The Branch Line Society


Ketton Osprey Explorer
Sunday 1st July 2018

Report by William Ramsden

This fixture truly had something for everyone, ranging from those interested in haulage, complete track coverage (or both), to others just hoping to enjoy an interesting tour at an unusual location. Although track coverage was very comprehensive, the trips were enjoyable rather than exhausting, and the organisation was excellent throughout.


1959 1" map with the Ketton Cement Works branch (now rather longer than then although the quarry section is no more). Stamford is off to the right with Oakham left. Ketton & Collyweston station closed from 6 Jun 1966.

Train with BLS and PLEG headboards.
[© Kev Adlam 2018]

I travelled on the 11.30 tour, one of four which operated this day, carrying over 200 passengers in total. The trips comprised extensive tours of the rail infrastructure at Ketton Cement Works, using two brake vans provided by 'Rocks by Rail', hauled by 08580 (supplied at short notice by RSS - Railway Support Services) and 08375 (normally on site, owned by RMS Locotec); 08870 was also noted on site. All train crew were Hanson staff or Chasewater Railway volunteers - the latter is over 75 miles away.

Passengers joined the trains by either walking a short distance or by travelling on a temporary 300yd long miniature railway laid alongside part of the path. This peripatetic facility resides in Bristol with its operator and its lengthy travels provided an extra pleasure. Both walkers and miniature travellers joined the tours at a temporary platform specially constructed for the works open day the previous day (used by the visiting general public for a steam-hauled trip).

The tours all ran in hot and sunny weather but the brake van verandas provided the ideal shady and cool travelling conditions required. The 11.30 tour ran without incident aside from an 'extra go' needed to reach the end of the headshunt, and a broken coupling later in the tour which was swiftly and efficiently replaced in a safe, professional manner such that most aboard were unaware of this. The positioning of the Ketton No3 steam loco and vintage wagons alongside the silo as we passed provided additional interest and was a thoughtful touch.

Another enhancement, compared with our 2015 Ketton event, was this steam hauled peripatetic miniature railway, to the delight of the miniature men.
[© Willliam Ramsden 2018]

Another view of the steam hauled peripatetic miniature railway.
[© Willliam Ramsden 2018]

The temporary platform; specifications by Kev Adlam.
[© Willliam Ramsden 2018]

It is very pleasing to report that the tours raised over £8,000 for Hanson's nominated good causes, the beneficiaries being Evergreen Care Trust, Anna's Hope, Kiwanis (£2,500 each), while £545 was shared between the Chasewater Railway and 'Rocks by Rail'. It is also important to acknowledge Hanson's co-operation, particularly in allowing access to the site, and to thank the volunteers from Chasewater Railway and BLS for all their hard work both before and during the event.

Planning for the day started over a year ago, involving five site visits and some 50 hours of work by our member Mark Haggas, plus two visits and 20 hours of work by Kev Adlam. Mark comments that it was very stressful at times but so worth it at the end to have a full fixture and raise so much money for charity. [Participants' smiles showed their appreciation of Mark and Kev's efforts]. Of note was the absolute complete track coverage, including all sections not available on our 2015 tours, except the short stretch occupied by 08870 and a wagon. This was thanks to the extensive work kindly carried out by Hanson having the railway specially cleared of wagons. Why Ketton Osprey?... Now in the 17th year, nearby Rutland Water is home to the first Ospreys to breed in England for 150 years. Sometimes they can be spotted from a cruise on the 'Rutland Belle'. One of the classes at Ketton Church of England Primary School is 'The Osprey's. (Souvenir Ticket and trip mileage are thanks to Jim Sellens.)

Trip mileage

The very smart RSS 08580 at the very end of the Ketton branch.
[© Kev Adlam 2018]

the train in the Maintenance siding.
[© Kev Adlam 2018]

08580 with Ketton No3 steam loco
[© Kev Adlam 2018]

The 'Saturday Team', volunteers for the public steam runs on Sat 30 Jun.
[© Kev Adlam 2018]

Some local Ketton Ospreys pictured on the day of our tours by a participant.
[© Tevor Cockram 2018]

Ketton track layout with thanks to Martyn Brailsford; the continuous red (black in BLN) lines are those covered by all four of our tours - basically everything! The NR boundary (top right) is just 6ch from the Oakham - Stamford line, 2¼ miles southwest of the latter. Distances on the map are given in miles and chains and are approximate.

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