10½" gauge miniature railway
Stapleford Steam
14 June 2003  
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The 10½" gauge miniature railway at Stapleford Park, near Melton Mowbray, was constructed in the late 1950s, on the basis that it would add to the attractions of the house, then open to the public. However, the death of its original owner marked the beginning of a thirteen-year spell when the railway was out of action. The full story is told on the excellent FSMR web site  - suffice it to say that, a couple of times a year, this magnificent line is opened to the public, with all proceeds going to charity. "Stapleford Steam 2003" took place on the 14th and 15th June, and we duly made the journey across country to have a look. The total length of the line, out and back around a balloon loop, is about two miles, making it one of the longest miniature lines in the UK. From the terminus, the line drops gradually through reverse curves and a "real" tunnel to the substantial lake, around which the loop takes passengers on a scenic journey through attractive woodland, past flocks of Canada geese. The fleet of five steam locomotives consists of:
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
New York Chicago and St Louis Berkshire class 2-8-4 no 752 New York Central Niagara class 4-8-4 no 6019 GWR Saint class 4-6-0 no 2943 "Hampton Court" LMS Jubilee class 4-6-0 no 5565 "Victoria" Curwen green Atlantic no 751 "John H Gretton" The first two mentioned are truly immense locomotives, and seemed to have little trouble with the long rakes of bogie stock used on the line. The two UK-prototype locomotives, quite a bit smaller by comparison, made for an attractive (if unusual) double-headed pairing. The "atlantic", somewhere in-between,  seemed to cope just as well as its bigger brothers. As well as the railway, the event attracts a substantial display of transport and other interest, ranging from traction engines and vintage vehicles to side shows, a hog-roast and (to my companions' delight) a beer tent. We had a most enjoyable time at Stapleford - check out the dates for future events on the FSMR website - and make a note in your diary for a great day out. Unlike some railway jaunts, this is really one for the whole family. Link: The Stapleford Miniature Railway
Out on the line - Saint and Jubilee No 751 nears the end of its run No 751"John H Gretton" Leaving the tunnel - Saint and Jubilee Dropping down from the tunnel - no 752 "Other attractions" 6019 at the terminus Taking water - Saint and Jubilee 6019 - miniature super-power 6019 approaches the lake Lakeside steam The Saint and the Jubilee on the bank from the lake