Archive for the ‘Competition’ Category

Lost narrow gauge

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

puzzle_b_w

N.g. wagons, but when and where? Photo BTWT.

Just when you thought that BTWT had faded away to just a memory, here is another of our infamous competitions! Dyspozytor has delved deep into his box of B&W photos and came up with the picture above.

A couple of narrow gauge wagons stand on a factory siding. In the background a would-be passenger makes a dash for a waiting tram.

30 or so years ago this could have been taken anywhere in Poland. So, where was the photo taken, and for some bonus points, when?

As usual the first BTWT reader to get the answer right wins our first prize: instant fame on the pages of BTWT and the chance to take Dyspozytor out for a meal of fish and chips.

Please send your answers to railfan [at] go2 [dot] pl. Good luck!

BTWT Brain-twister 3

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rebuilt and relaid 600mm gauge line, but where?
Photo BTWT.

(Click image to enlarge.)

In our last Brain-twister competition we asked, What links two of Poland’s newest underground stations with a 15th century confirmation of a union between two nations? Amazingly our previously astute and assiduous competition solvers all seem to have been asleep for this round although it was so very easy!

The latest underground station to open in Poland is at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport as reported in BTWT on 22 May. Identifying the station would have won 2 of the 6 marks available. Previous to that the last underground station to open in Poland was not on Line 1 of the Warsaw Metro, but the pre-metro, fast tram station underneath Krakow Glowny main line railway station. Identifying the pre-metro station would have gained another 2 marks.

Finally, both stations link to the old Warsaw – Krakow railway which passes through Radom. The Commonwealth of Poland and Lituania was confirmed there in 1401. Identifying Radom and its treaty would have earned the final two points.

Today’s brain-twister is even easier. For example, identifying the narrow gauge railway above gains an automatic single point! Though you will have to work quite hard to gain all the 6 points available for fully solving today’s riddle:

     Two neighbours – different in all ways but one,
One carries people on their annual quest to the sun.

The other carries treasure wrested from the deep,
Is little known, less lauded, but by no means asleep.

BTWT Brain-twister – 2

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gloriana during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Photo tonylanciabeta.

(Click to enlarge. Click here for details of licensing.)

Much to our delight Mark Judd got the full 6 marks that were there to be scored from the first BTWT Brain-twister. The Royal vessel was the Gloriana a royal barge built by master boat-builder Mark Edwards for the Royal Jubilee River Pageant. Mark Edwards is a Cornishman.

The Gloriana flew, amongst others, St Piran’s flag, the flag of Cornwall. St Piran was a 6th century Cornish abbot.

The historic steam locomotive was Richard Trevithic’s engine built for the Pen-y-Darren tramroad, the world’s first railway locomotive. Trevithic was a famous Cornish engineer who pioneered the use of ‘strong steam’ (high pressure steam) and left behind a string of inventions, but died in poverty. The Trevithic window in Westminster Abbey depicts St Prinan, the patron saint of Cornwall with the head of Trevithic.

And for our next brain-twister. What links two of Poland’s newest underground stations with a 15th century confirmation of a union between two nations?

Xmas Competition – The Final Curtain

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Digitally enchanced location 12 courtesy Google Satellite View.

(Click image to see this area on a Google Maps satellite view which can be zoomed and scrolled.)

When we announced the results of the Xmas/New Year Competition – the area near Sierpow, a junction on the Ozorkow branch of the Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways – we posed some questions. (See the inset text below.)

Look at the layout here as shown on the Railmap – Kolejowa Mapa Polski website. Click on the link and when the map showing Sierpow and Sierpow Waskotorowyopens click the “RM Map” button – the last but one of the six buttons on the top right of the picture.

Google Map and Railmap hybrid map.

(Click map to enlarge.)

The new map – a hybrid of the Google Maps and the Railmap mapping – shows the narrow gauge Lesmierz branch peeling off in a northbound direction and running over the route taken by the standard gauge branch, rather than peeling off in a southbound direction and running alongside the road. Is this just a mapping error, or does Railmap indicate an earlier route.

Now thanks to Inzynier and Ross we know some of the answers. It is a mapping error, the narrow gauge line to Lesmierz and beyond did peel of southwards and ran alongside the road to Lesmierz. The Railmap cartographer assumed incorrectly that the post-WWII standard gauge line to the Lesmierz sugar refinery followed the line of the older narrow gauge connection.

