Avonside Engine Co Works No 1972 Stamford 0-6-0ST

Avonside 1972 at Stewart and Lloyds Pilton Quarry - May 1966.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1927 by the Avonside Engine  Company of Bristol for the Staveley Mineral Ltd at Pilton Ironstone Quarries in Rutland. The locomotive was built with an open backed cab to allow escape when working through the narrow three-corner tunnels at Pilton.

The Pilton system had a number of unique features including semaphore signals to protect the steeply graded and curved climb past the loco sheds to the quarries as well as a swinging bar Midland Railway shunting signal near the weighbridge office in the exchange sidings.

In its latter years Stamford was the locomotive on duty for a visit of the Industrial Railway Society and recently a number of photographs of this visit have been published.

It was purchased by a group of Bluebell Railway Locomotive Department members at the time when the Bluebell Railway only had eight locomotives and so needed an addition to the fleet. Discovered to be in worse condition than initially apparent, and with a number of other locomotives arriving in the following years, it was never used on the Bluebell Railway. At one time, during a national coal shortage, consideration was given to overhauling it and returning it to traffic as an oil-burning locomotive.

With no planned use for it on the developed Bluebell Railway it was placed on long-term loan to a the Rutland Railway Museum (now named Rocks by Rail) which is close to its original industrial working territory. The plan was that the locomotive would be restored at the Rutland Railway Museum.

The plan is to restore the locomotive at Rocks by Rail which is the living ironstone museum at Cottesmore.

In January 2021 it was disclosed that the Bluebell Railway had agreed to sell the locomotive to Rocks by Rail and the museum had started an appeal to raise funds to facilitate the purchase. A year later it was confirmed that the purchase by Rocks by Rail had been completed.

Avonside 1972 at Stewart and Lloyds Pilton Quarry - May 1966.jpg
1972 at Stewart and Lloyds Pilton Quarry – May 1966
Avonside 1972 Rocks By Rail Nov 2014.jpg
1972 at Rocks By Rail – November 2014

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