Stapleford Miniature Railway

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Stapleford Miniature Railway

Stapleford Miniature Railway is a steam locomotive-hauled 10.25" gauge ridable miniature railway at Stapleford Park at Stapleford near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.[1]

The Stapleford Miniature Railway is considered one of the finest examples of its type. It is privately owned and attracts thousands of visitors from the United Kingdom and abroad during its two public charity events each year.


The miniature railway began life in 1958 as a short line to carry visitors from the car park, to Lord Gretton's stately home. Due to its popularity, the railway was quickly expanded, running down to and then eventually around the lake in the landscaped parkland and the park which also featured a drive through lion reserve.

After the estate closed its doors to the public in 1982, the railway was mothballed. It was restored by the newly formed friends supporting group FSMR under Jennifer Gretton, Baroness Gretton's stewardship during the 1990s and opened its doors to the public again in 1995 and is now a regular feature on the steam scene calendar. The railway opens twice a year as part of steam rallies in mid June and August Bank Holiday weekends, in aid of LOROS, the local hospice.[2][3]

In October 2008 a new station was opened by Pete Waterman OBE.

On film

Avengers location plate

The SMR featured in a 1960s episode of the television show The Avengers called "The Gravediggers", where Emma Peel was tied to the railway track, before Steed rescued her just in time.[4]


The route is nearly 2 miles of running length over an extensive heavily engineered scenic line, running through the parkland and crossing the River Eye on various bridges, and includes a tunnel 260 feet long with portals called 'Box Tunnel' (west portal) and 'Primrose Tunnel' (east portal).


There is a fleet of 6 steam locomotives including two mighty 1/5 scale North American examples, a NKP Berkshire class, and NYC Niagara and a 1/4 scale East African and Harbours 31 Class added in Oct 2008.

Currently though, both the Jubilee and NKP Berkshire are out of service due to major boiler repairs, until 2014 leaving 4 steam and 1 diesel locos rostered for the 2013 events

No. Name Wheel Arr. Year built Designer Builder Outline Prototype Reference
751 John H. Gretton 4-4-2 1948 David Curwen Baydon Freelance Freelance [5]
752 - 2-8-4 1971 Richard Coleby and Neil Simkins SMR American, standard gauge New York, Chicago and St Louis Berkshire Class [6]
2943 Hampton Court 4-6-0 1939 Twining Models Ltd, Northampton British, standard gauge GWR 2900 Class [7]
3103 Uganda 2-8-4 2008 John Wilks SMR East African, metre gauge EAR 31 Class [8]
5565 Victoria 4-6-0 1975 Coleby/Simkins SMR British, standard gauge LMS Jubilee Class [9]
6019 - 4-8-4 1997 John Wilks SMR American, standard gauge New York Central Niagara Class [10]

IMechE Railway Challenge

During the summer 2012, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers held the inaugural "Railway Challenge" event at the SMR. This was aimed at university students and rail company graduates and apprentices. It was designed to expand their knowledge of railway engineering through a series of challenges, involving construction of a 10¼ in locomotive to a demanding specification. The locomotives were of hybrid design, utilising innovative energy recovery systems. For the first event in 2012 4 teams participated with teams from Manchester Metropolitan University, Birmingham University, Interfleet Technology of Derby in addition to an independent entry from Derby.The inaugural competition was won by the graduate team of Interfleet Technology, producing a Petrol-Electric locomotive of Bo-Bo construction, utilizing supercapacitors for energy storage. A similar event was run at the end of June in 2013 with 4 teams once again and was won by the University of Huddersfield, entering for their first time. The 2014 event was entered by 5 teams; Interfleet Technology, University of Huddersfield, Birmingham University, London Underground, and Sheffield University. Unfortunately Sheffield was unable to attend the competition with their loco and as such only the other 4 teams competed. This event was won by London Underground, entering for their first time.

Outside links