Sierpow, 1944 1:2500 map Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny Map Archive

What is more, the Railmap mapping (the map can be scrolled and zoomed just like Google Maps) shows the branch running much further than Lesmierz, and then splitting into three branches terminating at Janowice, Przewiska and Jackowice Waskotorowe. I had no idea that this system ever existed. Can any reader, more studied in the intricacies of the narrow gauge lines hereabouts cast any more light on the subject.

Inzynier confirms that several other sugar refineries to the East had their lines connected to the Lesmierz system quite soon after WW II. He has written an article about the Lesmierz sugar beet lines which, when we have sorted out appropriate photographs, we hope to publish shortly.

But that is not the only mystery! Looking at the Google Maps mapping (Click the image at the head of the article and then choose “Map”.) shows a standard gauge branch line apparently terminating in the hamlet of Lubien, the rubrik kopalnia rudy zelaza (iron ore mine) helpfully identifies the purpose of the branch – or does it?

Click the “Satellite” view button. The standard gauge line terminates in a circular wooded area which could have been an opencast mine, now filled in with the rubbish of Lodz and planted over. There are some buildings to the East of the wood which look industrial. We will come back to this standard gauge line in a minute, but for the moment click “+” once to enlarge the picture and look at the centre of the bottom half. A narrow gauge formation peels of northwards, does a 90 degree turn and heads of to the South West.

Scroll the map by clicking and dragging, and follow the line. It crosses the standard gauge Lodz Kaliska – Kutno line at right angles and shortly afterwards makes a sharp 45 degree turn clockwise and heads due West. Given the proximity of the Lesmierz refinery, there can be little doubt that this was once one of the many feeder lines that mostly saw traffic during the sugar beet season. Follow the formation as far as it goes. It appears to stop in the village of Skromnica, the last 300m now taken over by a farm track.

Leczyca area, 1934 1:300,000 map courtesy WIG archive.

Inzynier sent us a copy of the WIG mapping for the area. It confirmed what we had expected: the Lesmierz sugar beet extended to the West of the standard gauge Kutno – Lodz line. But we had no idea how far the system had once extended!

Now a branch of the standard gauge branch comes into view. This line, substantially engineered with sweeping curves terminates in an airport. Google Maps shows no name or details. Using Wikipedia on the names of the nearest villages elicits no information. Though Poland left the Warsaw Pact some 22 years ago – this place, whatever it is, might as well not exist.

Thanks to Ross, who demonstrated more patience and skill with Google than we did, we now know that the standard gauge line leads to the Leznica Wielka airbase, the home of the 37 Dywizjon Lotnicze (37th Air Squadron).

 

Xmas/New Year Competition – Final

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Finally, the last piece of the jigsaw falls into shape, but location No.12 actually raises more questions than it gives answers! ‘Slippy map’ courtesy Google Maps.

(‘Click and drag’ to scroll. Click on scale to zoom.)

Our final satellite view shows the crossing on the level of the standard gauge freight branch to the Lesmierz sugar refinery with the Ozorkow branch of the Krosniewice Narrow Gauge Railway. The Krosniewice system – the eastern portion of the erstwhile Kujawy Narrow Gauge Railways – has been featured many times on BTWT.  Standard gauge trains travelling over the crossing were protected by two semaphore signals on the n.g. line and these were visible from the main road, so it is doubly surprising that no reader managed to identify this location.

On the right edge of the picture, about a quarter of the way up from the bottom, a minor road forks off the route “1” main road and heads off towards Lesmierz; a narrow gauge branch also served the refinery, came off the line to Ozorkow, and ran alongside this road. So far so good, but now look at the layout here as shown on the Railmap – Kolejowa Mapa Polski website. Click on the link and when the map showing Sierpow and Sierpow Waskotorowy opens click the “RM Map” button – the last but one of the six buttons on the top right of the picture.

The new map – a hybrid of the Google Maps and the Railmap mapping – shows the narrow gauge Lesmierz branch peeling off in a northbound direction and running over the route taken by the standard gauge branch, rather than peeling off in a southbound direction and running alongside the road. Is this just a mapping error, or does Railmap indicate an earlier route.

What is more, the Railmap mapping (the map can be scrolled and zoomed just like Google Maps) shows the branch running much further than Lesmierz, and then splitting into three branches terminating at Janowice, Przewiska and Jackowice Waskotorowe. I had no idea that this system ever existed. Can any reader, more studied in the intricacies of the narrow gauge lines hereabouts cast any more light on the subject.

