by Peter Hay
Midhurst was chosen, as a film location, because passenger services had been withdrawn but the track and buildings were still used for goods traffic.


Brighton engine shed provided 'Terrier' tank No 32640 - from the 1870's - and an old coach was rustled up from somewhere. On the appointed day I drove over from Brighton and met Gordon Allaston my area inspector and Locomotive Inspctor McCarthy. The film crew turned up in legions!

The story of the film concerned the partition of an island between two factions, and this was shown being done with a man pushing a cricket pitch white-marking machine through cottages, over a cow and into a tunnel among other places. Next, there was the whistle of an engine entering the tunnel (from the other end) and then the engine emerged complete with a white line right up its front.

On the film set No 32640 was fitted with a wooden 'cow catcher' and a balloon casing round its chimney, to give it the 'ye olde' look; and the British Railways insignia on the tanks were masked out. I understand that its is quite usual for a couple of minutes film to require hours of filming but in Midhurst that day it went very well

The engine was filmed going into the tunnel minus its white partitioning stripe - actually it was filmed coming out and the film was then reversed. The white stripe was then painted on and the engine filmed coming out 'suitably partitioned'. What was supposed to have happened to the partitioner and his marking machine was left unexplained. This was a comedy so he could hardly have appeared squashed to bloody pulp on the front of the engine.

It was a lovely sunny day, the job well done and everybody went home happy. I presume someone sent the film company a bill. It certainly made a change from holding enquiries into derailments and having to pump truth out of a well of assorted lies.

Links: The Film Carlton Browne of the F.O. The Terrier Trust & Western Steam Railway, the Resting Place of No 32640.
Branch Lines Around Midhurst may be ordered by phone from Vic Mitchell on 01730 813169 price £14.95 post free. When published the video will also be available from here too. Terrier Trust Website.

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Filming and railways in Sussex have a very long history.

What is probably the first moving picture of an English train shows the Worthing to London train entering Hove at the end of the nineteenth century.

For years the railway auhtorities have received requests from film companies to shoot scenes


Directed by Roy Boulting & Jeffrey Dell

Cast headed by Terry Thomas and Peter Sellers

Foreign Office diplomat Carlton-Browne
is dispatched to the remote British colony of Gaillardia to sort out a little local difficulty that's threatening to escalate to full-scale revolution. But can this incompetent upper-class twit have any real influence?

Read Terror of the Zygons - Dr Who - and how Tardis, illustrated above, was photographed at South Ambersham Common, Nr Midhurst

Dee's Foyle's War experiences in Midhurst
- read her story here

"Midhurst's railway past is to be relived in a new film, and the company responsible wants to hear from any former railwaymen who worked on the Midhurst branch lines.

The film, Branch Lines Around Midhurst, will focus on the long-lost railway links with Petersfield, Pulborough and Chichester.

Ian Pringle from the film-makers, Branch Line Video, said it had been possible to trace more than 30 minutes of rare archive cinefilm.

"With a superb portfolio of still photographs, this will form the core of a programme lasting around 70 minutes," Mr Pringle said.

Three days of location filming have already been undertaken, looking at a number of former stations along the route which still survive, as well as other relics of railway infrastructure."

Excerpt from The Midhurst & Petworth Observer September 28th 2006

Stay in The Old Railway Station, Petworth - Sleep in a Pulman carriage



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