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Class 8Fs at Dent

Class 8Fs doubleheading at Dent 1967

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Tracing Steam

The film shows some of the last mainline steam railways in Europe in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, edited to fit a piece of music that could evoke the spirit of mainline steam operations. It contrasts the final steam operations on the north-western freight lines of British Railways (BR) in 1967/68 with the varied use of steam on passenger and freight trains elsewhere in Europe.

The film starts before dawn at Persan Beaumont where 141TC class tanks are working the first push-pull commuter trains of the day into Paris in the autumn of 1968. A Liberation 141R class locomotive is seen climbing Cafiers bank between Calais and Boulogne with a Paris-bound express, before action moves to an express passenger train from Hamburg to Osnabrück hauled by the oil-fired 01.10 4-6-2 class in late summer, 1967. A slower section shows British steam hard at work near Ais Gill and Shap in the same summer, including LMS 'Black 5' 4-6-0, LMS 8F 2-8-0 and BR 9F 2-10-0 classes.

The mood changes as repairs to a Portuguese 2-6-0T class narrow gauge loco are shown at Lousado, near Porto in 1970. German 2-10-0 classes, 44 and 50, are shown at work near Trier and Koblenz, and hauling heavy freights from the Mosel valley up Bullay bank in spring 1969.

The middle section of the film shows, at a slower pace, locomotives in Britain (London Transport 0-6-0PT class at Watford, National Coal Board 0-6-0T class at Backworth, “Black 5”s on freight near Ais Gill in 1967), France (Liberation 141Rs on local passenger trains near Calais in 1968), and Portugal (0-4-4-0T articulated Mallet class compounds at Lousado in 1970).

The final part of the film returns to main line action in 1969, especially in Czechoslovakia (on the footplate of a modern 4-8-2 class between Prague and Pilsen) and in Britain (the famous Flying Scotsman 4-6-2 class on a special excursion train between London and the East Midlands). The pace slackens as a local train from Prague takes commuters homeward, other trains in Germany, Spain and Portugal approach their destinations and locos come to rest in stations or depots in Paris, Calais and finally, Osnabrück.

This film is featured on the DVDs "Britain in the Days of Steam" and "In the Days of Steam"

Tracing Steam Date of Film: 1972 19 Minutes

Places and Dates of Identifiable Locomotives:

Dent (August 1967) BR Class 8F 48077;
Lousado (August 1970) CP 2-6-0T Class E85;
Bullay (March 1969) DB Class 50 3029;
Bohmte, nr Osnabruck (June 1968) DB Class 01.10 1060;
Mill Hill, near London (November 1967) LNER (exBR) Class A3 4472;
Paris Nord (September 1968) SNCF Class 141TC 6 and 60

RENFE Class 141F at Salamanca

RENFE Class 141F at Salamanca 1970

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