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 final programme of the Richard Willis collection we discover once more how he was keen to record what at the time were the everyday scenes of the working railway in the 1960s. The film starts with a record of the Oxfordshire branch line scene before moving on to Aynho Junc, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Snow Hill, Wellington, Hereford’s Barr’s Court, Welshpool, Oswestry, Stratford-upon Avon, then across to Helpstone, Claypole and Doncaster and northwards to Chester, Colwyn Bay and Holyhead. Finally, in August 1968, to the steam heartlands of the northwest at Manchester Victoria and Carnforth the Age of Steam came to its conclusion.
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.