Paddington And The West

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The programme starts in the south west of England and traces the former GWR route to London (Paddington) via Swindon and Didcot in the 1950s and '60s when steam – in the form of ex-GWR designs – still predominated.

The country branch line was a classic feature of the GWR and many lines changed little throughout their existence. Several rural locations are featured including Liskeard, Looe, Minehead, Falmouth, Fowey, Tiverton Jct., and the Ashburton branch, with 'Panniers', '14XX's and 'Prairies' hard at work on passenger and freight services.

Action on the main line starts at the extremity of southwest rail operation – Penzance. From there the main line is followed east with scenes at Gwinear Road, Chasewater, Truro, Par, Lostwithiel and the impressive junction layout at Liskeard, before the Saltash Bridge is crossed on the approaches to Plymouth. After Plymouth, Ivybridge and Dawlish are seen before arrival at Exeter. Travelling northwest from Exeter the next stop is Tiverton Jct., from where the Heymock branch is traced and views of the short line to Tiverton is complimented by film on the Minehead branch.

The next major feature is at Swindon with views in the station and works yard, behind whch the MSWJ route from Cheltenham to Andover crossed the GWR main line. A journey from Cheltenham to Andover gives an intriguing glimpse of this long-closed route, after which the GWR main line is rejoined as the journey eastwards is resumed. The station on Wantage Road is viewed next, shortly before reaching the junction at Didcot. Following scenes at the station and MPD, a short journey north to Oxford reveals a wide diversity of steam classes, after which a detailed journey on the now-closed Fairford branch is featured with every station on the line recorded.

Before reaching London, a unique film, taken on the London-Birmingham route at Bicester, records the operation of the British Railways’ last slip-coach.

Arrival in London finds a fascinating array of steam an early diesel classes operating at Old Oak Common and Paddington, a fitting finale to this visual record of British Railways' Western Region in the steam era.

DVD Info

Region: 2
Running Time: 67 minutes

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