By Stuart Chapman
Many of the world’s theme parks and zoos feature miniature or narrow gauge railways. Thousands of visitors each year will photograph and ride on these, but while extremely popular with the general public these railways get little attention from the enthusiast community or railway press.
Yet in a quiet rural corner of Leicester a small private railway has restored two very different theme park locomotives.
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The origins of the 2ft gauge Greenlea Light Railway go back to 1997 with the purchase of track, coaches, and two locomotives from the North Warwickshire Railway Society.
The fleet consisted of two Motor-Rail Simplex locomotives, one of which, No. 5881 was retained. Built in 1935, it was overhauled and named Goliath and is currently the only industrial locomotive operating at the railway.
Originally located at another site, the railway moved to its current location in October 1998.
The railway consists of a terminus station near the entrance drive with a run-round loop, then a large sweep past a large two-road locomotive shed (a former chicken house) and round the corner of a paddock, followed by a balloon loop with another station in a small wood. It gives passengers an out and back run of just over a third of a mile in comfortable covered coaches.
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