But that is not the only mystery! Looking at the Google Maps map at the head of this article and clicking the link “larger view” shows a standard gauge branch line apparently terminating in the hamlet of Lubien, the rubrik kopalnia rudy zelaza (iron ore mine) helpfully identifies the purpose of the branch – or does it?

Click the “satellite” view button. The standard gauge line terminates in a circular wooded area which could have been an opencast mine, now filled in with the rubbish of Lodz and planted over. There are some buildings to the East of the wood which look industrial. We will come back to this standard gauge line in a minute, but for the moment click “+” once to enlarge the picture and look at the centre of the bottom half. A narrow gauge formation peels of northwards, does a 90 degree turn and heads of to the South West.

Scroll the map by clicking and dragging, and follow the line. It crosses the standard gauge Lodz Kaliska – Kutno line at right angles and shortly afterwards makes a sharp 45 degree turn clockwise and heads due West. Given the proximity of the Lesmierz refinery, there can be little doubt that this was once one of the many feeder lines that mostly saw traffic during the sugar beet season. Follow the formation as far as it goes. It appears to stop in the village of Skromnica, the last 300m now taken over by a farm track.

Now a branch of the standard gauge branch comes into view. This line, substantially engineered with sweeping curves terminates in an airport. Google Maps shows no name or details. Using Wikipedia on the names of the nearest villages elicits no information. Though Poland left the Warsaw Pact some 22 years ago – this place, whatever it is, might as well not exist.

Oh and I nearly forgot – the results! This time you needed more than the answer, you had to be the first to submit the correct answer to win the point. Undoubtedly those players who had subscribed to our e-mail ‘early warning system’ had an advantage! Dyspozytor set three questions which baffled everybody, so he gets three points. Inzynier also scored three points (and got several more questions correct).

Waldemar Heise scored five points and is the overall winner!

Xmas/New Year Competition – No. 12

Monday, 30 January 2012

The last mystery location. Satellite photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click image to enlarge.)

After a record 7 weeks – BTWT competitions usually drag out for much longer – we have reached the very last round. Starting on 8 December as our ‘Christmas Competition’, the contest played 7 rounds in 2011, and then morphed into our ‘Xmas/New Year Competition’ for another 5 rounds in January.

Today’s round is not helped by the lack of any high resolution image of the area in Google Map ‘satellite view’. The location has been deliberately chosen because it is so confusing. If you look carefully, you will see standard gauge lines, narrow gauge lines, and what could be either! As throughout the rest of this competition, the first person to identify the the area correctly gets the point.

Location No.11 stumped everybody apart from Inzynier. He writes,

From your clue about following steam trains, I first thought of Gniezno, as I remember chasing steam by car along here, and the line runs in the same sort of orientation, but there’s no matching location.  Sroda runs in the wrong direction.

By the time I started visiting the sugar beet lines, steam trains had disappeared.  But I remember driving out from Kruszwica with the railway running almost alongside the road before curving away near the entrance to a farm, which is the location of this photo.  I think I may have some video (certainly some still photos) taken from this location during the period between 1996 and 2002.

Spot on! Inzynier kindly did dig up his photos and found two glorious autumn evening sunlight pictures taken exactly at the No. 11 location in October 1996. Given the flat wagon, box van and the odd passenger coach I would guess this is a mixed P.W. / sugar beet train bringing home the track gang from a day’s work sorting out a few rough places. I passed through here in the early 1970s and caught sight of a steam-hauled train quite by chance.

West bound train near Kruszwica, October 1996. Photo Inzynier.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Kruszwica Railway, the same train a while later. Photo Inzynier.

(Click image to enlarge.)

Google Maps ‘slippy map’ view of location No. 11

 

Xmas/New Year Competition – No. 10

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The 10th mystery location. Satellite photo Google Maps.

(Click to enlarge.)

Many years have passed since the last train ran along these hills and today the former narrow gauge railway has become a road. Sometimes the modern road abandons the former railway track and takes a more direct route where the trains once hugged the contour and took a more roundabout route.

Our last Google satellite view was the former site of the Radzymin terminus of the erstwhile Marecka Kolej Dojazdowa which was an important part of the transport infrastructure of Warsaw’s right bank and ran from Warszawa Wilanow station to Radzymin.

