Charnwood Forest Garden Railway

We're more than just a railway....

Running Saturdays, Sundays and Bank holidays throughout the year.

Proud Supporters of the GCR Model Show

War Weekend - 8th & 9th June

Please note that the garden railway will be operating during this years war weekend. The area around the garden railway and Ellis' will be clear at 2.45 however to the battle can commence in the car park at 3.15.

We shall not be open on Friday 7th June - the schools WWII education day, sorry for any disappointment!

Restricted Access W/C 8th April

Even though the CFR does not operate in the week, some people still like to visit and see the layout without the trains running. Please note that the week commencing 8th April, Rothley station car park will be have work done to improve drainage and there will be restricted access to the site. Everything should return to normal for the following weekend! For more information please visit the GCR's website.

British Summertime

Now the clocks have changed, the CFR will be running until 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Spring Steam Gala - Not long to go!!

Our Spring gala is almost upon us and touch wood, we might get a bit of sun for the event! All the plans are coming together so take a look at our events page for all the information!!  EVENTS PAGE

Easter Opening

The Charnwood Forest Garden Railway will be open Good Friday (29th), Saturday 30th, Easter Sunday (31st) and Easter Monday (1st). We shall be running a mixture of electric and Live Steam powered trains on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Easter Monday we will hold our annual Live Steam Spring Gala with visiting engines from Pine Tree Junction.

It is highly unlikely that we shall be open the GCR mid-week running days (Tue/Wed/Thur) before and after the Easter Weekend.

Kid's Half Term (Monday 11th - Friday 15th Feb)

Please note that the CFR will NOT be open, running or operating this week. There will be trains running on the GCR Tue/Wed/Thur with kid's activities at Quorn. We will be open as normal 9th/10th Feb and 16th/17th Feb.

Christmas Running - Throughout December

The CFR will be open every weekend through December like normal however; a small amount of stock will be running on these days. We are working on several aspects of the railway and this means we are unable to run as many trains as we would normally. We thank you for your patience and support. We'd also like to take this opportunity to wish all our visitors from the past 12 months a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year, your support has ensured we are able to continue entertaining visitors to the railway for another 12 months!

Autumn Update - 19/11/12

Where has the summer gone? A lot has been happening at the CFR, so much that we haven’t had time to report it!! One major job that has been tackled this summer by Sam and me is the re-cementing of the granite walls on the bank around the Castle and Priory village. It is quite a task balancing on a steep bank with a bucket of cement being pushed into the bank by your knee, a trowel in one hand and a brush in the other whilst trying to dodge models. Still we got the task done and although you can’t really see much of a difference, it has secured the bank for at least another year. Several buildings have had some work done to them and this includes new lighting and repainting. There are lots of other jobs that need to be done over the other side of the layout but perhaps they are for next year now!

Over the summer we also had to do some track repairs on the inside track near the viaduct. This resulted in us having to life the level crossing on one track to repair the faulty rail (Which has probably been in for 12 years!) When we were at it, rather than bodging the crossing we decided it would be best to completely relay it. It did take a few weeks to get the right weather for doing this but it has now been completed. It looks very nice (even if I say so myself) and the crossing gates have been replaced with British outline style. This looks a little odd when you have a 20 car Union Pacific rolling over it but looks great with the Live Steam engines.

On the Subject of Live Steam the fleet has seen a lot of use this year and with very little faults or issues. Balham has had its long awaited new coat of paint and has now gone from green to black.  It looks very smart! Steve has had his Peveril and it is working well even though they have had a few problems with it, these include gas jet issues and steam leaks. These have now been resolved and there is another very good little engine running on the line. The Earl is also fairly new and is getting up to steam very well after a few of the Accucraft issue that all engines come with! All the Roundhouse engines are working very well and this year we have had two new drivers on the team to help take the strain of the regular drivers. You wouldn’t believe how trying it can be driving a Live Steam model, It take a little more concentration then an electric!

One thing that we have done a lot of this year is Family events! From the Middle of July until the end of August the GCR was packed with them and that means we have to get out Thomas stock out for drive a train to keep the little ones happy. Sadly we had a few issues this year, Thomas did have to have a complete rewire on the R/C system and needed a new TX/RX and speed controller and Percy needed a new set of rechargeable batteries. Emily should be with us soon (keep your eyes open for a video) and should help reduce the load on the other engines next year. All these family events are fine for us to cope with at weekends as we are there normally, it is when we have events Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 3 weeks we start to have an issue. Clearly most of our team are at work and it is left to us young ones who have school holidays to open. I was there all 9 days of teddy bears picnics and it does take the fun out of the hobby by the end of the third week as it is slowly turning in to more of a job but still, seeing all the happy children is good for the soul – So I’m told anyway!

