Rocks By Rail
Track-laying, painting and wood-shifting
9 October 2012
There were thirty-four of us on the day’s activity at the old Rutland Railway Museum, which has just re-opened under its new name, ‘Rocks by Rail’. No one knew exactly what to expect but we were warned that the day might involve some heavy engineering, lifting and painting.
This was a quarry railway that opened in the nineteenth century and our task was to help the Museum staff carry out some maintenance on the wagons, lines, workshops and trackside. A team of stout boys was immediately formed to help with some track-laying at one end of the railway and under the supervision of Simon Layfield, one of the regular volunteers, they set about moving heavy sections of rail and concrete sleepers into position for an extension to one of the sidings. Others were given some quick training in preparing wooden and metal surfaces and managed to paint large sections of some of the wagons and an old quarry crane. Another team filled some holes in the engine shed with loose stones, so that the track could be cemented into place, others collected scrap metal from underneath some locomotives and sections of sidings, and moved most of a mountain of a felled tree to the wood store where it will be used for firing up the steam locomotives.
It was a long day and very hard work but we were lucky that the rain didn’t last long and that we all escaped without injuring ourselves. Thanks to Mrs Darwin, Mr Breag, Mr Milner, Mr Norris and Mr Slater for keeping an eye on us, and the volunteer staff at the Railway Museum for setting us up with our different tasks.