The first correct reply came from Inzynier who compared the copious clues with some of the information given in earlier BTWT posts. The other came from Waldemar Heise who utilised his Polish Ordnance maps (WIG) from the 1930s and came in with the answer some 8 hours later. So the point goes to Inzynier.

Part of the WIG 1:25,000 map of the Radzymin area.

Map Archive of Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny:

Xmas/New Year Competition – No. 9

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The 9th mystery Polish n.g. location. Satellite photo Google Maps.

(Click to enlarge.)

It has been many years since trains ran into this station. Yet in its heyday, it was the terminus of a very busy narrow gauge railway which should be known – by reputation, if not from personal acquaintance – to most BTWT readers. I paid two visits to the line when it was still working, once in the 1960s and once in the 1970s, and on the occasion of my last visit managed to talk myself aboard the footplate for a brief ride while our engine, a Px48, was running round its train at this very location.

Armed with a fistful of clues, I trust that today’s location will prove a walkover. The same cannot be said for our last location which stumped everybody. This is quite surprising given that the line closed as recently as 2008, and would have been seen by anyone looking out of the window and travelling by train from Krakow to Przeworsk and destinations further East.

The line was the 600 mm Igloobud brickworks railway in Debica. It carried clay from an opencast mine in Wolica – a suburb of Debica – to the brickworks adjacent to the mainline. It was opened in 1968 and served for 40 years. Most of the track, except that buried in the street, was dismantled in May 2009. Had it not been for the Ministry of Finance regulation that owners of industrial railways have to pay local authority taxes on their railways, the line might be running still.

A Google Maps ‘slippy map’ (can be scrolled and zoomed) of the No. 8 location on the Debica brickworks railway.

More:

Xmas/New Year Competition – No. 8

Saturday, 14 January 2012

There’s a n.g. railway there, somewhere! Satellite photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click image to enlarge.)

BTWT competitions are legendary for dragging on for months and months and our 2011 Christmas Competition is no exception, as it has now extended itself into a Xmas / New Year competition. There will be 4 more instalments after this one, so at the current rate of progress we should be able to announce a winner sometime in March!

Our last location (No. 7) was on the Starachowice Narrow Gauge Railway, although the most prominent features on the satellite photo are the formations of the standard gauge lines which were part of the ZGM Zebiec factory.

This plant is something of a mystery. It started in the 1950s ostensibly with the mission of extracting and concentrating the iron ore content of the sands which lie in a belt from Lubien through Tychow as far as Mirzec. The process proved uneconomical which should have meant the end of the company. But in Poland anything is possible! ZGM Zabieniec morphed from a mining company to one producing central heating boilers.

To complicate matters still further we have come across reports that in the 1950s a company in the Starachowice area was engaged in uranium mining and processing. So perhaps the ‘iron ore concentration plant’ was just a cover story? In actual fact the location of the uranium facility – if it existed – is not known to us.

The history of the Starachowice Narow Gauge Railway is no less complicated. Constructed in 1950 to link Starachowice and Ilza, the line utilised substantial portions of a late 19th century 750 mm gauge railway network which carried iron ore to the blast furnaces at Starachowice.

The relationship between old and new lines is shown on the diagrammatic map which was prepared during the time that the line was being operated by the Rogow-based Polish Narrow Gauge Foundation (FPKW). At its peak the pre-PKP n.g. network totalled some 60 km. The 1950 PKP railway was 20 km long.

By the 1990s regular passenger traffic had ceased though the line was used for occasional diesel hauled specials. I was lucky enough to see one of these in operation before PKP closed the line in 1997 and transferred the rolling stock elsewhere. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the FPKW the line was taken over by the Starachowice District Council in 2003 and initially operated by the FPKW. Sadly during the 6 years the line was defunct about a third of the track was stolen by scrap thieves.

At the end of the 2008 season, a row between the then FPKW chairman, Pawel Szwed and volunteers led to a decision by the District Council not to renew the operating agreement with the Foundation. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons the line was operated by the Bytom-based Upper Silesian Narrow Gauge Railway Society. In 2011, the line was based by the Friends of the Jedrzejow Railway Association.

In practice, much of the volunteer base has remained the same throughout these and only the management has changed.

Three correct answers were submitted, by Waldemar Heise, Ed Beale and Inzynier. Waldemar was first and so takes the point.

A Google Maps ‘slippy map’ (can be scrolled and zoomed) of the No. 7 location on the Starachowice n.g. railway.

More:

Christmas Competition – No. 7

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A very interesting, yet somewhat confusing location. Satellite photo courtesy Google Maps.

