A medley of unedited shots show locomotive 822 [The Earl] on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, a line opened in 1903 to connect rural communities with Welshpool which offered a market for farm produce. Filmed over a period of years (film stock used is dated 1946, 1955 and 1969) 822 hauls coal, cattle – and children – in summer and winter, lumbering through the town like a great iron beast, no gates or barriers to keep it at bay, to emerge ghost-like from its shed at night.
Footage shot by Ion Trant, originally from Dovea Farm, Tipperary, Ireland. He farmed Maesmawr farm, Welshpool (plus the adjoining farm, Cefn Du and a Radnorshire hill farm, Esgairdraenllwyn) with his wife, Janet (nee Lewis). Conscious of a growing gulf between town and country, he welcomed school visits to his farm and created the BBC children’s series "Country Close-Up" (1956-62), featuring his land and children. Regular work followed as a freelance cameraman on the BBC's farming programme and, also as cameraman, he visited the West Indies with sports commentator Max Robertson and Palestine and Israel with naturalist and erstwhile Superintendent of London Zoo George Cansdale.
National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales preserves and celebrates the sound and moving image heritage of Wales, making it accessible to a wide range of users for enjoyment and learning. Its film collection reflects every aspect of the nation’s social, cultural and working life across the 20th century, giving a fascinating insight into Welsh filmmaking, both amateur and professional