9th May 1964: High Speed Special Train - The Great Western

Code: PS039
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A major documentary based on the original by Tom Bodington made in 1994. All of the material has been digitally re-mastered and the programme, which was updated with new material and sequences in 2014, has been edited to broadcast standards.

In 1964 British Railways celebrated the 60th anniversary of 3440 City of Truro's epic run when it became the first locomotive to reputedly achieve 100mph. The Celebration was to run high speed Castle Class locomotives from Paddington to Plymouth and back for the very last time as diesels were rapidly taking over. This programme is a unique record of a major event that has almost been forgotten. It contains all the only known film of the event and was originally compiled in 1994. It was added to in 2004 and also 2014 to create a lasting and valuable record of the event.


Part One 9th May 1964 (57 mins + 22 mins of interviews)

  • Introduction followed by a brief resume of events of 9th May 1904.
  • Preparations and selection of the Castle Class locomotives for the day including high speed test runs down Honeybourne Bank in early 1964, plus Worcester shed.
  • Photographs of Old Oak Common and Laira depots, locos and their crews.
  • Archive colour footage of the journey from Paddington to Plymouth and back taken from the train and including lineside shots taken at: Paddington, Old Oak, Iver, Rushcombe, Froxfield, Dainton, Mutley Tunnel, Plymouth, Hemerdon (2), Parsons St Jnc, Ashley Hill, Hullavington,Rodbourne, Uffington, Rushcombe, and Wantage Rd. (On-train/lineside shots have authentic soundtracks)
  • Informative commentary with on-screen statistics and including the voices of firemen Doug Godden and Bill Rundell.
  • A trip on the river Tamar showing the naval dockyard and the Tamar Bridges.
  • Interviews with four of the crew of 1964.
  • Locomotives in action are: 4079 Pendennis Castle, 6999 Capel Dewi Hall, 7025 Sudeley Castle, 7008 Swansea Castle, 7029 Clun Castle and 5054 Earl of Ducie.
  • Detailed interviews with the 1964 crews recorded in 1994. (22 mins)


Part Two The Ocean Mail 100 (28 mins)
This features the trips run in 2004 (8th/10th May), from Bristol to Kingswear and return, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of City of Truro’s record breaking trip. It features 3440 with cameras behind the tender and at the lineside.

Part Three 3440 City of Truro in the West Country (15 mins)
The section features lineside shots of the epic runs made in 2004: Nov 27th Bristol-Plymouth Locations are Malago Vale, Parsons St Station, Wellington, Rockwell Green, Stoneycombe, Dainton Tunnel, Tigley Cutting. Nov 30th Plymouth-Truro Locations are Royal Albert Bridge, Coombe Viaduct, Forder Viaduct, Treverin Tunnel, Carlyon Bay, Burngullow, Probus. Dec 3rd Plymouth-Bristol Locations are Hemerdon, Combe Fishacre, Langston Rock, Pound Farm, Whiteball, near Brent Knoll, Hope Cotts Farm.

Part Four 5029 Nunney Castle May 9th 2014 (25 mins)
Filmed on 9th May 2014 - 50 years to the day after the original event. Cameras were on the locomotive and train plus the lineside. This is another comprehensive record of the day.

    Produced by - PSOV
    Running time - Main programme 57 mins approx, plus 1 hr 25 mins approx of extras
    DVD only
    Released - 2014 

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