Recently, I saw an advert for a video by Transport Video Publishing called Kings Cross Suburban Railway. We all reminisce about our childhoods and when we see something that provokes a memory, we often explore it further. This DVD took me back to my childhood where I lived at Stevenage on the East Coast Main Line. I used to go train spotting with my friends from the Stevenage Locomotive Society mostly at the old Stevenage station. Sadly in the mid 1970’s, the station was demolished and replaced by a new one about a mile south. Thus I found it enticing that this DVD covered a period on the East Coast Main Line I remembered as a child. I hopefully put it on my Christmas List and was lucky to receive this DVD as a present.
I found this DVD extremely interesting. It’s 60 minutes of full colour film with well dubbed sound. I love the fact it does not just concentrate on the locos and rolling stock but on the infrastructure including some of the stations and the signal boxes which I’d forgotten about. For example, The Belle Isle signal box below the North London Line close to the Copenhagen tunnel just outside Kings Cross. Regrettably it was demolished to make way for electrification. The site will have been passed by thousands of people completely unaware a signal box was ever there. For me it was fascinating to see and recall the locomotives and trains featured. Class 31s with the non-corridor suburban stock. These used to work between Hitchin, Welwyn or Hatfield into Kings Cross and Broad Street. The DVD even covers the line to Broad Street which many have forgotten about because it closed so long ago. However it did have a claim to fame when Paul McCartney made a film. The Cambridge buffet, headcode 1B66, is also featured complete with the Gresley buffet cars in blue and grey livery. These were the last of these designs of vehicles to remain in service.
The DVD of a DMU from Broad Street up the Hertford line. It is so fortunate that someone bothered to film this as it was captured not long after steam had finished. At this time the ‘paraffin cans’ (as diesel traction has been referred to by some railway enthusiasts) were considered not as interesting as steam. The DMU’s featured include the Craven’s designed Class 105 as they became under BR’s categorisation. To my knowledge only one Craven twin set remains and is being restored on the East Lancashire Railway at Bury. Also covered are the Deltics, one of my favourite diesel locomotives and two tone green Brush type fours or class 47’s as they became known. Even today, fifty years after they were designed, the 47’s still look to me like a modern locomotive. I’m delighted that diesel traction enthusiasts have manged to purchase so many of these so that they may be enjoyed on heritage railways and the mainline.
Features and customer reviews
In the early 1970s Kings Cross and the suburban lines to Hitchin and Cambridge had changed little since the days of steam. A wide variety of loco hauled services and DMUs worked an intensive timetable of semi fast, all stations and express services. This programme explores the route in the years after steam, and before electrification.
Running time 60 mins (approx)
Although there is only 1 customer review on Amazon, the reviewer scores the DVD top marks 5.0 out of 5.0
If you are considering purchasing a DVD that takes you back to the late 1960’s/ early 1970’s on the former Great Northern Railway suburban lines and you want to dwell in some nostalgia, I can highly recommend this DVD.
Kenneth Street says
Whilst I haven’t seen the DVD it is immediately clear that the Class 31 is entering Welwyn Garden City station where I spent many happy hours in the 1950’s and 60’s watching many steam locos and in the later years class 31’s etc. I also knew David Percival as a young teenager on his bike but I doubt he remembers me!
I’ve known David Percival for nearly 50 years. I joined the Stevenage Locomotive Society in 1970. Do you want me to remember you to him?