Full steam ahead for restoration of locomotives

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North Lincolnshire Council has given the green light for Crowle Peatland Railway Society to start work on building a workshop on Crowle Moors for restoring locomotives.

The planning application was approved on Friday June 30.

Axholme North ward members, Councillor John Briggs and Coun Julie Reed along with Andrew Percy MP visited Crowle Moors to see where the workshop is going to be located and had a look at the locomotives.

North Lincolnshire Council, working with the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership is helping Crowle Peatland Railway Society’s plans of restoring two diesel hydraulic locomotives become a reality.

Returning the locomotives to the moors and creating a physical link to historical peat working is a significant project for the Partnership.

This project along with 15 others form a set of projects that will be delivered by the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership, made possible by National Lottery players, thanks to funding received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. North Lincolnshire Council is also providing significant funding along with a number of partners.

For its part, the Crowle Peatland Railways Society is seeking to raise awareness of the heritage and history of the peat railways on the moors.

The locomotives, built by the Schoma Company in Germany during the latter part of the twentieth century, together with a smaller Simplex engine, will be fully restored. Throughout, the society will work with young people in the Isle of Axholme and other parts of the Landscape Partnership area to provide hands on experience and some training in engineering. People joining the society will also be trained to drive the locomotives.

The project will include building a small workshop on land at Crowle moors. This will allow members of the society to work on the locomotives and provide work experience and training opportunities. As a spin-off from the project, the society, working in conjunction with North Lincolnshire Council, hopes to see the development of an information centre for the Peatland Railway at the Crowle moors site.

The moorlands at Crowle and Thorne also form part of a National Nature Reserve, such a centre could therefore, also be used to inform visitors about the natural history (wildlife), and the industrial archaeology of the moors.

Coun Julie Reed, ward member for Axholme North said: “This is brilliant news for the project as work can now begin on building the workshops where the locomotives will be restored. It will bring the true heritage of Crowle Moors back to where it belongs and will enable the community to learn more about the area.

“Information boards and memorabilia are going to be put on display to explain the industrial journey from hand cutting the peat to the mechanised extractions. We want local people to be a major part of this and so we are asking them to share their heritage and tell us if they or their ancestors worked on the Moors.

“Throughout the project young people will be able to get involved in the restoration and get hands on experience and an insight into engineering work.”