARRY LOCO SHED (Pt1)
10 – RE-BUILDING THE WOOLSTHORPE IRONSTONE QUARRY LOCO SHED (Pt 2)
11 – (not found?)
12 – RE-BUILDING THE WOOLSTHORPE IRONSTONE QUARRY LOCO SHED (Pt 3)
13 – RE-BUILDING THE WOOLSTHORPE IRONSTONE QUARRY LOCO SHED (Pt 4)
14 – THE WOOLSTHORPE IRONSTONE QUARRY LOCO SHED OPENING AND AN INFLUX OF DIESELS FROM THE NORTH-EAST
15 – SUNDEW’s DEMISE, A DUMPTRUCK, A COMPLETE IRONSTONE QUARRY TRAIN AND SALMON’s RETURN TO STEAM
16 – SALMON’s VISIT TO BSC SCUNTHORPE
17 – AVONSIDE LOCO DORA TESTED AND STEAMED AND INVESTMENT IN A NEW VISITOR AMENITY BUILDING
18 – SINGAPORE GOES ON LOAN TO THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
19 – STEAM RETURNS TO THE QUARRY FACE
20 – A STEAM SENTINEL RETURNS TO WORK IN A QUARRY 
21 – TO KEEP GOING THE SPIRIT THAT KEPT THEM GOING – Part 1
22 – THE COUNTY OF RUTLAND RETURNS
23 – TO KEEP GOING THE SPIRIT THAT KEPT THEM GOING Pt 2
24 – MINERALS 98
25 – BLACK VALENTINE – 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLOSURE OF HARLAXTON IRONSTONE QUARRY 
26 – QUARRY RAILWAY HERITAGE DAY 2001 – AN AVONSIDE RETURNS HOME 
27 – QUARRY RAILWAY HERITAGE DAY 2 
28 – THE END OF THE LINE – LAST RITES FOR BARRINGTON’S QUARRY RAILWAY
29 – SINGAPORE IN THE CITY
30 – REFOCUSSING THE MUSEUM, A TEMPORARY CAR PARK AND MOCK IRONSTONE QUARRY
31 – NEVER SAY NEVER – AGAIN – BLR’s 80th ANNIVERSARY
32 –  USC AUSTERITY SEEN AGAIN IN RUTLAND
33 – A PERMANENT CAR PARK AND THE QUARRY LINE RE-BUILD
34 – 2013 A STEAM VISITOR
35 – NOT THE END OF THE LINE FOR QUARRY DIESEL LOCOMOTIVE
36 – SIMON LAYFIELD EXHIBITION CENTRE. DIGGING DEEPER FOR THE EAST MIDLAND’s QUARRY RAILWAY HERITAGE
37 – SALMON RETURNS FOR A BRIEF VISIT
38 – BARRINGTON LIGHT RAILWAY RE-BORN
39 – MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPH MISCELLANY – 1
40 – MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPH MISCELLANY – 2