(Click to enlarge.)

The battle for first place in our Christmas competition is warming up. Waldemar Heise challenged our assertion that only Ed Beale correctly identified our last but one location as Umianowice on the Jedrzejow railway and, after checking all the correspondence that we received, the judges have accepted the challenge!

We received Ed’s answer on 21 December at 16:50, but Waldemar had already sent in an answer at 00:27 on the same day, which we somehow overlooked. Our sincere apologies to both Waldemar and Ed over the mix-up – the judges have had no choice, but to transfer the point for that round from Ed to Waldemar.

It is probably a good time to revisit the corrected score board:

1st round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Przemtorf Peat Plant)
2nd round – Ed Beale, 1 point (Karczmiska depot)
3rd round – Inzynier, 1 point (Hajnowka depot)
4th round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Golczewo)
5th round – Waldemar Heise, 1 point (Umianowice)

No correct entries were received for our last location which was in Przeworsk on the Przeworsk narrow gauge railway, so the point goes to Dyspozytor. Waldemar appears unbeatable with 3 points, but there are 7 more rounds to play, so anything is possible as far as the final score goes.

Our last location – the curve at Preworsk. ‘Slippy’ map courtesy Google Maps.

Christmas Competition – No. 3

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Today’s mystery narrow gauge location courtesy Google Maps.

(Click image to enlarge.)

More players have joined the competition. Welcome to to one and all. We are particularly pleased to see participants who are taking part for the first time. There will be 12 questions in all, so, if you would like to play the game, it is not to late to join.

The last mystery picture was of Karczmiska depot – easily recognised by its distinctive double-ended shed and triangle – on the Naleczowska Kolej Dojazdowa, literally ‘Naleczow Feeder Railway’.

Poland’s koleje dojazdowe cause a problem for the translator. In English, secondary lines are not generally referred to as ‘feeder railways’, If they are standard gauge they are colloquially called ‘branch lines’, though formally they are railways. Narrow gauge are usually just ‘railways’. The Ffestiniog Railway is owned and operated by the Festiniog Railway Company. (Yes the different spelling of ‘Ffestiniog’ is correct!)

However, some British narrow gauge railways are called ‘narrow gauge railways’, the erstwhile North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways immediately spring to mind. Perhaps the closest to kolej dojazdowa in the physical sense of ‘a lightly laid feeder railway’ is the term ‘light railway’, which like kolej dojazdowa can be applied regardless of gauge.

However, in England this term has acquired a legal sense – a line laid under the powers of the Light Railways Act – and only certain light railways in the formerly Prussian administered areas of Poland were built under the terms of equivalent legislation.

In Poland there is a general tendency for former narrow gauge koleje dojazdowe, now operating as heritage lines, to brand themselves as koleje waskotorowe, so by translating in BTWT the names of such lines as the ‘Something or other Narrow Gauge Railway’ we are only following the trend.

Waldemar Heise, Inzynier and Michael Friedrich correctly identified Karczmiska, but Ed Beale was first and so gets the point.

A ‘slippy’ satellite picture of the Karczmiska area, which can be expanded, scrolled or viewed in Google Maps.

Christmas Competition – No. 2

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A narrow gauge location somewhere in Poland courtesy of Google Maps. But where?

(Click to enlarge.)

A warm welcome to Waldemar Heise who entered the labyrinthine domain of BTWT competitions for the first time only to immediately snatch a point just as Dyspozytor was gazing longingly at another bottle of Zubrowka. Waldemar was the only person to submit an entry. Come on BTWT regulars, where are you all? Dozing off to many pre-Christmas party drinks, I expect.

There’s something to said for the Polish custom whereby the whole country celebrates St Andrew’s day and then everybody slows down their rate of beverage consumption until Christmas. Andrew is the patron saint of countries not particularly known for being abstemious: Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, and in bygone times, Prussia.

While on the subject of saints, here is a brief note about Saints Barbara and Catherine in reply to a couple of recent comments by Robert Hall. St Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because her wicked father was struck down by lightning. St Catherine looks after railwaymen, because Emperor Maxentius ordered her to be tortured on a spiked wheel. So Barbara – explosives; Catherine – wheeled transport. Easy!

Our congratulations to Waldemar for correctly identifying the Przemtorf Peat Processing Plant – and its narrow gauge railway at Nowy Chwalim near Szczecinek. There are some nice photos of the railway on Peter Wilhelm’s fascinating Eisenbahnen in Pommern website. Below is a ‘slippy’ satellite picture of the peatfields, which can be expanded, scrolled or viewed in map view.