The family events did mean that we didn’t get all the jobs dome that we wanted to. For example, the fence was in desperate need of a repaint but with all the family events we didn’t have time to do it there wasn’t enough time for all the paint to dry and be open for little fingers to touch. When there was time, the weather was against us then it was too late for us to do anything as we were all back a school and we simply can’t do this a weekends as we would have to close the layout and there would be several complaints. So sorry guys, you’ll just have to look at a bad fence for another year! Another project that was put on hold was the terraced house backs. As I spend most of my free time opening the CFR, I didn’t get much time to do the buildings. They 5 are pretty much finished and just need lights fitting, the other 4 are constructed and just need the brick sheets cutting, painting and fitting then they will be in the same place as the other 5. They should be in situ for spring and then next year we shall tackle the area known as the Holt creating a proper village scene. Then we just have the Priory village to tidy up, possibly replace the vehicles and do some work on the buildings.

The never ending list of jobs just keeps getting bigger! Another thing we must keep in mind is the imminent arrive of the new shed – That’ll need painting too. Oh joy! Until next time (and hopefully that won’t be as long as this update took to come out!)....

Spring Update  -  14/06/12

Well, so much has been happening over the past few months I don't know where to start! Lady Vandeleur, Sir Hanney, Leek & Manifold and Tracey have all been fitted with summerlands chuffers which really makes a difference, you can hear them before you see them now! The L&M has had a few problems but one by one they are being ironed out and the engine is become more and more reliable which is fantastic as it has proven very popular with members and visitors alike. The Accucraft feet have seen little action over the past 3 months but we might see a bit more of them in the summer.

Moving away from the 16mm Live Steam engines, the Mamod and Wilesco fleet is ever growing with some 30 engines now in action. Again, they have proven very popular with the public bringing back lots of fond memories for some! I hope to add some more videos and photos of these to the site over the coming weeks when (hopefully) I have some more time!

The CFR has purchased some Terraced back house kits from Jackson's Miniatures. One has been build and there are another 8 to be done. Hopefully they will be built and on the layout by August though we have not totally decided where they are going yet. The original plan was to place them next to the Ellis TeaRoom store room where the castle is at the moment but they might get relocated to the side of the Ellis TeaRoom should we feel they would look better there, we'll just have to wait and what they are like when they are built. A picture of the first building is below.

Another development is that our new shed is on order and touch wood (See what I did there), it should be with us this Autumn. Our YouTube channel is still going strong with 1,474,000. We haven't done much filming recently but have some nice stuff lined up for the summer for you all to enjoy and this year’s summer special is one you don't want to miss....! Until next time!



March Updates

We are only a few weeks into March but lots of things have already happened. The first bit of new is that our YouTube channel has reached an amazing milestone, 1,000,000 Total upload views. That's quite some going as we have only been on YouTube for two years and whichever way you look at it, we're only a garden railway...! Lots happening with the Live Steam locos, Lady Vandeleur, Sir Hanney and Tracey have all been fitted with Summerlands Chuffers. See if you can hear them next time you are down. This weekend we have just hosted our first major family event of the year and it has proven to be a fantastic success. With last minute problems at Quorn, the fun fair had to be moved to Rothley which automatically brought up the number of people for a kick off. All these extra people meant we had a steady flow on Drive a Train both days and a good crowd watching. Sadly we did have a few problems with James on the Sunday so a bit of work will need to be done on him before we get him running again. A time-lapse video of just 40 minutes compressed into 3 shows the amount of people coming and going in less than an hour (Link below). Next up the mining line. The tunnel has had its roof this week so expect a video coming up very soon. It should be another fantastic addition to the railway and has already proven very popular. Lastly our spring steam gala. We have decided to dedicate it to 30 years of Roundhouse. At the moment, the line up of locos is still to be confirmed but Saturday will see the Pine Tree Junction fleet returning for their first visit this year. So much is happening, I'm sure I've missed something! Till next time....

February News

Lots happening at the CFR this month, where to start! The new mining line is coming nicely, Tony has been working really hard and putting extra hours in during the week to get the project moving. All that is left now is to concrete the tunnel months in and create a roof for it, add some more ballast and that should be it. We have already ran a few trains up it but for live steam the drive needs to be on the ball otherwise you will get stuck half way in the middle! Other news, our young Brett should be getting his first loco later this month, a accucraft baguley convert to battery power and Radio controlled. The CFR's Youtube channel turned 2 years old yesterday which is great. We have over 900,000 view and 326 subscribers. I'm sure there is lots more which I have forgot about but that can wait until another day. Keep checking back for all the latest here!

