One of the two remaining locomotives which worked in the once thriving iron ore industry on the outskirts of the Vale Of Belvoir may be restored as a steam train if fundraisers can generate enough money.
Members of Eastwell History Group have brought the Lord Granby engine back home from a Leeds museum where it was being exhibited.
Work has started to restore the locomotive as either a static exhibit, a static exhibit capable of steaming or a fully working steam train.
The group wants to display it as a symbol from the time when Eastwell was a major centre of iron ore quarrying from 1880 to 1960.
Honorary secretary John Wood said: “We could restore the train as a static exhibit in the next two to three years but it will take longer to get it to steam and for it run as well it will cost about £150,000.
“We have an arrangement with Eastwell Village Hall which is being rebuilt with space reserved for a heritage centre. We could exhibit it there but we couldn’t steam it and it would be impossible then to run it.
“If we are able to run it as a steam locomotive there are plenty of places where the old track formation still exists and we can lay our hands on a limited quantity of rail.”
The Lord Granby operated on a network of narrow-gauge mineral railways around Eastwell and the neighbouring villages of Goadby Marwood, Eaton and Branston between 1902 and 1960. The iron ore was ferried from the quarries to the main line railway system en route to ironworks in Derbyshire.
Mr Wood said: “This area was heavily industrialised up until 1960. The iron ore industry employed a lot of men - it was the only alternative employment to working on the land for many. It all stopped because of better quality imports coming in to the country from Scandinavia.”
The locomotive is now at a workshop at Dove Cottage in Stathern. It is being dismantled with the whole of the cab, braking system, pistons and connecting rods and other parts from the frame and boiler all removed to date.
Labour is being given freely for the engineering works but money is being raised via the Lord Granby 100 Club, where supporters buy one or more shares at £5 per month per share. A quarter of the income is given as cash prizes in monthly draws with the remainder being used to restore the locomotive.
To support the project via the Lord Granby 100 Club, email 100Club@lordgranbyrail.org.uk or call Mr Wood on 01949 861836.