Christmas Competition – No. 1

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Somewhere in Poland courtesy of Google Maps. But where?

(Click to enlarge.)

Our last competition seemed to go down quite well, so here is another, specially devised for the holiday season. Between now and the New Year we will be publishing Google satellite views of a dozen narrow gauge railway locations scattered around Poland.

All you have to do is to be the first to send in the correct answer to gain a point. If no one submits a correct answer before the next question is published, Dyspozytor gets a point. Answers may be submitted either via the Comments facility or by e-mail to our mail box: railfan [at] go2 [dot] pl.

The person who gets the maximum amount of points is the winner. The winner gets to take Dyspozytor out for a drink / a bottle of Zubrowka (delete as appropriate!).

Film competition – tie breaker

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The magician starts his journey home from Edinburgh Waverley station. Still from Sylvain Chomet’s L’illusionniste.

(Click image to expand.)

Consternation reigned in the BTWT tower when it became clear that there is no overall winner in our film competition. Much to our astonishment nobody identified our last mystery film as Sylvain Chomet’s L’illusionniste. This, the last appearance of Jacques Tati’s slightly jejune gentleman character (Mr Hulot’s Holiday, Traffic) albeit, albeit faithfully recreated in animated form, is a wonderful evocation of Britain about to be changed forever by the ‘swinging sixties’. There are many scenes of railway interest and Edinburgh never looked so attractive.

The film is a faithful tribute to Tati without ever becoming a pastiche. Based on one of Tati’s own scripts – which he never produced – it tells the story of two people whose paths intersect. The first is a magician of the music hall tradition, forced by changing public tastes to travel ever further – from cities to remote villages – to present his magic show. The second is that of a naive young girl, Alice, who still has the sense of wonder of childhood. The meeting of these two lonely souls is a tender and magical moment, but both are destined to move on…

Amazon currently have L’illusionniste available on DVD for £5.37. If you buy through our link below, a small contribution will be paid by Amazon to us.

The Illusionist [DVD]

A clip from our tie breaker.

With no one identifying L’illusionniste, Dyspozytor has notched up another point. The score is now: Gavin Whitelaw and Dyspozytor are  in joint first place with 4 points; Mike Winslow is second with 3 points and Alex Fitch is third with 1 point. Since splitting a bottle of Zubrowka in two might be a tad difficult [We could always meet up and drink it together! D.] our competition board have decided to hold a tie-breaker. Today’s film has a great deal of railway interest, but is probably better known by cineastes than rail fans.

Film competition – part 11

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Early London Underground District line driving coach. Still from Passport to Pimlico.

The BTWT editorial team are in Gdansk attending TRAKO, the international railway fair, so today’s post is just a quickie. The last mystery film was the well-loved Ealing comedy film, Passport to Pimlico, made in 1949. Much to our surprise the only person to get the answer right was Gavin Whitelaw. Gavin moves into first place with 4 points, Mike Winslow is second with 3 points, Dyspozytor has 2 points and Alex Fitch 1 point.

Amazon UK have a few DVD copies of Passport to Pimlico available for £4:39.

Passport To Pimlico 1949 [DVD]

A still from what film?

Film competition – part 9

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

GWR Castle Class 4-6-0. Still from The Ghost Train.

Our last competition was a little mean. We think a few more BTWT readers would have guessed that the last still was from the 1941 remake of The Ghost Train, if we had used a clip from the shot above. At the start of the film, the train engine – shown running westwards along the seawall at Teignmouth – is either 4084, Aberystwyth Castle, or 4094, Dynevor Castle. The number on the front buffer beam is not altogether clear. Then for  a brief couple of seconds the train engine is shown as a ‘streamlined’ GWR 4-6-0.

It is said that GWR CME, Charles Collet, had been pressurised by the GWR board to try out streamlining. Only two engines were subjected to the treatment – Castle class 5005, Manorbier Castle, and King class 6014, King Henry VII. By the time the film was made, both engines had lost much, though not all, of their streamlined ironmongery. Which of the two engines, the Castle or the King, was used in the film? It is difficult from the rather dark clip to be absolutely sure. Perhaps one of our GWR experts could identify the engine and give his reasons why?

