Richard J Willis Collection Vols. 1-4 (2 Discs)

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Richard J Willis Collection Vols. 1-4 (2 Discs)
A series of programmes based on the highly acclaimed 16mm colour films made by the late Richard J. Willis during the 1960s. These companion volumes cover the lines of the former GCR, GWR, LNWR, Midland Railway and Southern Railway. The gleaming locomotives we are so familiar with today in their preserved form were, until their restoration, a pretty ill-kept and unloved bunch. This did not stop them giving their all for masters who would, within a few years, consign them to the scrapheap.

VOLUME 1 - MAIN LINE STEAM ROUTES

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.

VOLUME 2 - MAIN LINE STEAM ROUTES

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 volume approx. 50 minutes. Approx. 100 minutes in total.

VOLUME 3 - THE GRIME & GLORY YEARS

This, the third volume of Richard J. Willis's collection of 16mm colour film of the British Railways scene in the 1960s and features one full hour of pure archive material on dvd.

Part One varies from the previous Main Line Steam Routes theme comprising a series of individual (linked) features that to our eyes really capture 'Steam in the 60s' with everyday steam, railtours and the occasional diesel (they were after all part of the scene!).

Part Two takes us again from Kings Cross to Newcastle (see Volume One) and then beyond to Edinburgh ending up in Larbert. This second (longer) trip allows a greater variety of classes to be seen.

Part One - Main Line Miscellany: The opening features 9Fs on the Settle & Carlisle. 'Evening Star' filmed in April 1988 contrasts with a grimy 92125 some twenty years earlier. Carlisle sees a workaday 'Jubilee' and 'Duchess' No. 46257, while cast aside in the scrap line are 46200 'The Princess Royal' and a WD 2-10-0. Moving on to Nottingham London Road with passing WD 2-8-0s. Loughborough Midland with lineside views of a sister WD, 8F and 9Fs. Leicester Midland finds a 4F 0-6-0, a further 8F and Jubilee 457000.

Our Great Central interlude starts at Leicester, which provides 'Royal Scot' No. 46111, 44847 and a 9F - all on passenger duties. Belgrave and Birstall for 'Brit' No. 70037 (on a fish train), 9Fs, Black 5s, a V2, 'Royal Scots', a B1 and Black 5 passing, 2-6-2T and even a DMU. Rothley with an 8F and track relaying. We return to Nottingham Victoria for B1 4-6-0s, with 61088 on everyday duties, while 61131 and 61173 work a special. On another day we find 61173 with WC 34002 Salisbury. The latter's home ground at Waterloo finds 34034, while Weybridge provides variety with BR 75xxxs and a class U mogul. Sister U 31639 was paired with a Q1 for a railtour - seen at Wilmcote. Merchant Navies 'away from home' include 35022 at Nuneaton and 35026 at York. Finally a railtour back on the SR features 70020 Mercury in brilliant sunny conditions. In total contrast Derby Midland is blanketed in snow and fog as we seek class pioneer 70000. Crisper snowy days brings us a Bk 5, a 8F, 43002 and the sad sight of two GWR 68xx tanks in Kettering Yard, ready for scrap.

Everyday Western Steam is viewed in action south of Hereford, with a 43xx, 57xx and a pair of 'Halls'. Going to Wales for Manors sees 7819 plus 7802 on an SLS Special at Welshpool and Oswestry. At Stratford-Upon-Avon a grimy Clun Castle hands over to 70004. Less fortunate than 7029 was 5018 St. Mawes Castle by now resident at Kettering. Another scrap line at Crewe finds 45006, amongst others. Steam lives on in the station and in the shed area, which provides a great variety including an immaculate 46228. By contrast, back at the station, 46225 is in terrible external condition. Via Tamworth we move to Rugby Midland again finding Duchess of Gloucester, now in an even worse state! Cleaner examples - 46245 and 46251 - are seen on railtour duties.

Our final views of City of Nottingham were at Birmingham New Street, which on another occasion had hosted Peppercorn A1 W.P. Allen.

Part Two - East Coast Reprise: For everyday views of ex-LNER types we move to King's Cross where A1 60120 and A3 60107 are feature. Locos seen and locations visited on our trip north include: Abbots Ripton (A3 60005 and a WD 2-8-0). Yaxley (a further WD), Peterborough (an A4, Thomson A2/3 60523, A3s, A1s & a V2), Essindine (A3 & A1), Burton Coggles (A1 & A4), Grantham (A3, 9F and O2 2-8-0s), York (WD 2-8-0s, J27, 77xxx, B16/3, A1, V2s, A3 & A4, Newcastle (V3, J72 68723, A3 60052, DP2, A4s 60020 & 60026). Over the border to Scotland we find a workaday B1 in Edinburgh, at Cumbernauld a 73xxx and at Greenhill an A4, a BK.5 & J37 64593. Our last location is Larbert where A4s 60009 & 60031 provide our final record of 'The Grime & Glory Days'.

