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Narrow Gauge & Miniature

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Ffestiniog Story Vol.1


Ffestiniog Story Vol.1

Ref: RF536D


The first of two films bringing to the screen several of those who started the transformation of the Ffestiniog from it's near derelict state to the thriving scene of today. Narrated by those who were there and made it all happen, the story is backed by much previously unpublished archive film and rounded out with scenes of the line today.





Running Time: 82 mins (1hr 22min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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Ffestiniog Story Vol.2


Ffestiniog Story Vol.2

Ref: RF537D


This second of two programmes, again using extensive unpublished archive footage, allows a rare behind-the-scenes insight into the motivation and methods of those who became known as the deviationists. Through hard work and determination, this hardy band of optimists rebuilt their unique railway all the way back to its old terminus at Blaenau Ffestiniog. And thanks to the camera work of Dr. Brian Rogers and others, we have a moving picture record of this incredible feat, the beating, against all odds, of a mountain of bureaucratic and practical challenges. Many said it couldn't be done, but it was - and here is how !





Running Time: 88 mins (1hr 28min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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James Boyd Collection Vol.1: Welsh Lines Preserved


James Boyd Collection Vol.1: Welsh Lines Preserved

Ref: RF604D


Built for economical transport in difficult or thinly-peopled country, Britain's narrow gauge railways began before Queen Victoria's reign, flourished in her later years, and declined as the 20th century developed.

By the 1940s many had closed, while even their precursor, the Ffestiniog, once an international showpiece, had degenerated into a mismanaged, archaic backwater. Almost alone among enthusiasts of the time, Manchester clothing manufacturer James Boyd, partly through schooling, partly through natural inclination, started taking an active interest in these obscure byways, and began in the 1940s to chronicle the history of the Ffestiniog Railway and other systems; after it closed he was first to examine ways of reopening it. The FR's legal, political and financial problems, however, caused him to switch his energies to the neighbouring and little known Talyllyn Railway, whose survival was being secured by a small like-minded group. As post-war conditions eased, James Boyd added a cine camera to his kit of historian's pen and volunteer's shovel and amassed, from a uniquely informed standpoint, a remarkable film library of the earliest preservation days of both Talyllyn and Ffestiniog lines.

Today, a generation has grown up whose fathers were themselves youngsters in those pioneering days, while railway preservation has become almost a commonplace throughout the developed world. But for the record of those first years, for its impact upon people willing and able to take practical steps, and not least, for the pleasure and fascination given to millions since, we have a very small group, and not least James Boyd, to thank. In this video Mr. Boyd revisits, forty years on, the scene of those historic ventures in North Wales and in his own words, and backed by his own priceless vintage film, tells of the fun and frustration of an era now as legendary as that long-lost Victorian heyday Here is a record to stand alongside Mr Boyd's own books, which have done so much to ensure the survival and prosperity of a piece of social history whose interest and charm remains ageless.

'Priceless, historic & massively enjoyable - don't miss these. Very highly recommended.' (Steam Railway) 'Essential Viewing.' (Railway Magazine). 'The films & interviews are of great interest.' (F.R. Magazine).





Running Time: 57 mins (0hr 57min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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James Boyd Collection Vol.2: Manx & Irish Lines Remembered (59-mins)


James Boyd Collection Vol.2: Manx & Irish Lines Remembered (59-mins)

Ref: RF605D


Though better known as chronicler of the Welsh narrow-gauge, James Boyd's earliest acquaintance with the genre was in Ireland and the Isle of Man, and this, indeed, is where his deepest affection remains. From the late 1940s James Boyd made many expeditions to these romantic destinations with his cine camera, recording a railway scene that, just as in mainland Britain, was soon to be lost for ever.

This video begins in the Isle of Man - Mr. Boyd's childhood holiday haunt- where, well after the Second World War, the 3ft gauge railway system still boasted an intensive timetable: not only for summer tourist traffic (at that time still unaffected by cheap foreign holidays), but also a year round, workaday service for the Islanders and their goods, sparsely used by then, but still very much a fully timetabled operation. Moving to Ireland, Mr. Boyd travels the 3ft gauge County Donegal, Lough Swilly and Cavan and Leitrim systems in their declining years, by passenger and goods service.

A broad gauge journey behind steam to the far south west, itself a classic collector's item, includes, amongst other gems, a footplate trip on the remote Valentia Harbour Branch, and finally, on the 3ft gauge once more, comes an unforgettable ride on the legendary Tralee and Dingle. Introduced and narrated by James Boyd himself, this video programme brings to today's enthusiast a scene coveted by many, experienced by few and recorded on film by even fewer. Through their remoteness, their antiquated equipment, and their sheer nostalgia, the lines he travels continue to exert a fascination unique in railway lore.

