Railways in period dramas

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Condor7

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I have just watched (recorded from Friday) Parade's End on the BBC, it is a period drama.
Yet again TV producers/directors insist of filming steam trains on single track sections of line, even though the train depicted is an Express passenger.

I do realise that double track on preserved lines is not so common, but surely not so rare that a double section could not be used to at least give the impression that the train is on a main line.
 
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Harbon 1

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Thats not as bad as something advertised on ITV tonight, it looks like a 37 or 40 in BR blue with smoke around it. and the customary american steam whistle that is added to anything on wheels and rails <(
 

PaxVobiscum

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I have just watched (recorded from Friday) Parade's End on the BBC, it is a period drama.
Yet again TV producers/directors insist of filming steam trains on single track sections of line, even though the train depicted is an Express passenger.

I do realise that double track on preserved lines is not so common, but surely not so rare that a double section could not be used to at least give the impression that the train is on a main line.

I do not think it is so much that they "insist", rather that
(a) the researchers have not been sufficiently thorough (possibly due to (b) below)
(b) compromises have been made deliberately for budgetary reasons
(c) wilful directorial decisions

I can't help feeling that in some way we should be grateful that the production companies are still filming real trains rather than using CGI. If nothing else it provides another (very minority) audience group pointing out all the anachronisms and other errors.
 

John55

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I have just watched (recorded from Friday) Parade's End on the BBC, it is a period drama.
Yet again TV producers/directors insist of filming steam trains on single track sections of line, even though the train depicted is an Express passenger.

I do realise that double track on preserved lines is not so common, but surely not so rare that a double section could not be used to at least give the impression that the train is on a main line.

What's wrong with an express train on single track railway? Particularly in the earlier 20th century period plenty of single track railways with main line trains. It is not unknown today either.

Where was the journey supposed to be?
 

JoeGJ1984

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Of course there's the double-track Great Central Railway that could be used for express passenger trains - it would look right.
 

neilmc

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Maybe this is it, from the famous "4.50 From Paddington" the plot of which which requires two steam trains side by side (although the daytime single-line sequence is a bit lazy).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al4p47xMQ9U

There's a remake out more recently, but I think the series with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple was far superior in the care taken with historical details.
 

sbt

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IIRC the Bluebell recently did some trackwork on the Ardingly Branch to allow shooting for a film with two tracks in shot. I don't think it was pemanant but sections with a 'dummy' second track might be an idea for railways that host a lot of film work. There is, of course, the issue of maintaining it to a suitable standard and rust on the railhead.
 

fgwrich

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Mind you, there's been also sorts of mistakes on TV - i remember in the opening sequences of Gavin & Stacey (Didnt watch much of it, couldnt stand it after the first series)...of an ATW 150 in the Barry area, to the sound of an American horn. BBC rubbish dramas such as same city same hospital different hospital 'Holby City / Casulty' is good at film mistakes, plus the obligatory BBC Paxman Valenta HST screem in the background...
 

34Short

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Who gives a flying F**k?

TV Producers don't make shows for enthusiasts, they make it for the mass market. Stop picking holes and ruining it for yourself (and more likely others...)
 

swj99

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You can almost always find continuity or authenticity errors in tv and film set in anything other than present day. I remember an episode of Ashes to Ashes (set in the 1980s) and in a particular scene, a Mercedes Sprinter van drove past the end of a road.
If you think how much has changed even in 20 years, then you can imagine how much work is involved in making scenes look believable.
 

Condor7

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Who gives a flying F**k?

TV Producers don't make shows for enthusiasts, they make it for the mass market. Stop picking holes and ruining it for yourself (and more likely others...)

Hi Grumpy, it was only an observation, and thought it would make an interesting topic to chat about, don't worry yourself, nothing is being ruined by it.

It is a struggle I know, but I think I will just about manage to live with it! :)
 

KiddyKid

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I'd forgotten how bad that opening sequence to the 4.50 from Padd was for continuity. Russians in space, GWR liveried coaches, Merchant Navy on the front changing to a 80xxx Tank enroute, GWR antimacassers in the compo. At least it was nice to see Marylebone as it was prior to modernisation.:)
 

DXMachina

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like James Bond going to Belgrade in a green mk1 behind a Black Five, in 'From Russia with love'? Nobody cares.
 

PaxVobiscum

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TV Producers don't make shows for enthusiasts, they make it for the mass market. Stop picking holes and ruining it for yourself (and more likely others...)

Somehow I can't help feeling Peter Jackson was in charge, he would build (or at least CGI) a whole train if necessary, accurate to the last detail. :D
 

neilmc

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Somehow I can't help feeling Peter Jackson was in charge, he would build (or at least CGI) a whole train if necessary, accurate to the last detail. :D

Good idea! Maybe we could persuade him to redo "4.50 From Paddington" and that since this service was always headed by a Grange he'll need to build one from scratch. Or that "Brief Encounter" deserves a remake, but that the heroine almost throws herself under a "Patriot" steaming through Carnforth.
 

