That Titfield Thunderbolt

Our regular photographer and lover of steam trains Rob Coles reminds me that March 5th is the 70th anniversary of the release of The Titfield Thunderbolt and draws our attention to a YouTube video which looks at what remains today of the abandoned branch line on which this early colour movie was filmed. A line very close to Bath!

He writes:

‘You may like the clip below which has just been published on YouTube by Terrier55Stepney.

I know the lady who lives in what was Mr Valentine’s house in Church Hill, Freshford.  By coincidence we lived next door to a real Mr Valentine in Monkton Combe.  When the filmmaker says it is private land in Midford, it is on my son in law’s farm.   

He does not say that the cricket team was from Combe Down. It was filmed on a Sunday and the Monkton Combe school headmaster would not let his boys play on a Sunday.  The opening shot of the west country was also filmed on a Sunday with the train setting back for the various takes.

In much more recent years we got to know the assistant film editor, Harry Aldis.  All the editing was done in Ealing and he never visited the set 

There is a follow-on book telling the fictional story of what happened to the line, ‘Thunderbolts Last Run’, published by Simon  Castens who is also publishing a new book about the film.

Seventy years ago, and I remember cycling down Shaft Road on a Sunday to see the filming with Lion sitting in the yard”.

Thanks Rob.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Richard, I was very interested to read this post. I did my own casual research into the film locations last year when the film appeared on the BBC iPlayer. I created a ‘then and now’ document which I posted onto Facebook which you and your readers might be interested to see:
    I was particularly delighted to discover that the gate posts that lead into Titfield station are still there. Regards Phil

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