In August 1995 a special event was held at Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray. The Country Festival was organised as a fund raising charity event on behalf of the Leicestershire Hospice. With over 30 assorted steam traction engines, steam lorries and road rollers, this magnificent occasion was a celebration of country life old and new. A generous helping of miniature steam traction engines, several mighty fair organs and even a Shand Mason horse drawn fire engine added to this great occasion! Stapleford Park is also famous for its 10 1/4′ gauge miniature railway.
The line, running from near Stapleford’s imposing house, opened under direction of the second Lord Gretton in 1958, and such was its popularity that by 1961 passenger traffic had increased to over twenty thousand passengers per year. The line’s attractive setting and engineering features include a long tunnel plus its interesting steam motive power have proved popular over many years. The Second Lord Gretton died in 1982 and the following year the gates closed and all fell silent. However, the friends of the SMR were founded in 1992 to maintain and bring the railway back to running order after the untimely death of the third Lord Gretton in 1989.
It was during his ownership that the railway and motive power were expanded and developed. A huge effort by the friends in 1995 brought about the reopening of this, one of Britain’s most splendid of miniature railways. This programme celebrates the reopening of the line and features both the renaming ceremony of the green Atlantic at Lakeside Station in September 1995 and the recommissioning of the Stapleford Tunnel. The locomotives are steamed enthusiastically around the estate’s unique railway with the sense of something really worthwhile having been achieved by all concerned.