The successful revival of the Staplefore Miniature Railway’s 10 1/4′ gauge line near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire demonstrates just what ‘enthusiasm’ can achieve. After shrugging off some 10 years of abandonment through the late 1980s and early 90s there is plenty to be proud of today. This new programme traces the railway’s story back to 1958 when the first section of the SMR opened. Maps, archive pictures and film illustrate how this celebrated line developed over many years. Recent research has brought to light rarely glimpsed views of the past in the form of archive film including broadcast excerpts from anglia TV and the ATV Network.
Details of the locomotives that have been associated with the railway over many decades are included and No. 6019, a massive 4-8-4 New York Central Niagara Class, provides some memorable steam action. The story is brought up to date with the first public steaming of John Wilks’s new and impressive East African Railways 2-8-4 along with the opening of the new station in October 2008 by celebrity enthusiast Pete Waterman. A volunteer organisation ‘The Friends of the SMR’ helped restore the railway and today they operate the line for the pleasure of thousands of visitors each year. Open days and the sale of this DVD also support LOROS (The Leicestershire & Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering).
Of all the UK’s small railways here is a line that demonstrates it has a big heart and a great future ahead of it!