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More Rolling Stock used
in the filming of "The Railway Children"


The Railway Children
One engine, "Maude" from the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, was brought in specially since a black goods engine was required.

Maude at Horsted Keynes Bobbie and Mother with Maude North British Railway C Class No.673 "Maude"

NBR 673 was built by Neilson & Co. of Glasgow in 1891. After War Service on the Western Front during the First World War, it was named "Maude" after Lt. Gen. Maude, Commander of the British Forces in Mesopotamia. It was based at Haymarket and Bathgate before purchase by the SRPS in 1966.

During the 1980s NBR673 travelled widely on the main line, operating SRPS Railtours, the 1984 Mallaig Steam Specials and, most notably, a round trip from Falkirk under its own power to the Rainhill 150 Celebrations in 1980. A major overhaul was completed in 1992, since when No. 673 has been in regular use on the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway.

This photo shows Bobbie (Jemima Rooper) and her Mother (Jenny Agutter) on set with Maude. (© Carlton TV)

History of "Maude" taken from the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway web site, with permission.


Vintage Branch-line Train (Mike Nichols) The other passenger train used in the film was the pre-grouping set which often forms the Bluebell's timetabled "Vintage Branch-line Train", hauled by LBSCR locomotive "Birch Grove".


 

Birch Grove at Horsted LBSCR Billinton Radial Tank, No.473 "Birch Grove"
Class: E4
Wheels: 0-6-2T
Built: 1898
Numbers carried: 473, B473, 2473, 32473
Last major overhauls: 1998, 2010

The only surviving locomotive to a design by Robert Billinton, "Birch Grove" is one of a family of locomotives known as Radial Tanks due to the radial axle beneath the cab. Mixed traffic locomotives, they were equally at home on local passenger workings as branch-line goods services. Although almost the oldest, the E4s were amongst the last of the Brighton Radials to survive.

Birch Grove was bought straight out of BR service and served the Bluebell for a decade before being withdrawn for a protracted stop-go overhaul. It is now operational thanks to a bequest which has paid for the major boiler repairs required and a team of volunteers who have undertaken some of the easier boiler work and most of the remaining work over a period of some years, as is well recorded on the loco's web page.


The carriage which carried Bobbie's "Daddy" (Michael Kitchen) back for the reunion was the recently restored LBSCR first-class carriage, which is painted in its Southern Railway guise as No.7598.

LBSCR 7598 after overhaul London, Brighton & South Coast Railway: First Class Bogie Carriage

Built: 1903
Seating: 36 1st class (38 as restored)
Length: 48'
Weight: 25 Tons
Original No: 142
Other Nos: SR 7598
Withdrawn: 1931
To Bluebell: 1989
The coach body came from West Chiltington where it had stood since 1931, used as a domestic dwelling and latterly as an aviary!

Built for the London-Brighton main line, it originally provided the most luxurious first class accommodation, with only six seats in a compartment nearly eight feet square, although on the relatively short journeys to Brighton or Eastbourne it was obviously decided that lavatories would be unnecessary. Its length of 48 feet was once the standard length of much of the rolling stock built by many different railways, but now very few survive.

The restoration of this vehicle has been undertaken and funded entirely by volunteers. Many parts for it, including replacement partitions, electrical and brass fittings, and some spare doors, have come from other old bodies which did not survive complete, and have now been broken up. Restoration also involved the reconstruction of a suitable underframe (shortened from 50 feet to 48), the complete re-cladding of the exterior as well as much work on the interior of the coach. With replacement springs for the bogies costing £2,500 such a restoration has to be paced such that the funding and the work progress together!

Following six years of restoration, the coach undertook its first test run on 19th June 1998, and the following day, with painting, lettering and lining still to be completed and with seating completed only in one compartment, the coach was included in the branch-line train hauled by LBSCR No.473 "Birch Grove" at the re-launch into service of this centenarian locomotive.

The seating took another year to complete. Five compartments are trimmed in a deep blue moquette which matches closely remnants of the original material which survived in the body. The sixth compartment is finished in Southern Railway floral pattern moquette, without arm rests, as an 8-seater first-class compartment, such as would have been found in similar coaches on the Isle of Wight.

The coach was launched into service with a special day for all the supporters of the project on 29 May 1999, and carried its first fare-paying passenger for 68 years the following day, as part of the Bluebell's scheduled "Vintage Branch-line Train".

LBSCR 7598 after overhaul

More information is available on the web page for this carriage.

The other two carriages which ran in this train were our two SECR "Hundred Seaters", built in 1922 and 1923. There are web pages for these two carriages and the Southern Railway brake van also used on this train:
The final locomotive used in the filming (shunting in the background of the coal-stealing scene, for example) is our LSWR 0-4-0 tank locomotive, No.96, "Normandy", seen below shunting the "Old Gentleman's Coach".

Normandy shunts GNR Saloon (Tony Pearce)

London & South Western Railway class B4 0-4-0T
96 "Normandy", built in 1893.

Class: B4
Numbers carried: 96, E96, 96, 30096
Owned by the Bulleid Society

A deceptively powerful but compact shunting locomotive, it spent most of its working days at Southampton Docks. After disposal by BR it was used, again at Southampton, shunting a private wharf, from where it was purchased by the Bulleid Society who later moved their stock to the Bluebell.

Remaining out of use for many years, only after it received an overhaul was it realised just how useful an engine it was. "Normandy" has been called "the reason we don't need a diesel", and has put in sterling service on our works trains for the construction of the northwards extension. When its ten-year boiler certificate expired in 1995 it was given a very rapid overhaul to put it straight back into service. It was used most weeks for two decades for our "Monday Shunt" (and more recently also on Thusdays), the only regular steam shunting turn in the country. It is not suited to high speed, and was only rarely to be found on passenger trains. In 2006 its boiler certificate expired again, and this time it must take its place in the overhaul queue, whilst other priorities are attended to.

Visit the Web Page for this engine.


Go back to our main Railway Children Page or the other page about the Rolling Stock used in the film.
The DVDs of this production and the 1970 film (which also starred Jenny Agutter) are both available from the Bluebell's shop.

The Bluebell is in frequent demand as a Film and Television location.
Further details are available here.


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