All Happening!

Well as we roll into 2012, there is a lot happening at the CFR. Firstly the CFR Live Steam fleet has grown over the last month with the additions of 3 new locos. The Leek and Manifold, Russell and Earl are all on YouTube for you to enjoy and will see lots more service in the coming months. A new mining line is also in the process of being added, the foundations have been dug and bit by bit the line starts to take more shape. Look out for first pictures coming soon. The line should be inaction for the Spring Gala, which the data is still to be confirmed. Lots more happening so that's all for now but keep checking back for more information soon!

The News

We have a new steam engine arriving in a few weeks but what will it be? you'll just have to wait and see!

What's New? November.

So much has been happening it is hard to keep track! Sunday (30th Oct) saw the last drive a train for this year. It wasn't as madly busy as other events but we still make some more funds so was definatly worth doing. James has now been fitted with 2 7.2 volt batteries to help it run faster and longer than before. This seems to have worked so Well Done Tony for fixing it! Since the Gala not much has happened on the live steam front however as we go into the winter season the chances are they will get used a little more. Leaves falling from the tree always cause a bother this time of year so trains are a little thin on the layout but that doesn't mean we can't still put on a good show! I hope to give some of my steam locos an outing this weekend, expect my Frank S, Corpet and Steam tram on Saturday. Thomas' SnowPlough touched down at the CFR two weeks ago and there was even a video to got with it! Click here to watch the video. Other CFRailway Video news, This week we have hit a whopping 400,000+ views, This is just fantastic when you think about it. With a bit of luck it will be 500,000 by Christmas. Lots lined up including a remberance video, a new station and lots of christmas video to get you in the spirit! I'd like to take this moment to tank the whole CFR Team for pulling together and working through another wonderful summer season. If you are a Friends of the Great Central Main Line who recives Main Line magazine, look out for an artical from us coming up soon! With so many videos on our YouTube Channel, I have desided that we should have a CFRailway page on the CFR website to let you know what to expect, future videos, developments and ideas. Be sure to check it out! The Funds for the shed are coming on nicely and should be to long now, fingers crossed! Thanks for reading and until next week....

Steam Event in Review

 Though things didn't go the plan at the start of the day we managed to pull it round and overall a great day was had by all, is there really anything the picture below doesn't say?

Europa Has Returned to Steam!!

...and just in time for the steam gala. Video now up in video area!

This Weekend  -  1-2/10/11

This weekend we have been doing our ever popular 'Driver Thomas Percy or James' for the GCR's Peppa pig event. It all got off to a great start on Saturday morning when James wouldn't charge so had to be failed. Tony is now working on a repair for the loco. Other than that it was a good weekend. This weekend we have our steam gala coming up so it is all systems go to try and get everything really for our 20 loco strong fleet. All the information about the gala is on the CFR events page. Until next week....

This Weekend  -  17-18/9/11

Well, the boss was away but still the railway stands after having been run by all under 16's all weekend. We had a mini steam gala that was great fun and an excellent range of locos in steam over the two days. We had the TPO set out and the forester observation which ran a treat from the first time in a year that we have had it. 2 Videos were filmed this weekend and are now up on YouTube, follow the link to your channel from the video page. Europa has seen the light of day again as it is making it big come back on the 9th October if we get her running in time. She got a coat of black paint on the smoke box and surrounding areas and she’s really looking quite good now. Balham has also had some touching up. 3 weeks to the steam gala, everything is go. In other news we have some more gold fish in our pond so it will be easier to spot one when you are looking! Until next week....

This Weekend  -  10-11/9/11

One TPO coach finished. One Forester Observation rebuilt (again!). One track bed leveled. One Lyn re gauged. One video series finished. One good weekend. A live steam weekend coming up this weekend. On CFRailway the outtakes from Thomas and the forgotten land will be uploaded. Until next week.....

This Weekend  -  27-29/8/11

We have been VERY VERY busy over the bank holiday weekend as we have been running our drive a train for the children to have a go at the GCR's Postman Pat event. This has help a lot to the CFR shed fund and we are getting ever closer, but we still need more money to reach our target. We now have a online Donate system which you can securely donate as much or as little to the running of the CFR. Back to the Postman Pat weekend however, Thomas has been the most reliable followed but Percy. We are still having some problems with James running out before the other engines but Tony worked out why this was happening on Saturday when he discovered that James has a larger motor than the others. We hope to solve this by adding more batteries. We NEED Bachmann to bring out another engine so we can run DAT with two running, 2 on charge for 1 hour then swap round through the day. The website has had another record amount of views this month with more than 300 different viewers. Same for CFRailway as we have had over 4,000 view on TTT : OSC this week alone! We are almost at 60,000! Service will resume as normal on Saturday with a anything goes day then Live steam on Sunday. It is a large steam show on Saturday that several of our team are going to so expect some new toys out and about on Sunday also. Until next week........

