Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

A unique Great Western Rail­way lo­co­mo­tive could be locked away from pub­lic view un­der plans to re­de­velop the for­mer Snibston Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre. The mu­seum in Coalville, Le­ices­ter­shire, closed in 2015 de­spite strong op­po­si­tion, and the ma­jor­ity of its rail­way items, in­clud­ing unique ex‑GWR Brush 0‑4‑0ST No. 921, have been in­ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic since. The cur­rent re­de­vel­op­ment scheme, now un­der re­view, in­cludes the build­ing of 140 homes on the site. All of the rail­way ex­hibits on site would be fenced off or even locked away, and there would be no pub­lic ac­cess. The pro­pos­als by Con­ser­va­tive‑ run Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil also in­cluded plans to turn the pre­served sec­tion of Snibston Col­liery’s rail­way into a foot­path. The rail­way and the col­liery had strong links to Ge­orge and Robert Stephen­son. It was re­built less than 20 years ago and op­er­ated reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger rides with diesel mo­tive power, as well as host­ing oc­ca­sional steam‑worked pho­to­graphic events. The track has al­ready been ripped up and the car­riage, used for pas­sen­ger rides, is to be re­moved, ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion. Within Snibston Col­liery, it­self a Sched­uled An­cient Mon­u­ment, the sub­mit­ted plans in­clude very limited pub­lic ac­cess to any of the sur­viv­ing min­ing or rail­way‑re­lated build­ings or items. At the time of Snibston Dis­cov­ery Mu­seum’s clo­sure in sum­mer 2015, a smaller min­ing mu­seum that would have fo­cused on the col­liery build­ings was due to be de­vel­oped, but this plan was aban­doned in early 2016. Un­der the sub­mit­ted plans, sur­viv­ing track and rolling stock within the col­liery yard would be fenced off with no ac­cess. The lo­co­mo­tives would be locked in­side the en­gine shed and only be vis­i­ble through re­in­stated win­dows. The shed, built in 1831, was one of a num­ber of Snibston build­ings given Grade II list­ing by His­toric Eng­land in Fe­bru­ary. Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil told Steam Rail­way that an up­dated plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion is due to be sub­mit­ted in March for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion, ahead of a de­ci­sion in spring or sum­mer. It is not yet clear if the re­vised plan will mean im­proved pub­lic ac­cess for the rail­way items.

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