'Well worth collecting, even for those not of a narrow gauge persuasion.' (Railway World) 'Excellent commentary... This video is not just about the little railways that have vanished forever, it is also about a way of life which, sadly, seemed to vanish with them.' (Railway Magazine) 'Highly recommended.' (IOMSRA Magazine)





Running Time: 59 mins (0hr 59min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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James Boyd Collection Vol.3: A Tale Of Many Gauges (66-mins)


James Boyd Collection Vol.3: A Tale Of Many Gauges (66-mins)

Ref: RF616D


This is the final volume from the collection of noted railway historian James Boyd and well as more unique archive footage of railways throughout these islands, also tells us something of the man himself.

James Boyd opens the programme at the Downs School in Worcestershire where as a pupil in the 1930s he encountered two very different life-shaping influences: a miniature railway in the school grounds, operated by the boys themselves; and a rather unorthodox English master by the name of W.H.Auden.

The main part of the programme is a fascinating "Tale of Many Gauges" with James Boyd's priceless cine collection ranging from the 15" Fairbourne Railway (newly emerging from dereliction in 1948) to the 5'3" of Ulster in the last days of steam. Along the way there are remarkable scenes such as ex-Welsh Highland tank "Russell" at work on Fayle's Tramway in Dorset, the de-electrified Holcombe Brook branch in Lancashire just before complete closure, the very last Hughes Lancashire & Yorkshire 4-6-0 on a special run in 1951, the Penrhyn, Ffestiniog, Talyllyn, Welshpool & Llanfair Railways before preservation, and many historic scenes at a host of other locations.





Running Time: 66 mins (1hr 6min)

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Miniature Line Memories (50-mins)


Miniature Line Memories (50-mins)

Ref: RF539D


In this programme life long enthusiast Robin Butterell explores the fascinating world of miniature railways. Using much rare and previously unpublished archive footage Robin takes the viewer on a journey that examines the very origins of British miniature railways. On the way we explore the influences of Sir Arthur Heywood, father of minimum gauge railway development, and examine his important legacy.

On a visit to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Robin introduces us to Ursula and Effie, full-size replicas of Sir Arthur's B9s famous locomotives. The contribution of model and miniature builders Bassett Lowke and Henry Greenly are not forgotten with examples of their important development work also being included. As well as the public lines there are rare archive glimpses of private garden railways and a variety of seaside operations. Most of the railways featured here have either changed beyond recognition or indeed ceased to exist, making this programme a true record of yesterdays scene.

Other lines have been revived through the undaunted enthusiasm and dedication of their supporters. Robin Butterell has run and been involved in miniature railways all his life and his knowledge of the subject comes from his first hand experience. In sharing that enthusiasm he hopes that a new generation of miniature railway supporters will keep the legacy of steam and the associated engineering disciplines alive and for the pleasure of future generations.

Some of the lines included Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (1927), Kerrs Miniature Railway (1937), Great Yarmouth (1937), Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (1929 / 1953), Captain Holder's Keeping Railway (1935), Llandudno (1949), Bridlington (1951), Fairbourne Railway (1948 / 1958), Belle Vue (1966), Blackpool Pleasure Beach (1949), Rhyl Miniature Railway (1949), Greywood Central Railway (1940s), Shillingstone (1965), Hastings (1967), Hilton Valley Railway (1969), Brockenhurst (1965), Stapleford Railway (1970s)





Running Time: 53 mins (0hr 53min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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Narrow Gauge Adventure (59-mins)


Narrow Gauge Adventure (59-mins)

Ref: RF615D


Narrow gauge railways hold a special place in the affection of many. On these little lines run quaint and historic locomotives and rolling stock, often in beautiful and unspoilt country, far from big business and bureaucracy and all to a very human scale. Yet these lines, so lovingly maintained today, were born out of commercial need, both real and perceived, and passed long years in workday obscurity. Sadly they were, by their very nature, highly vulnerable to economic slump and road competition. By the 1950s all were either dying or already defunct.

The revival of some of these lines is inspiring as the demise of others is sad. Dr Brian Rogers, a Worcestershire GP had the good fortune to visit many of them on both sides of the Irish Sea while they still served their original purpose, while as a preservation pioneer he himself was part of the rescue of a living British heritage.