The Ghost Train was originally written as a play by Arnold Ridley and, as such, became a great hit. Ridley was inspired to write it after becoming stranded overnight at Mangotsfield railway station near Bristol. The station was situated on two sides of a a triangle and one of the three routes by-passed the station. The sound of  ‘invisible’ trains apparently passing through the station gave Ridley the inspiration to write the play. The play was filmed many times. Our stills are from the film directed by Walter Forde and released by Gaumont in 1941. The film is a treasure chest of GWR memories. It is available as a DVD through Amazon UK for £6-99.

Ghost Train [DVD] [1941]

The winner of our last round? Gavin Whitelaw, Mark Judd and John Savery submitted corrected answers, but Gavin dashed in first to take the point. The score so far: Mike Winslow and Gavin Whitelaw joint first with 3 points, Alex Fitch and Dyspozytor trailing behind with one point each. A word of warning – so far the going has been relatively easy. Now it’s time bring on our fast bowlers!

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Today’s mystery film. It’s a googly!

Film competition – part 8

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Sprague-Thomson first-class car interior in 2007.

(Click picture to see original on the Discover France website.)

We thought that our last question with the iconic picture of the Sprague metro coaches crossing the Seine in Paris would bring in a great crop of entries. But, much to our surprise mystery film 7 stumped everybody except Mike Winslow who guessed correctly: Barnardo Bertolucci’s 1972 mainstream cinema debut, Last Tango in Paris.

The score is now: Mike Winslow in the lead with 3 points, Gavin Whitelaw – 2 points, Alex Fitch and Dyspozytor trailing behind with one point each.

Incidentally a number of the Sprague coaches survive on a disused section of the Paris metro. Some great photographs taken by Rookinella can be seen on the Dark Places website.

Unidentified Flying Engine?

Today’s mystery picture is rather unusual. Who will be the first to guess the film?

 

Film competition – part 7

Monday, 26 September 2011

This second clip from Train of Events shows the technical difficulties of recording moving pictures on film in low light conditions.

The last mystery picture was from the shed sequence in Train of Events. Congratulations to Gavin Whitelaw and Mike Winslow for identifying the film. Mike Winslow beat Gavin by a couple of hours and so takes the point. The score now is: Gavin Whitelaw and Mike Winslow both in the lead with 2 points, Alex Fitch and Dyspozytor trailing behind with one point each.

Train of Events was made by Ealing Studios in 1949 and stars Jack Warner and Gladys Henson. Express locomotives had already been hastily repainted in an early British Railways livery while less prestigious engines still carried LMS markings. The locomotives seen in the train include two LMS  Jinty class 0-6-0Ts, and a LMS Royal Scot class 4-6-0 plays a leading role. Much of the initial filming was carried out at Willesden Shed – a favourite location in my gricing days. As well as masses of railway technical detail from the days of steam on the ex LNWR main line, the film accurately portrays the hierarchical social relationships in a large steam shed. Train of Events is available on DVD from Amazon UK for only £6:93.

Train of Events [DVD]

Today’s mystery still is from one of several ‘metro’ stills which feature in our competition. The film is very well known, so again no clues. First one with the correct answer gets the point.

A still from our 7th mystery film.

Film competition – part 6

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A still from the opening sequence of Citizen Kane

Nobody identified the picture of the porter unloading crates as a still from the ‘newsreel’ sequence in Citizen Kane so the point goes to us! The scorecard now reads as follows: Gavin Whitelaw in the lead with 2 points, Alex Fitch, Mike Winslow and Dyspozytor – one point each.

Citizen Kane is one of the greatest films ever made. It was the first film that Orson Welles was to direct, he also played the leading character and contributed to the screenplay. Though made 70 years ago, the film’s original positioning as a modern American story remains true, even today.

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A still from today’s mystery film

Today’s mystery film should be well known in British railway enthusiast circles, so no clues. First one to post the right answer gets the point.

Film competition – part 5

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A second still from The Red Balloon.

I must try harder next time! Our last mystery film brought in a bumper crop of entries. Barry Drelincourt, Mike Winslow and David Hughes identified the film correctly as The Red Balloon, but Gavin Whitelaw beat them to it and takes the point. Gavin nudges into the lead with 2 points, Alex Fitch and Mike Winslow are close behind with one point each. Amazon UK have the film available for £7-99 on Blu-ray disk. Click the link below to purchase:

The Red Balloon [Blu-ray] [1956]

Another mystery film

Today’s film is another great classic and that is the only clue that I am going to give you!