Bid is launched to create ironstone wagon train at Northamptonshire line
THE Northampton & Lamport Railway has become the latest heritage line to launch a scheme to assemble a rake of freight wagons as an added attraction for special events.
The aim of the new Ironstone Train Project is to assemble an authentic rake of iron ore tippler wagons that were once commonplace in Northamptonshire.
The county has a long history of ironstone quarrying and these wagons are synonymous with the history of the Northampton to Market Harborough line, which the NLR is working to partially restore.
The line was not only a frequent route for ironstone trains passing through the county, but it also had several ironstone quarries along its route, including Pitsford Quarry, which in closed 1965, and where the exchange sidings are preserved as part of the NLR.
The aim is to recreate the scene of mineral wagons being shunted in Pitsford Sidings, as would have been a daily occurrence between 1925 and 1965.
Rake of six
It is intended to create a rake of at least six grey iron ore tippler wagons, the type most common on the route in the 1950s and 1960s.
The NLR currently has three BR tipplers at the railway and an agreement to bring in three more on long-term loan, and would be very interested to acquire more.
The Ironstone Train will be used on demonstration goods trains during special events and will also be available for photographic charters.
The project also includes the creation of supporting educational and interpretive information to boost the public’s understanding and appreciation of the locality’s ironstone quarrying.
The NLR is following other heritage railways that have successfully recreated freight trains, notably the Great Railway with its ‘Windcutter’ rake of 16-ton mineral wagons and rake of BR box vans, the Welsh narrow gauge lines with their slate trains, and more recently the Chasewater Railway, which is assembling a set of BR Merry-go-Round hopper wagons (see separate story) and the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, where a rake of China clay hood wagons is being restored. The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Heritage Trust has acquired a pair of 16-ton mineral wagons to recreate a typical S&D freight train.
➜ The NLR is hoping to raise £9000 to restore the three tippler wagons already at the line and to assist with the cost of transport and restoration for the three additional wagons arranged so far.
A dedicated online fundraising page has been set up at https:// gofund.me/72819638
Donations can also be made by post to: Ironstone Train Project, Northampton & Lamport Railway, Pitsford and Brampton Station, Pitsford Road, Chapel Brampton NN6 8BA.
A range of incentives are being offered to donors. Those who give at least £150 will get a year’s free NLR membership, a free family ticket to any event excluding Santa specials, and a brake van ride on the Ironstone Train.
If you donate at least £250, you will also get a footplate ride on the Ironstone Train. For those who give £500 or more, they will get a driver experience season on the train.