The 1960s were to prove to be the last decade in which the steam locomotive was to be used in public service on the national railway network of Great Britain. It had held sway for virtually one and a half centuries and its charisma had created a devoted following amongst the male population of the country of its birth that amounted almost to a cult. For much of its lifetime the steam locomotive fleet’s history was recorded in print, and whilst a vast knowledge base was built up by professional and amateur historians alike very few took an opportunity to record the working scene on movie film.
Moving images of the steam locomotive are therefore rare in comparison as the professional railwayman had little need of such footage other than for publicity purposes. We are then indeed fortunate that there were such amateur movie cameramen as Richard Willis who recorded these priceless images of everyday steam in action. It is from his unique collection of 16mm film that this series of five programmes has been created.
In this programme Richard Willis takes his camera to record the last mainline steam at a variety of well-known locations. The programme starts at Waterloo; terminus for the West of England main line to Salisbury and Exeter and the Bournemouth and Weymouth main lines. Including lineside locations at Weybridge, Chertsey, Brookwood, Pirbright Junc, Cove, Fleet, Farnborough, Overton, Salisbury, Brockenhurst, Hinton Admiral, Bournemouth, Other last main lines include scenes at Leicester, Derby, Banbury, and York before a final part of the programme looks at the West Coast Main Line with scenes in the Lune Gorge, at Grayrigg, Tebay, Scout Green and Carlisle.
EACH PROGRAMME HAS BEEN MADE FROM ORIGINAL 16MM ARCHIVE FILM, DIGITALLY REMASTERED, RESCRIPTED AND PROFESSIONALLY REDUBBED IN 2004. 100% SOUND EFFECTS THROUGHOUT FROM PETER HANDFORD’S UNIQUE ARCHIVE.