Stapleford Miniature Railway Open Weekend – August 2017

I’ve been meaning to post a few photographs from this event for some time as a follow-up to the 1974 cine film I wrote about earlier this year. The railway is currently open to the public on a couple of occasions each year in June and August, with profits going to the Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice (LOROS). It’s maintained in fantastic condition by a dedicated army of volunteers known as the Friends of Stapleford Miniature Railway. For once, the August Bank Holiday weather was beautiful.

Stapleford Hall
Stapleford Hall – Car parking for the open weekend was in a field in front of the hotel – which was somewhat challenging terrain for my Caterham!
Queue for the trains
The queue after I’d been on the train – it paid to get there early.
Sir Nigel Gresley
A4 Pacific Sir Nigel Gresley and Southern Railway 4-6-0 Lord Nelson, both visiting from the Eastleigh Lakeside Railway.
White Heron
Diesel Locomotive White Heron. This can also be seen in action on my 1974 cine film of the railway.

As well as the miniature railway there were exhibits of classic cars, stationary engines, fairground organs and miniature steam engines. All told it was an enjoyable morning spent re-living a part of my childhood.

Stapleford Miniature Railway in August 2017 from Tim Holyoake on Vimeo.

Stapleford Park and Miniature Railway: September 1974

In 1974, Stapleford Hall near Melton Mowbray was home to the 2nd Lord Gretton and his family. The park was at its peak as a tourist attraction, with the grounds containing a lion reserve, miniature railway and two scale model cruise liners.

The Derbyshire Caravan Club centre held a rally there that September. I’ve recently digitised a short sequence of cine film that shows the railway and ships in operation during that weekend.

White Heron LocomotiveThe White Heron arriving into the station, delivering its passengers to the model cruise liners.

LighthouseThe lake had a working lighthouse.

Northern StarThe Northern Star setting sail for a cruise of the lake.

Victoria LocomotiveThis would appear to be ‘Victoria’, a model of a LMS Jubilee class locomotive. However, the FSMR website suggests that it didn’t enter service at Stapleford Park until 1975 … and this film was definitely shot in September 1974. Commissioning tests, perhaps?

Automatic barrierThe train-operated automatic level crossing.

Stapleford Park Plaque - September 1974The caravan club plaque recording the event.

The complete cine film sequence.

Today, the hall is a hotel, the lion reserve is long gone and the scale model cruise liners are no more. However, the miniature railway is miraculously intact and is open to the public twice a year. In 2017 these events are scheduled for 10th & 11th June and the long bank holiday weekend at the end of August.