Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Titfield Thunderbolt

First post of the year and life is beginning to settle down now - I'm kinda getting used to being awoken when someone small is hungry! Not been into the workshop for sometime, but hopefully will find a bit of time next week.

Sometime after Christmas Suzi and I managed to actually exchange presents! I have to admit I do have a great wife! Among my presents was a DVD of The Titfield Thunderbolt! It's such a wonderful film, perhaps showing an England that never really existed in most places but it's very easy to forgive that!

The premise behind the film is a community finding out that British Railways wishes to close the branch which links them to the outside world. The alternative is a new bus service, but this doesn't sit well with many residents. Instead they decide to run it themselves with the financial backing of one wealthy Titfield resident who appreciates the fact that a railway company is quite within the law to provide a bar in a buffet car whenever a train is in motion, regardless of the time of day!

Many of the incidents in the film were inspired by T.E.B. Clark's visit to the Tal-y-llyn Railway in 1951 just after it had been preserved and was being run by 'amateurs'. The film was certainly not what Suzi was expecting when she watched it - the only previous 'railway' feature film we've watched together was The Train with Bert Lancaster, an altogether much darker film. In contrast The Titfield Thunderbolt provides a lovely tranquil escape from the modern world. It was some years since I had last seen it and I think I got even more from it having gained more railway knowledge! Certainly the character of 'Dan', a retired platelayer, who ends up as the new company's fireman reminds me of one railwayman I know!

If you haven't seen the film already, I really think you ought to try and see it and if you have seen it but not for some time, it's still a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!


  1. I agree, this is a wonderful film and I was lucky enough to receive some Ealing Comedies for Christmas too. The films are so well written and acted that they are timeless classics and well worth seeing. I also enjoyed The Railway Children that was shown over the holiday period; another classic that has stood the passage of time.

  2. Wonderful movie. I'll have to see if I can locate it in US format