The Branch Line Society


Ciné Film presentation
Saturday 27th October 2018

Report by John Hampson

Society members were made very welcome for our Annual General Meeting at the Middleton Railway. In the evening following the AGM, over 30 members were treated to a nostalgic presentation by our member Chris Totty (who, impressively, had travelled especially from Jersey to join us) entitled 'Wayside Wanderings Part 2'.


Chris presented previously unseen footage that he had taken on 8mm colour cine film between 1967 and 1972 and had only recently digitised. We were treated to a wonderful tour of the British mainland stretching from Thurso to Falmouth and Yarmouth to Fishguard with at least forty points in between. Most of the material covered railtours, largely in first generation DMUs but the most exotic had to be the charter of a Silver Pullman unit for a tour to South Wales. Chris was able to record the final working day of a number of lines including the M&GN system, Cheltenham to Stratford, Rawtenstall and Manchester Central. I particularly enjoyed the trip around the Oldham Loop in about 30 seconds.

I was struck by the gritty dilapidation and decay, all too obvious in the railway infrastructure that Chris has recorded in this period. It is far more noticeable than in still images.

Following an excellent fish & chip supper (non-digital) and hot drink downstairs in the Middleton café during the half time interval, Chris showed recordings of contemporary steam operation in the Mosel region of Germany, both as tours and on mainline freight. Despite the fact that steam was still in widespread use in Germany at the time, the contrast between the apparently good state of the infrastructure in Germany compared with that at home was really noticeable. I really enjoyed this trip back through time to a period that many of us did not have the opportunity to experience firsthand. I didn't see Part 1 last year but certainly hope that Chris will be able to put together a Part 3!

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