This Weekend  -  20-21/8/11

Firstly, Sorry for no 'This weekend' last week as it was a very quite week and nothing to report! The new Bachmann Lyn has arrived as has been working all weekend. Running with the Thomas range Emily coaches this loco has proven to be very reliable and no problems to report. Sam has also been spending this week and bought a new BR80. After having fixed the pin which dropped out resulting in the rods falling off and oiling all the motion the loco can pull a good load at a smooth steady speed. In less related CFR news, by the end of this week the 5 benches in the garden area of the station will be finished and ready for use after a long over due make-over done by the CFR team. More new on the new shed. We have spotted a shed that will fit in nicely at a very reasonable price, watch this space. The Bank holiday weekend is getting ever closer and we are preparing for the drive a train rush should the weather be on our side. Thomas, Percy and James will be on drive a train and they expect to be busy! When we are on the topic of Thomas and friends there Summer Special video has got off the a great start! With the first few parts expecting to hit 1,000 view by the end of the week, at this rate they will take over from Thomas the Tank : Old Slow coach at 56,000 views! All our videos can be found on our YouTube channel, CFRailway. Until next week....

This Weekend  -  6-7/8/11

The CFR has had a great 2 weeks of running drive Thomas and Percy and a nice amount of money has came in to cover the coast of the new buys. All the money made from the next event, which is going to be even better now James has joined the drive a train fleet, will go towards the new shed fund to replace the current storage shed. This will be the August B/H at the end of the month. We had the first of this year’s 2 late night running on Saturday just gone. This was a staff event and a great night was had by all, the CFR had 3 locos in steam. Lady Vandeleur, Tracey and Balham. This was a rare chance to see Balham working now that she only runs on special occasions. Tracey was returned to service for this evening after having new 'O' rings fitted to the steam whistle valve. There was lots of steam, lots of whistle, lots of trains. See the video at the bottom of this article. Sunday saw only Lady Vandelour in service doing 5 afternoon runs split between myself and Ken. Going forward to this week and CFRailway news, we will be filming our summer special on Tuesday and Friday and filming off site on Thursday. Because of this we are closed to public on the 9th & 12th, sorry for any inconvenience. Until next week.........

Drive Thomas and Friends      JUST  £2 for 5 Minutes!

That right, Drive a Train is back but there has been some changes! Rather than driving playmobil, YOU can drive Thomas, Percy and James R/C from out side. It will only be on certain days too, it will be indicated on the 'Running this weekend...' part of the side bar marked 'DAT '. If 'DAT ' is not shown next to the day, we will not be running drive a train on that day. I'm sure all the young ones will love it as much as they did 5 years ago! For more infomation click here.

This Weekend  -  30-31/7/11

This weekend’s big news is the return of the Cable cars, they have been out of action for some time now and after some head scratching, we are now up and running again. This is another great attraction to see at the CFR and now when someone says, “Ask the man if the cable cars work” we can say yes. Thanks to Tony for doing the work on them to get them running once again. Other news, James is going to be sent off the Tony's workshop to be converted to battery like Thomas and Percy; this will now give us 3 engine to use on drive a train when it gets busy! Another thing fixed is our Track cleaner, this will make life a lot easier than doing it by hand. The CFR now has the technology! The railway will be running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week for teddy bears picnic, plus we will be running our drive Thomas or Percy system on these days. See the Events page for all the info. CFR is will be closed to the public on Monday 8th and Friday the 12th of August for filming. Lets see what we can fix this week.


This Weekend  -  23-24/7/11

The new drive a train Thomas and Percy have been put to the test this weekend running up and down the rack line as well as the main line pulling small and long loads to see if they are good enough to use on DAT. The simple answer is yes! They will see their first drivers at 11.00am this Tuesday. Your chance to drive these locos will be on Tue/Wed/Thu this week and the week after, the August Bank holiday weekend and the first weekend in October then they won't be seen until next year. Other things happening on Permanent way this week is the relaying of the track on the centre road of St. Bernard’s station, after being relay a few time before we think we have it right this time. There is now a nice smooth run through the middle track. The bend on the inner loop near the pond has also been taken up and re greased and put back together as this has been causing several problems over the last few months since the cold winter we have just had. Again the bend by the side of the tea room has also been relayed. There was a good 1cm gap in the track derailing anything doing wrong way running. A piece of rail has been removed so the joints in the track sit tighter. A section of rail on the rack has also been removed to solve the problem of thing falling off the track after a large piece of granite had fell on it. This coming week we have the teddy bears picnic so a rare chance to see the railway running mid week. On the film front a short is to be filmed on Monday and on Friday we may start shooting the summer special but this is still to be confirmed. Both of these day expect the railway to be chained off to the public. Thanks for reading and until next week!!