Squaddie

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I have just watched (recorded from Friday) Parade's End on the BBC, it is a period drama.
Yet again TV producers/directors insist of filming steam trains on single track sections of line, even though the train depicted is an Express passenger.

I do realise that double track on preserved lines is not so common, but surely not so rare that a double section could not be used to at least give the impression that the train is on a main line.
I watched this today, and was too engrossed by the story to notice such things. In fact, I didn't notice a single detail that looked out of place during the entire episode.

I really don't think it's important that the train in the episode is even of the correct type, never mind running on the right kind of track, as long as the impression it gives the average viewer is one of authenticity.
 

Waddon

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From a film-making point of view, trains are one of the most difficult and expensive things to shoot in and around for drama, simply due to the expense, the confined working space, the safety and insurance risks and the fact that re-setting the train back to it's start position when you have to do a retake takes so much time!

(if you have to film a car driving past a camera and you get it wrong, you just drive the car around the block and do it again... with a train you have to slowly reverse it a mile or so back down the line whilst everyone else sits around twiddling their thumbs)

Most film crews hate shooting on the railway for this reason, so they will either mock-up carriages in the studio and use stock footage or go to rail lines with lots of experience of working with crews, such as the Bluebell, hence the reason it appears in so many films
 

Tiny Tim

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As time passes it becomes much more difficult to film steam hauled trains authentic to the era. Sherlock Holmes must be a nightmare, set as it should be in the late 19th century. Finding suitable stations and track is almost as tricky. Some film makers (for which read lower budget) simply can't afford to spend zillions creating a scene that only rail enthusiasts will appreciate fully. Inevitably, some laziness leads to the wrong sounds (whistles etc) being used, but this may well be down to poor post-production rather than directorial decisions.

Suitable locos are one problem, the chances of getting a whole train of carriages for a particular era is almost impossible. And as for recreating the Orient Express in the 1930s - the mind boggles.
 

yorksrob

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Saw an episode of Poirot once with the preserved 4SUB unit in the background. It was set in World War 2 so only a couple of years out.
 

D2022

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I can't remember what the film was, but it was set in the early 1930s up north in Yorkshire or round that area...all great until the train turned up, into a GWR station with an LMS Ivatt hauling southern region liveried BR mk1s.....made me chuckle but to the average punter, it looks like a train, and sounds like a train. Good enough for me to live with:)
 

Harbon 1

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What about the 'Paddington Station' scene in Gavin and Stacey (by paddington, I mean marylebone with a big board up with a paddington station sticker on it). That wont be picked out by enthusiasts, just anyone who has ever used paddington, or marylebone, or knows that chiltern don't run to Wales :lol:
 

IanD

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In Coronation Street when somone's off to that London, they often shoot at Manchester Victoria and call it Piccadilly. Don't even bother to hide the Victoria signs.
 

Essexman

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Taggart once had a story that involved someone having been travelling from London on the sleeper as their alibi for a murder.

The story didn't seem to consider that a quick check off the records would have shown if the person travelled. Eventually a 'clever' detective thought that the person could have boarded at Motherwell but still got off at Glasgow, so they checked the CCTV. Lo and behold there was the suspect getting on the 'sleeper' at Motherwell. Only the 'sleeper' was a GNER train!
 

Drsatan

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Has anyone watched the Doctor Who episode called "Rise of the Cybermen" where even though the Doctor is supposed to be in Stratford, you can see a Central Trains 158 in the background in one scene?

In Mission Impossible, there is a scene where Tom Cruise clings to the roof of a TGV, which somehow is running using wireless power transmission because I can't see OHL!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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In the current run of Waterloo Road (you know, the documentary in a typical modern school(!)), there are fleeting glimpses of homilies from worthy people, posted on placards in the school (work hard - get rich; that sort of stuff).
I'm sure there is one there from one Richard Branson, though it's hard to be sure from the fleeting glimpse.
How topical at the moment.
Now we'll have to watch the rest of this crazy series on BBC1 to find out what the great man is quoted as saying...
 

colchesterken

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I chuckled at the Poriot Plymouth Express film. They were on a single track pulled by a pannier tank, good show like the plots
 

HH

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You can almost always find continuity or authenticity errors in tv and film set in anything other than present day.

It's true. The really old stuff is even worse. I remember watching an all-nighter of old Flash Gordon Saturday Matinee shorts, with Balsa Rockets. Really funny, especially when one was on fire and wouldn't go out in the external shots despite the crew on the inside all going, "Phew, that was a close call" and acting like the fire was put out. Obviously had too tight a budget to film it again...
 

aylesbury

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At Chinnor we have had many films made, our station is a recreation of the origonal building and the scene can be filmed to cut out all modern surroundings.The awful ITV Miss Marple had shots filmed along with Bledlow church at the station ,they even brought their own stationmaster!
 

jopsuk

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Of course there's the double-track Great Central Railway that could be used for express passenger trains - it would look right.

I'm betting that GC charge appropriately! Single track preserved lines are almost certainly a lot cheaper to hire out
 
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