North Lincolnshire Council, working with the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership, is helping the Crowle Peatland Railway Society to realise plans for Crowle and Thorne Moors by providing £10,000 to restore two diesel hydraulic locomotives.
Returning the locomotives to the moors and creating a physical link to historical peat working is a significant project for the Partnership. Recently the partnership received a £1.84m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Grants together with contributions such as that made by North Lincolnshire Council, will deliver a further 16 projects over the next five years. All the partnership’s projects aim to reconnect local people with their landscape and landscape heritage. 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.
Councillor John Briggs, ward member for Axholme North, said: “It is exciting times for Crowle and Thorne Moors with plans coming into fruition and developments getting underway. The site has great potential and the restoration of the trains will show its true history and heritage.
“The council has been able to invest £10,000 to support this project as it is important that communities can connect with their local landscape and cultural heritage.”
Councillor Julie Reed, ward member for Axholme North, said:
“This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to share their heritage and we ask people to come forward and tell the society if they or their ancestors worked on the Moors. Information boards and memorabilia will then be put on display to explain the industrial journey from hand cutting the peat to the mechanised extraction. Transporting the cut peat around the Moors was the job of the railway and it will be great to get it back up and running to enable visitors to experience the industrial heritage of the Moorland.
“This project is the result of a lot of time and hard work invested by the partners to bring the Moors and railway back to life. The society has received £23,000 from The SSE Keadby Grange Windfarm to purchase the Loco shed for reconditioning and repairing the engines. Young people will get the opportunity to work on the restoration project which will give them an insight into engineering work, which will be fantastic hands on experience.”