KingFisher Productions

The Richard J. Willis Collection: Parts One and Two

Code: KR145
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This programme is the first of a series of two volumes covering some of Britain’s main line railway routes during the closing years of the steam era. Richard’s films portray the ‘everyday’ as it was seen by many thousands of enthusiasts at the time.

Views taken from station platforms, by the lineside and in locomotive shed yards combine to provide a very full and nostalgic reminder of a bygone era. This is a ‘pure archive’ dvd without constant ‘cuts’ to modern material and a minimum of ‘on train’ and ‘footplate’ shots.

This volume covers East Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line & Great Central Main Line:

East Coast Main Line: At Kings Cross we watch A1 Aboyeur move off into the tunnels, before moving to Huntingdon North to witness a 9F, A3, V2 and A4 Miles Beevor at speed on the Great Northern main line. More A4s are seen at Abbots Ripton, before we break our journey at Peterborough to view a procession of A1 and A3s culminating in the arrival of world famous A4 Mallard. A4 Union of South Africa passes at Burton Coggles. The cavalcade of pacifics continues as we pass through Grantham and Torworth until we reach Leeds Central where we examine A1, A3, B1 and BR 3MT classes. Britannia, V2, A4, A3, A1 and B1 types appear during our stopover at York, prior to our final move to Newcastle to view A1, A3 and A4 pacifics and an L1 tank on the complex approaches to city’s Central Station.

Midland Main Line: Returning to Leeds we see Britannia William Shakespeare and Jubilee Kolhapur on rail tour duty before we head south again. Merchant Navy Royal Mail is far from home at Derby. A detour south to the Lickey Incline reveals a rich variety including Fowler 4F, BR Standard 5, 9F 2-10-0, Jubilee and 94XX pannier tanks. Retracing our steps to Derby we watch impressive light engine movements. More Jubilees, Crab, 9F, 4F, 2MT tanks, 8F and Black 5s are seen as we progress to Leicester, where signs of the new era appear – ‘Peaks’ and the Midland Pullman. A Midland 2F reminds us of bygone days on the Leicester and Swannington. The secondary routes to Peterborough provide Class 5 hauled holiday extras as well as the last push-pull trains in the British Isles. A pause to view Wellingborough’s stud of 8F 2-8-0s precedes our arrival at St. Pancras.

Great Central Main Line: Setting out from Marylebone with a Black 5, we pause at Charwelton as a B1 and Royal Scot charge through. A Black 5 rumbles over the birdcage bridge at Rugby and Duchess 46251 is seen on railtour duty at Aylestone. The cosmopolitan motive power from the final years of G.C. steam are brought to mind by the succession of Black 5, Scot, Britannia, West Country, V2 and 9F engines passing through the city of Leicester. A 4MT 2-6-0 and Black 5s are seen on route to Nottingham, a high spot being Merchant Navy Elder Dempster Lines at Loughborough. Scenes at Nottingham Victoria precede views of the station’s demolition.

This programme is the second in our series of programmes based on the highly acclaimed 16mm colour films made by Richard J. Willis during the 1960s. In Main Line Steam Routes Volume 1 Dvd we enjoyed every day views of the workings of locomotives, stations and shed yards to be found on the former LNER, Midland Railway and GCR main lines. This companion volume dvd covers the lines of the former GWR, LNWR and Southern Railway.

This volume covers Western, North Western & Southern Railway:

The Western: Everyday Paddington with Coney Hall and 0-6-0PTs 8433 and 1506 on ECS workings. Visits to Didcot and Oxford provide Halls 51XXs and 57XX. Also seen are Bournemouth – Newcastle expresses headed by a Merchant Navy, Hall and BR 4-6-0s. The latter type also worked the Pines Express – at Oxford 73018 departs southward, while on a northbound Pines is 34101 Hartland. On to Banbury were a trio of Halls and 51XX fly the GWR flag with B1 61109 the LNERs. En-route we spy 5026 Criccieth Castle at the head of the Pines Express. Our next destination, Leamington, provides railtouring Granges 6849 and double-heading 6853 and 6861 profiled after arrival from Birmingham. We next witness the ‘last rites’ of Snow Hill Station (7029 and 4079). At Wellington Britannia 70012 presents herself. Hereford seems firmly ex-GWR with a Hall 43XX and 5073 Blenheim Castle (profiled). Finally to Chester where 9610 and 9630 hand over a special to Blue Peter. We are now firmly in the territory of the GWR’s sometime pre-Grouping ally the L&NWR.

The North Western: A simple move due west takes us to Holyhead for the Irish Mail with 46248 City of Leeds – displaced from WCML duties. On to Conway Castle for some stunning shots of Class 5 workings, then we view 2-6-2T 40133, Firth of Forth, 45380 and an 8F on our trip to Carlisle via Llandudno and Colwyn Bay. At the former, atmosphere is provided by a BR 2-6-4T, Jubilee Mars and 46257 City of Salford. Shap sees Black 5s, Britannia, Jubilee and a Scot. At Lancaster 45397 gets to grips with the Lakes Express. Preston provides side-by-side pacifics with Polar Star and City of Leeds. Stockport with a trio of Jubilees. Crewe offers eight pacifics with Coronations, Britannias and 71000. Lineside at Tamworth with 46256 and 76037 passing. Birmingham New Street sees 46251. While near Nuneaton a sign of the times with a Jubilee on a freight being passed by a Type 4 diesel. Sister 5X Arethusia sets off from Rugby, while at nearby Hillmorton 46254 coasts past us. We take our leave of the WCML as a Britannia races north near Long Buckleby.

The Southern: A move south provides an even greater wealth of pacifics. At Waterloo we view Merchant Navies, together with rebuilt and original light pacifics, plus a BR class 3 2-6-2T on ECS duties. On to Weybridge where further BR Standards mingle with the high speed Bulleids. We follow the ‘racetrack’ via Pirbright, Fleet and Hook with pacifics and a 73XXX providing the action. We linger at Basingstoke as a steamy Wilton arrives, 73029 passes at speed and finally Blue Peter brings in a railtour. The ‘flyover’ junction at Worting – with 35023 passing under and a BR 5 4-6-0 ‘over’. Progressing we see Royal Mail, A4 Kingfisher (railtour) and at Salisbury (1967) Blackmore Vale. Eastleigh shed sees an immaculate Saunton, workaday 76066 and a WC/BB. At Hinton Admiral a BR 5 tears through, preceding a quartet of Bulleid pacifics. A final visit to a busy shed at our destination – Bournemouth precedes our awakening.

The above is by necessity only an outline of each programme’s contents.

* Each part is approximately 50 minutes long. The disc runs for 100 minutes in total on one disc.

Produced by - Kingfisher Productions
Running time -  100 minutes in total - 1 Disc (each part 50 minutes each)
DVD only
Released - March 2021

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