Loose coupled freight trains with their distinctive clatter and the daily local ‘pick up’ freight train, are now sadly a thing of the past – at least as far as British Rail is concerned. However, there is one complete railway system which still handles huge amounts of traffic in this traditional manner:- the Bicester Military Railway.
This unique video gives a rare and privileged insight into the day to day operations of one of the country’s largest industrial railways. The fascinating and busy Central Ordnance Depot, which is not generally open to the public, still uses an extensive standard gauge railway for the vast majority of it’s internal movements between the various storehouses.
Each day sees an enormous amount of individual movements and marshalling operations. As well as internal traffic flows, featuring many unique and interesting wagon variants no longer found on main line systems, the railway also handles significant amounts of main line traffic through it’s connection to British Rail.
This superbly made programme also deals with MOD main line traffic since the demise of Speedlink and there’s a visit to the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley, Yorkshire, to look at some other unusual relics used by both MOD and the Army. Not forgetting a close look at the immaculate locomotive fleet at Bicester, a cab ride around the extensive site, and a close look at marshalling operations featuring loose shunting and ‘pick up’ freights.
This exciting programme allows the viewer to explore all aspects of Britain’s biggest military railway, which was originally built during 1941. Also included are many interesting interviews, not least, the reminiscences of Ernest Lawton, co-author of the recently published book about the railway, who was a driver at the Bicester Military Railway during the Second World War.
This video is an essential companion to Earnest Lawton’s fascinating historical book and is certain to please anyone with an interest in Britain’s military railways.