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By Anthony Coulls on

Loan check with a difference

Curator Anthony Coulls takes a trip down to the Rutland Railway Museum

At the kind invitation of Simon Layfield, I went down to the Rutland Railway Museum at Cottesmore today to see the NRM’s restored 1954 Shildon built Iron Ore Tippler wagon finally lettered and, surprise, surprise, in use for a photographic charter alongside the RRM’s own wagon fleet. Here it is, right behind the loco, Peckett works number 2000, on loan from Barrow Hill – where I saw it last week!

For those of you unfamiliar with photo charters, these are private events where photographic opportunities are made to raise money usually for the host venue. On this occasion, 3 locos were in steam, resident Bagnall 0-6-0ST “Cranford No.2”, which has an ironstone quarrying pedigree, Peckett 2000 and Hunslet Austerity No.22, Hunslet 3844 I think, just restored at Scunthorpe Steelworks and making a one day appearance on its way to the Nene Valley Railway for the summer. The United Steel Company’s Ore Mining Branch used identical locos, so the Austerity looked quite at home in the Rutland landscape. Here, the Bagnall and Peckett play to the gallery.

A bit further down the demonstration line, the Peckett performs a spirited run past for the cameras – and yes, it sounded as good as it looked.

However, it proved a little too spirited for the lineside vegetation, and the crew of the Austerity following used the slacker pipe to put out the flames. A further fire in the adjacent field was beaten out by a volunteer, photographer and myself. All part of the fun!

Having put out the fire, No.22 made a more sedate pass, looking well at home with a set of iron ore hoppers on the back.

At lunchtime, the three locos were coaled and watered in the museum yard alongside other resident steamers, making an atmospheric scene that could have dated back 50 years.

After lunch, Simon was kind enough to invite me to ride on Cranford, which translated to “drive”. Here’s the view from the cab window as we double head up the line, pulling the Peckett behind us.

Similar hospitality was then offered by Alan Freebury and Malcolm Castledine on the Peckett, suffice it to say, we pleased the photographers, but no more fires were started! The spirit of the East Midlands Ironstone industry lives on at Cottesmore, and should you wish to find a warm welcome and an alternative to the main line scene, do give them a try – you won’t regret it!

Finally, thanks again to Simon, Malcolm and Alan for their welcome on the footplate, and charter organiser Russ Hiller for patiently having me around. It’s nice to see a part of our collection so appreciated as the tippler is.

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