OILING THE WHEELS 90 YEARS AGO

Driver J W Street was the record breaker who wrote the book “I Drove the Cheltenham Flyer”. His favourite locomotive was "Castle" class 5006 "Tregenna Castle" which he described as the best engine for her work he ever had. My picture shows former film star 5006 “Tregenna Castle” at the end of her days on the scrap line at Swindon Works in 1962.

Filming of the "The Ghost Train" drama based on Arnold Ridley’s play was well under way 90 years ago and it finished at the end of June 1931. The Great Western Railway had been asked by Gainsborough Pictures Ltd to provide at least a week’s use of a line, a station, a swing bridge, the “Cornish Riviera” (especially for the American market), a large locomotive (“Castle” class 4-6-0 5006 “Tregenna Castle”) and other locomotives (“Dean Goods” 0-6-0 tender engine 2441 and 2-6-0 “Mogul” 6319) along with coaches and newspaper vans for the filming.

The filmmakers also needed help to furnish a waiting room and booking office and the interior of a corridor coach in the studios. GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer Charles Collett provided two staff with plans from the Swindon Works Carriage and Wagon department for this purpose. The film, which was about gunrunning by Russian smugglers, sees a train finally meet its end at the Barmouth Bridge on the Cambrian Line. Some filming took place at the actual bridge [now a listed structure], and for the climax of the film a model train made by Bassett Lowke Ltd is seen to plunge off the open [model] bridge. Sounds of passing trains were recorded at Langley (Bucks) station for two days in May 1931: the