This Weekend  -  16-17/7/11

Well what a wet weekend, this did not stop play however! The CFR ran the Thomas and Friends collection both days as we are testing it for our mid week running on the last week of July and first week of August. All the new stock is running fantastically and we are so pleased with it, we are wondering what we should buy next to grow our fleet size. As it stands we have Annie, Clarabelle and one of each of the green coaches. Goods we have 4X troublesome trucks, 2X green wagons, 2X Brown wagons and one of each of the tankers. We want to buy several more tankers alongside some wagons and 2 more green coaches. We simply can't wait for Bachmann to bring out more to we can grow our fleet. Still on Thomas, this week has seen the replacement of our current Thomas and Percy for two brand new ones. Why I hear you ask? As you may have seen on our website we are updating our drive a train system. Rather than using Playmobil we are now going to use Thomas and Percy. To do this we have had to convert them to battery and radio control so they can be controlled out on the layout and without using mains electrically. Both locos have 10 AA batteries locked up in there boilers to give enough voltage to get up enough speed and enough pulling power without children being able to crash them. These engines will give us around 2hrs battery life and can be switched between Track and battery power. When we do drive a train in the future we will be doing it in 3 1 hour blocks. (E.g 11.00 - 12.00 / 13.00 - 14.00 / 15.00 - 16.00) These hour gaps will allow us to re charge the units so they will last longer. Having battery powered units also opens things to do. It’s also a great help for filming, as we can control them out on the layout. For all the latest on drive a train, visit our website and go to the DAT page. We have several new videos lined up as well as our summer special which will be filmed over the next few weeks, so keep looking out for that. P way will be working on the track this week, the new stretch through the centre road of the station still isn't quite right so we are going to fix it properly this week. Some other track joints are becoming loose so they will also be attended to. The CFR's little kids train set has seen better days and has now been replaced with a wooden box of playmobil goodies for the kids to play with when we fit the train board. Finally, make sure you watch top gear tonight as it is the episode that was filmed at the Great Central Railway and just a quick warning, senses of caravan explosions maybe included!! Thanks for reading and until next week.



James has arrived

The CFR's brand new James has arrived. See it running at the CFR this summer and expect to see it in some of our new videos!!

Teddy Bears Picnic

A School holiday special.....Click here for all the info

Steam Gala - Review

The CFR held it's first large steam gala on the 28th, 29th & 30th of May. A great time was had by all and we look forward to our next large steam gala. A special thanks to all that made it possible and a big thank you to Lindsay from Pine Tree Junction for bringing his 3 Live steam engines. We look forward to the next time when he may have 4!! Click on the picture below for a Video of the weekends activities!


New Station Layout

The Permanent way team have been at it again. St Bernard's station has had some work done on it. The near and far bays have been connected together making any other through station. We are pretty pleased how it has turned out and makes life easier when we run live steam. Building have been moved to the back of the station and it gives St. Bernard's a whole new feel.

Picture to follow.... 

Family Fun Weekend at the CFR   21st & 22nd May 2011

Thomas, Percy and James will be working along side Ivor the Engine to make a fun filled weekend for children visiting the GCR's Fireman Sam weekend! The 21st and 22nd is sure to be a fun weekend! Take a look in the 'Video' area to see Thomas running at the CFR on 13th Feb 2010! Weather permitting the CFR hopes to run our DRIVE A TRAIN - £1 for 5 minutes again on this event for something else for the kids to do at Rothley.


End of the Line

The CFR's First big Steam video will be uploaded to youtube over the next few weeks starting Friday 22nd April.

Family Fun Event - Review

The weekend of 5th & 6th March, Great Central Railways Peppa Pig weekend, was a big hit. Drive a train had 45 minute Q's a one stage. I don't think any had even thought that it would be that buzy but it certainly was. A very nice time was had by all the kids that took part and all the feed back we had was possitive! Thats good enough for me. We will be running Drive a Train over Easter so keep looking iut for more info!


CFRailway, our YouTube Channel has been uploading videos of the line for the last year. Now with 34 videos, do you think we can make 100 for this time next year?

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