New railway centre opens

Rocks by Rail official opening'Photos: Alan Walters EMN-151116-093826001 EMN-151116-093826001

Rocks by Rail official opening'Photos: Alan Walters EMN-151116-093826001 EMN-151116-093826001

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A long-held ambition by volunteers at a railway museum was realised on Sunday when a new exhibition centre was opened.

The High Sheriff of Rutland Andrew Brown cut the ribbon on the new Ironstone Railway Exhibition Centre at the Rocks by Rail Museum, near Cottesmore.

The museum is entirely volunteer-run and it was their ambition to have a dedicated display and restoration facility to safeguard its comprehensive collection of standard gauge railway locos and rolling stock.

A grant from the Mick George Community Fund, administed by Grantscape, meant this ambition was realised.

The volunteers have built an insulated three road exhibition and conservation building at its site.

Rocks by Rail volunteer Robin Bickers , a museum trustee and acting general manager, said: “The new building will provide secure accommodation for the exhibits, encourage more conservation work and training in old skills thus enhancing opportunities for volunteering at the museum as well as providing a focus for future educational visits where a younger generation can learn about their industrial past.”

Support from Hanson Cement at Ketton, the quarry at Baston, Breedon Aggregates, Frimstone Ltd, Mountsorrel Quarry, the Mick George Quarry at Thornhaugh and Cemex UK was vital.

As part of the opening ceremony the building was dedicated and named in memory of former general manager Simon Layfield, who tragically died as the scheme was being prepared but who had earlier led the museum through a rationalisation and transformation project.