VOLUME 4 - OASIS OF STEAM

This, the fourth volume of Richard J. Willis's collection of 16mm film of the British Railways scene of the 1960s, brings the story to its logical conclusion. As steam was eliminated across British Railway's system some pockets of resistance remained, with steam dominant to the end. It is these 'Oasis of Steam' which form the theme of this dvd, showing everyday 'working' steam as well as the numerous special runs at the very end of steam.

This dvd covers Midland Branches, Main Line Medley, Southern Reprise, West to North West, 'The Times are 'a changing'', The End - 1968 and 'Is There a Future?'.

Midland Branches: Seaton, on the edge of Rutland, is our starting point, where we see the last motor-fitted working in the country, the Seaton-Stamford, push-pull headed by 41225, also seen watering at Stamford. This is followed by a trip along the Great Northern's Derby branch, an 'oasis' set deep in Midland territory.

Main Line Medley: Starting in Richard Willis' 'home territory' we see the Great Central main line around Leicester, with a Black 5 and B1 at Frog Island, and another Black 5 at speed in glorious May weather, at Belgrave and Burstall. Standard Class 5 73045 and a 9F pass at speed, and, after a view of the station, we return to the outskirts of Leicester to see 92072 on a freight. 61144 passes through Charwelton and we have a brake-van tour at Croxton. A fireless 0-4-0T and a B1 work on Leicester's Great Northern Branch, and then 61004 Oryx and 61028 work the Midland main line. At Syston Black 5 45282 and the Midland Pullman pass heading north, and we go to Oakham level crossing for a local headed by 75067. Finally, on the East Coast Main Line, we see 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and 70020 Mercury on specials and 7029 Clun Castle on shed at Peterborough New England shed and on the ECML.

Southern Reprise: We go to Weybridge for some new and 'alternative' views of the South Western Main Line. Highlights include a pacing sequence of 34014 Budleigh Salterton, then a Standard 5 on a parcels and 35017 Belgian Marine on the Bournemouth Belle. Two standards, four rebuilds, one original and a U Mogul are seen, then out on the main line at Pirbright Junction six more expresses pass, whilst further on a milk train is on of the highlights. At Battledown a standard 5 passes over the flyover, as 35023 comes underneath. We wait for A4 60024 Kingfisher and then go to Overton for 70020 Mercury. Finally, a Pullman Camping Coach at Hinton Admiral leads us to Christchurch bank for two Bulleids and 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley.

West to North West: A watery 'oasis' is found at Aldermaston with Hall 4963 on the water troughs. At Oxford a standard arrives, and then we see Bradley Manor in mid-Wales. 3442 The Great Marquess forecasts modern steam working at Chester, and then we take to the hills along the Lune Gorge to see a Black 5, a Royal Scot and a Jubilee. That '60s favourite, Scout Green, is our next stop, as another Jubilee is banked by a 2-6-4T. Also seen here are 44767, the unique Stephenson Black 5, two Britannia's, 70034 and 70030, 44675 on a fish train, and another 2-6-4T, 42414. An ex-Crosti 9F makes a stirring sight on an express, and we move to Auchterarder to see a Standard 5 and an A4, 60009. The latter is also seen at Larbert with 60031 Golden Plover.

'The Times Are A Changing': Blue electrics at Stockport introduce a visit to the loco depot to see Crabs and Jubilees. Bahamas is seen preparing for a railtour, then we see Alberta, 45562 at Normanton. Our first view of 70013 Oliver Cromwell is also here, but she's then seen at Guide Bridge, as 60019 Bittern, which takes us to York on a railtour.

The End - 1968: Black 5s at Manchester Central and Victoria remind us of the halcyon days, and then we join an August 1968 railtour behind 70013 Oliver Cromwell from Victoria to Blackburn, passing rows of redundant 8Fs and Black 5s on the way. The very end is witnessed at Carnforth, with Black 5 45156, once Ayreshire Yeomanry, arriving on a special. In the shed yard, soon to become Steamtown, we see rows of dead Black 5s and then 45390 and 45025 are prepared to take out the last one of all - the 15 Guinea Special.

Is There a Future?: It seemed there was no future for steam on BR, so we go to Tyseley to view a 1968 Open Day, and to Bridgnorth to see the Severn Valley's Gala in April. Richard Willis' involvement is illustrated on the Great Central of today - the answer was 'yes'.

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

Approx. 100 minutes.

Each volume approximately 50 minutes.

Volumes 3 and 4 on one dvd.

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