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No 38 is the Marsden Rail series takes the viewer on a journey around Britain between the years 1953 and 1967, with a rich variety of steam traction, in a traditional railway setting.
This programme opens in 1953 at Glasgow’s Eastfield MPD, home to many ex-NBR and LNER locomotives, before moving on to the West Highland Line between Craigendoran and Arrochar, with steam still in charge. Next is Ardrossan MPD, followed by a focus on the West Coast Main Line at Beattock, with film taken in 1953 showing trains both in the station and on the famous incline. After Beattock, a wide variety of steam traction is featured at Carlisle, followed by journeys on the Silloth and Alston branches, including the last steam hauled train to Alston.
The programme then moves south to the Welsh Marches and Shrewsbury, showing the town’s busy General Station and also Abbey Station, terminus of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Much of this long-closed ‘Colonel Stephens Railway’ is travelled on board a War Department Railcar in 1958. Next is Wrexham, with film of GWR, LMS and BR-designed locomotives at the town’s General Station and at Croes Newdd MPD. The third Welsh Marches location to feature is Chester, where LMS ‘Pacifics’ regularly operated and it is behind a ‘Princess’ Pacific that the programme moves on to the North Wales Coast Main Line, where ‘Duchesses’, ‘Royal Scots’ and ‘Britannias’ still handled express workings. The first location on this main line to be featured is Rhyl, followed by Abergele, from where a journey to Colwyn Bay is made on the footplate of a ‘Black 5.’ Scenes at Llandudno Junction, the branch line terminus of Llandudno, Bangor and the Menai Bridge are then covered.
At Menai Junction, the former branch line to Carnarvon diverged and a DMU cab ride from Carnarvon to Bangor is complemented by a journey through the town on a track-lifting train. Moving to the Cambrian Coast, the junction station at Morfa Mawddach, near Barmouth, is shown, followed by a return journey from Tywyn to Fairbourne which includes a visit to the Fairbourne Railway, before returning to Chester behind another ‘Princess.’
Plus Norwich, where the city’s steam locomotives were being superseded by a variety of early diesel designs, a situation mirrored at the south end of the Great Eastern Main Line in London, where both diesel and electric traction was rapidly displacing the steam locomotive. Several ex-GER steam classes, including the last ‘E4’ 2-4-0, are shown working at a variety of locations including Burnham Market, Cambridge, Liverpool Street Station and Norwich.
These final film sequences bring to a close a programme featuring a unique mixture of railway traction spanning more than half a century as steam locomotives dating from the Victorian era operated alongside first generation diesels and electric units – scenes which made the 1950s and early 1960s such a fascinating period of British railway history.
Produced by – Marsden Rail
Running time – 75 Minutes
Released – August 2017