This Midland Railway sign had lain unloved for many years in the undergrowth at Rocks by Rail. It is now on display for visitors to admire at the quarry junction.
It is a cast iron boundary marker as described here. Back in the 1800’s the Rocks by Rail track was operated by the Midland Railway as the Ashwell Branch shown by this 1884 ordnance survey mapping.


John has done a sterling job refurbishing the Museum’s 3 plank wagon. Sporting a shiny new grey and black livery and number B457008 it is ready for service carrying the coal for our steam locomotive.

The “last of the summer wine” crew are busy replacing the very worn brake blocks on our Sentinel “Graham”. Derek has been busy making new mounting pins whilst John, Steve, Trevor and Eric have been removing the old brake shoes and have started to fit the replacement shoes.

Richard has put the Museum’s JCB “Harriet” into action excavating the old culvert. It is now exposed and needs some unblocking to enable rainwater to flow properly again. “Harriet” has returned to the Woolsthorpe workshop for more painting work.

In preparation for the addition of vacuum braking, 1382 vacuum hoses have been installed. It is hoped to complete this work by the end of the year. It requires the refurbishing of the exhauster, fabrication of manifolds, addition of a driver brake, piping, valves and belt drive from the generator.
Some of 1382’s paintwork is also being refreshed over the next few weeks.


We open the Museum again on Sunday 31st March.
Our volunteers have been very busy smartening up the site.

The Ruston Bucyrus face shovel and dragline have been dormant over winter in the quarry. Rob has been cleaning both, getting rid of green algae whilst Martyn has been reviving the batteries ready for starting again. Just some greasing and oiling to do and they will be ready for action.

Whilst we are in quarry it’s worth mentioning that the Sundew cab is having it’s interior paintwork redone. Pam has been busy with the paintbrush – only the outside to complete now eh Pam?!!

In the 15th February news update we mentioned the West siding was now clear of overgrowth. With the wagons temporarily parked on the main track, the stored pointwork could also be collected and moved to the rail storage area. It was challenging to load the rails onto the Wickham trolley but Eric, Derek, Trevor and John managed it with ease and a little help from Sentinel loco Betty.

With the log pile now cleared, work continues with clearing the overgrowth at the rear of the Woolsthorpe. Richard, Martyn and Gary made good inroads into the “jungle” with the help of Harriet the JCB. They found some interesting goodies such as pointwork chairs and other metalwork long buried by overgrowth.

As part of the clearing onsite, a number of relics long hidden away in the undergrowth are being displayed on plinths in the car park for our visitors to investigate. The first artifact is now in place seen here with Geoff (welcome back), Ian and supervisor Jim. More artifacts will be added over the season.

Last year we were donated several hundred purple crocus bulbs from Derek’s brother-in-law, to raise awareness of the Rotary Club End Polio Campaign. Heather planted these around the Museum site last November. As spring approaches they add colour to the site. Here we see the display at the Museum entrance.

Finally snippets of News for this update:

– Overgrowth damaging the Cafe guttering and causing damp has now been cleared thanks to Richard, John, Pete and Clive.
– Alex has been busy finalising repairs on the Ruston.
– Eric, Trevor, Roy and Derek have been busy with the wagon and guards vans FTR preparations, greasing the wheel bearings and general inspections in preparation for the opening.

Our 2024 events calender can be viewed here.

15th February 2024 – LOG PILE, WEST SIDING, JCB, 6 PLANK DEMISE.

Here at the Museum, we may be closed for visitors but our volunteers have been busy.

The pile of wood by the north end of the Woolsthorpe has now been sorted and cleared. The hedge has had a trim as can be seen in the picture. Further hedge tidying is planned at the back of the Sundew cafe. The access from the Woolsthorpe has also been moved to make machinery movements easier.

Volunteers have done a great job with the renovation of the Museum’s JCB and the body is now sporting a new coat of yellow paint. Here it can be seen helping with the wood pile clearing. Since the picture was taken the jib has had a first undercoat and it too will soon be yellow again.

As part of our trackside works, the West siding has now been cleared of overgrowth making access to the stored wagons easier and much safer. For the clearing work, wagons were temporarily moved to the main line. Stored pointwork has also been collected and moved to the rail storage area.

The West siding clearance highlighted the state of two of the Museum’s very old wooden 6 plank wagons that came from Stanton Ironworks. One had collapsed brake gear, the wooden structural timbers having long rotted away. Seen here is the remains of the wagon for dismantling. Note the novel strapping assembly to maintain the wheels in place!! A second wagon is being assessed to see if it can be restored back to running condition.

It’s now just over a month until we open for 2024. Our volunteers are turning their attention to getting ready for operations. Trucks and guards vans are being checked for fitness to run (FTR), site maintenance machinery being serviced, re-aligning of our trackwork and making sure site accesses are clear and safe as we look forward to welcoming our visitors again.

Our 2024 events calender can be viewed here.

18th December 2023 – our 2023 Review is now available.

6th December 2023 – 3 PLANK WAGON PROGRESS.

The Museum’s 3 plank wagon has had a major facelift thanks to John one of our regular volunteers. Sporting all new timberwork, a smart grey and black paint job and refurbished leaf springs it’s almost ready to roll. There’s just the identification lettering to add and this wagon will be back in service carrying the coal for our steam locomotive.


Volunteers clearing cut down brambles and branches by the quarry track.

Over the last few years the quarry track has become overgrown and dark.Our volunteers have made a start on cutting back the overgrown areas to provide our visitors with a better view of what’s going on.

Cut down branches by the quarry track.

Spindly bushes and bramble are being removed but stronger trees, especially those that provide berries for wildlife in the winter, are being kept.


The nameplate for steam locomoteve Singapore which is dedicated to the memory of Far Eastern Prisoners of War.

October 17th 2023 was the 80th anniversary of the completion of the “Death Railway”. Rocks by Rail Museum held a commemorative event to remember all allied prisoners of war who worked, suffered and died on this railway.



Overgrown trackway from 1979.

The first part is on our website.
At the bottom of the page you’ll find an index for the 40 items on Facebook.

OUR LAST OPEN DAY OF 2023 (don’t worry, we’ll be back in 2024).

Sir Thomas Royden coming out of the steam on a cold autumn morning.

A cold but clear sky start to the day and an early 6am start for our volunteers cleaning, firing and shunting wagons into position ready for visitors to enjoy.

Our steam hauled brake van rides were again in action hauled by Andrew Barclay steam locomotive 1931.

A cleaned and repainted Yorkshire Engine Company Janus diesel locomotive in the exhibition centre.

Two volunteers have been working hard this year on the conservation of the sole surviving diesel locomotive from the Exton Park ironstone quarry, a Janus class diesel locomotive DE5. It has been cleaned down and repainted in its original United Steel Co. colours. The picture shows the extent of their labours to date.

Newly painted Ruston Bucyrus stores van behind the Ruston and Hornsby 48DS diesel locomotive.

The Ruston and Hornsby 48DS (Imp) built in 1941 has also been worked on by its owners and was on static display outside the exhibition centre.

Behind Imp is the recently repainted tools van in Ruston Bucyrus livery.

Our Ruston Bucyrus RB22 dragline excavatory working in the simulated quarry.

Quarry RB22 diggers showed off their paces simulating loading of trains in the mock ironstone quarry. Diesel locomotives also demonstrated shunting in the quarry sidings..

The Open Day was also an opportunity to view the Museum’s display marking the 50th anniversary of the closure of Rutland’s largest and last ironstone quarry at Exton Park.