BLOG: Rocks by Rail

Photo: Rocks by Rail Rolls Royce Sentinel 'Betty'


When the opportunity presents itself, I love nothing better than discovering new places to visit on my doorstep.

Last weekend, a pleasant sunny afternoon family drive through country lanes in Rutland offered just that and took me past a former East Midlands ironstone quarry which is home to Rocks by Rail (RBR) – the Rutland Railway Museum, which features static displays, exhibitions, machinery and a large collection of industrial locomotives.

On operating days, the museum also offers steam-hauled brake van rides on its standard gauge line which runs for approximately three quarters of a mile or so. At one time the branch was linked to the Melton Mowbray to Oakham main line at Ashwell.

An Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST takes charge of the brake vans rides at Rocks by Rail.

With camera in hand, we hopped aboard a former ‘Shark’ ballast plough brake van for the lively short journey to the other end of the site, passing a diverse range of rolling stock on the way, which included mineral wagons and a former Southern Railway Parcels and Miscellaneous Van (PMV) awaiting restoration.

Former ‘Shark’ ballast plough brake van and LMS 20ton brake van stabled outside locomotive shed

Museums and locations such as this are a perfect opportunity to gather photographs of the real thing ahead of a potential modelling project.

Rolls Royce Sentinel ‘Betty’ awaits the next call of duty

Amongst the industrial locomotives on display are one or two familiar types to modellers including Rolls Royce Sentinel 0-4-0s and a Yorkshire Engine Company ‘Janus’ 0-6-0 –  as modelled in ‘OO’ by Hornby and Golden Valley Hobbies respectively.

Yorkshire Engine Co. ‘Janus’

Also hidden away in the locomotive shed I spotted a Peckett ‘P2’ 0-4-0ST, similar in appearance to Hornby’s recently introduced ‘W4’. RBR’s prototype dates back to 1912.

Having gathered enough photographs for a future ‘Sentinel’ detailing project, I also noticed the museum offers ‘driver for a fiver’ opportunities at various times through the year too. Looks like I’ll be popping back soon…

Visit for more information.

Hornby Magazine Assistant Editor Mark Chivers’ next blog will be live on July 7 2017 and you can expect more from Editor Mike Wild on June 16 2017.

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