This is a video of Dr Roger's cine record filmed mostly between 1945 & 1960 and brings us scenes of historic "firsts" on some of the better known lines, unique footage of little-visited concerns such as the Penrhyn and Padarn systems in Wales and the West Clare, still fully steam opearted, in Ireland. There are some long, wonderfully romantic scenes in the contrasting but both totaly unspoilt counties of Montgomeryshire and Donegal. Here is a unique record of the end of a past era, a salute to those lines which did not survive and a tribute to the pioneers who saved so much.

'This video has been professionally put together, with a clear and highly-informative voice over, and is both entertaining and educational - a must for the narrow gauge enthusiast's video shelf.' (Steam Railway 1996) 'This is a remarkable and enjoyable record of times long gone.' (Welsh News 1996) 'Of the various archive video programmes that have been offered of late, this stands out as one of the best. This is one of those rare specimens; a video that deserves watching time and time again.' (Railway World) 'The finale in early days of colour film in County Donegal were so nostalgic, that I was overcome somewhat by this time - warp.' (MAT7 1/4 Gauge News/June '96) '..expertly presented.. ' (Narrow Gauge News) 'With an informative commentary we can warmly recommend this video as a reminder of days gone.' (Ffestiniog Railway Society Journal)





Running Time: 59 mins (0hr 59min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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Welsh Highland Story


Welsh Highland Story

Ref: RF636D


Without a doubt, the re-birth of the Welsh highland is the greatest railway heritage story of our times. Begun in the 1870s, this fascinating narrow-gauge line, built through some of Britain's most glorious scenery, was bankrupt almost from the start.

Struggling on, dogged by misfortune and mismanagement, its 23 miles were not fully completed until 1923, and even then it failed to reach its ultimate goal of Caernarfon. Then, after just fourteen brief years, it closed down, to be sold off for scrap in the Second World War, while the trackbed reverted to farmland and wilderness, in places vanishing altogether.

A full half century was to pass before the railway preservation movement became confident and established enough to attempt to waken this sleeping beauty. The rebuilding of the Welsh Highland, from scratch, would lead through a quagmire of debt, scheming, and politics high and low, while steam engineers searched the world for suitable locomotives and rolling stock.

This programme tells the story of how that seemingly impossible dream was conceived, nurtured and finally completed, all the way to Caernarfon. Rare historic and contemporary film is backed by nostalgic scenes of the wilderness years, now themselves history, while several of the key players involved tell of their part in bringing the dream to reality. With wide-ranging appeal to tourists, historians and enthusiasts alike, this programme forms a lasting record of a truly remarkable achievement.

Bonus Footage!

A final segment of the programme is devoted to 10 minutes bonus footage featuring steam action on the South African Railway's narrow gauge in the 1980s. A source for equipment essential to the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland and a source that through its existence helped ensure that a dream could indeed come true.





Number of discs: 1 DVD
Running Time: 80 mins (1hr 20min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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Welshpool Steam


Welshpool Steam

Ref: RF590D


Set in the heart of the rural Welsh Marches, the 2ft 6in gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway possesses a quiet charm and unspoiled friendliness unique amongst Britain's preserved lines. Alone amongst the Great Little Trains of Wales, this Edwardian gem was built not for slate, minerals or visitors, but for the everyday needs of the local farming community. Operated first by the Cambrian and then by the Great Western Railways, it was used for goods only from 1931 and then, under British Railways control, it closed altogether in 1956. But a group of enthusiasts re-opened the line in stages between 1963 and 1981 and today it forms a noteworthy attraction for tourists and rail buffs alike.

Thirty years of impoverished decline as a freight only railway left the newly formed preservation company with a massive backlog of maintenance and a dire shortage of equipment for the lines new tourist role. To overcome this, a collection of locomotives and rolling stock has been gathered from narrow gauge railways in Austria, West Africa, the West Indies and Finland, supplementing the lines own original locomotive and wagon fleet. Today, these fascinating showpieces combine regular service with special events to create a unique and firmly established railway business. Yet these changes have not altered the line's traditional, down to earth and local atmosphere, well away from the excesses of mass tourist trade.

This video programme, which includes some rare archive footage, tells the story of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railways decline, rescue and restoration, also its plan for future progress in a landscape untarnished by the crowds and commercialism of the late twentieth century.

'What will be regarded as the definitive video tape of the W&l ... this production successfully encapsulates the character and ethos of our enterprise.' (Llanfair journal Review)





Number of discs: 1 DVD-R
Running Time: 39 mins (0hr 39min)

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Price:20.00 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 16.67 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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