A nostalgic cab ride over one of Britain’s more antiquated rail routes – the Medway Valley line between Strood and Paddock Wood.
Filmed in September 1996 when the route still had plenty of semaphore signals, manual crossing gates and a collection of vintage signal boxes. The semaphores have now all gone, as have several of the boxes, and the survivors will be swept away by further modernisation in 2015. Many disused sidings and rail terminals were still evident at the time of the journey, recalling days when cement production was buoyant in the area. This journey back in time was filmed on board a train that has also been consigned to history - the Hoo Junction to East Peckham Civil Engineers trip.
The featured locomotive for the journey is 33030 - one of only eight Crompton’s that remained in traffic with Mainline Freight at the time. The outward run is via Strood, Cuxton, Snodland, Maidstone West, Wateringbury and Yalding to Paddock Wood. There, the Class 33 runs round its train in the station before heading back north the two miles to the disposal point at East Peckham. After the wagons have been unloaded, the Crompton re-traces its steps along the Medway Valley Line back to Hoo Junction. For good measure the Class 33 was ‘Wired for Sound’ to capture the once-familiar sound of a Crompton hard at work on the Southern Region. As well as the charming railway infrastructure along the Medway valley, slam-door EMU’s were still regularly plying the route at the time.
This programme is being digitally re-mastered and will include an extra 30 minutes of footage not included in the original VHS version. It will also be accompanied by a new and updated narration.
Produced by - Locomaster Profiles
Running time - 90 Minutes
Released - 2013