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.
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.
Museums and locations such as this are a perfect opportunity to gather photographs of the real thing ahead of a potential modelling project.
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.
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 www.rocks-by-rail.org 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.