New centre for historic locomotics set to open at Rocks by Rail

Rocks by Rail Singapore
Rocks by Rail Singapore

A new purpose-built exhibition centre focusing on the history of the ironstone railways is ready to open after a year of hard graft.

The new Ironstone Railway Exhibition Centre will officially open at Rocks By Rail - The Living Ironstone Museum in Cottesmore, at 2pm on Sunday, November 15.

The exhibition centre will provide visitors with easy access to the museum’s unique collection of historic ironstone locomotives.

The opening has been made possible thanks to a significant grant from the Mick George Community Fund in June 2014.

Planning permission was granted last October and since then it has been all hands on deck to get the project completed with the museum’s own volunteers, contractors and Army personnel from the nearby Kendrew Barracks getting involved.

There was also support from the Mountsorrel Quarry of Lafarge Tarmac, the Mick George quarry at Thornhaugh, Hanson Cement at Ketton, and Cemex UK, which all donated materials.

Museum trustee Robin Bickers said: “We are very grateful for the support of the minerals industry in furthering our project which aims to highlight the heritage of the role played by railways in past quarrying activity in the East of England.”

The basic building was completed by December. Since then work has involved laying footpaths and laying of new track on three roads to replace the former loco yard in which the locomotives were previously stored, exposed to the elements.

The first locomotives have already entered the new building, shortly to be joined by many other exhibits after a deep cleaning process.

Once under cover, reassembly and cosmetic restoration of the fleet will become an easier task, and for the first time the effort will be preserved under cover.

Rutland High Sheriff will officially declare the centre open at 2pm on November 15. During the day there will also be brake van passenger rides along the former minerals branch and quarry demonstration trains.

The gates will be open from 10am until 4pm. Entry is £6 for adults and £3 for children aged between give and 11. Further information is available at www.rocks-by-rail.org.