Video News

 Major Release -  
  - Fowler 7F 53809 "Comes Home" - to Bitton

53809 sleeve
Not only did the 7Fs run south from Bath, but also west to Mangotsfield and beyond.

53809 at last truly came home when it returned to Bitton, the base for Avon Valley Railway, courtesy of the 13809 Preservation Society. Filmed mostly in glorious autumn sunshine, the event attracted enormous interest.

With a running time of 58 minutes approx, and bonus footage 11 minutes approx, the DVD is available at £14.95 from The Signal Box ( see details below), Avon Valley Railway, and the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust.

                                        Also available on DVD :-

"Railways of the Avon Valley and Gorge" 

During 2004 we completed an ambitious project - "Railways of the Avon Valley & Gorge". Not since the prototype itself inaugurated HST services through the lower valley has there been so much interest and change - and how much do you know about the Upper Valley? Railways of the Avon Valley & Gorge The author grew up at one end of the system, worked near the middle, - and now lives at the other end. Drawing on local knowledge has imparted a fresh perspective. R/T 45 mins  £14.95 p&p free. VHS & DVD

"Puffed Out"

The "Lantern Films" story started in 1965, when another transport-&-travel minded friend, Ken Barter, agreed to film, while your webmaster simultaneously sound recorded, throughout filming, (on one of the still-new portable recorders), the Slow, very Delightful, S. & D. J. R.'s steam trains, before they were gone forever.  We believed we could fit  the two media together, synchronising "silent" 8 mm film with reel-to-reel tape. "Not possible" was the received wisdom of the time. However, if it could be done, such a record would have the power to transport its viewers back in time, to those hills through which the S & D services echoed their way.
Recording and filming for Puffed Out - Evercreech Junction
Filming/recording "Puffed Out", Evercreech Junction, 5 March, 1966

Five elapsed years, and three years of intensive direct work on the project, after closure of the railway, gave us three full 400 ft. half-hour reels of edited and sound-synchronised  film.  This was premiered by the then Somerset & Dorset Preservation Circle, in 1971.  "Puffed Out" was subsequently screened, for many years, to full houses all over Wessex - basically the area served by the S & D.

The vital difference made by the authentic sound recorded at the time of filming, is that - just as with a modern amateur camcorder - you hear the correct sounds made at the time by what's on screen -  such as wheel slip, dialogue with a driver, etc.

Puffed Out cover Recognising the age of the dedicated equipment used for live screenings, the age of the original print, and also a possible wider interest, a transfer to video, with additional editing, was successfully completed in 1998. "Puffed Out" was very nearly renamed "Ticket to Ride", as the on-train filming covers the complete system. "Heritage Railway"  March-April 2001 describes it as "A real historical artefact on celluloid - not to be...missed - a unique insight".  It has featured in "The Signal Box" Top Ten, reaching no. 2 (not to our surprise, of course!), and is available from them, Tel. 0116 - 2362901, FAX 0116 - 2340401, Heritage Railways, or your usual stockist.  Running time : 82 mins, DVD/VHS £14.95 post & packing free in the UK. In 2009 all four parent reels were rescanned by a teleciné process, and the improved edit released with an additional 8 minute bonus section, in 2010.
We are indebted to the late transport film historian, John Huntley, for encouraging us to publish "Puffed Out". Part of the encouraging letter

 "Filming the Somerset & Dorset Railway"

It has been a humbling experience to discover how popular the original Lantern Films video "Puffed Out" became. Many thanks to all who offered encouragement - and kind remarks when it was released. "Filming the S&D" is a chance to comment on some of the things that happened to us while filming, and show some of the footage - about 12-15 minutes worth - that never made it into that first video. These clips have been re-united for the first time with sound recordings made on location at the time of filming. Footage of Barry scrapyard leads into a peek at S&D Preservation.

41 mins, £14.95. DVD/VHS. Post & Packing is free in the UK from the distributors (see below).

Filming the S&D sleeve

"Going Somewhere"  - The Avon Valley Railway, between Bristol and Bath, has become a leading attraction in the area. We see a varied programme from the earliest days, including a plans-to-completion view of the new station on the river - "Avon Riverside". "Heritage Railway" magazine no.19, November 2000, very kindly gave this video a rave review. Running time :  VHS/DVD 53 mins, £14.95, post & packing free in the UK. Also available at Bitton station shop.
"Winter Wonderland" - 
Has now been updated to include:
Arosa Express
Glacier express
The "Canadian"
Cairngorm Funicular
The sleeve shows Arosa in February 2007. Late heavy snows had come to the region. The line is notable for running through the streets of Chur amid road traffic - which - amazingly -  has to take avoiding action! All sections were shot in winter conditions, and the running time is just over 80 minutes in total.

All DVDs £14.95 post & packing free in the UK, from the distributors:-
                                         Philip Fowler - ©1999 - 2012.

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