This film is part of Free

West London Line

A variety of hard working Great Western motive power is on display in this impressive and atmospheric film shot during the twilight years of steam in West London

Amateur film 1961 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


Setting off from Paddington this films visits the busy steam depot at Old Oak Common, where a variety of ex Great Western locomotives can be seen arriving and departing after taking on coal and water. Among the motive power seen are Kings, Castles, and Halls as well as numerous saddle and pannier tanks. There is some amazing footage filmed on the footplate while travelling back and forth along the West London line, with calls at Kensington [Olympia] and Clapham Junction.

This film is all the more remarkable because it shows steam enthusiasts being given access to the depot at Old Oak Common as well as signal boxes and engine footplates with, one imagines, the encouragement of their crews as well as other railway staff. This generous level of access has enabled the enthusiasts to capture some amazing scenes of working locomotives - whilst both stationary and travelling up and down the line - including shots through the cab's spectacle windows that give the driver's and fireman's point-of-view. Also notice how railway paraphernalia, like semaphore signals, water columns and coaling stations, now long disappeared, all adds to the nostalgic atmosphere of railway steam.