Dir: Ann Wolff
Starring: Philip O’Connor and Eileen Colgan

The story of a surreal poem, acted out as a fantasy dream

This peculiar fantasy short is really bizarre and makes very little sense. It is based on a poem by Philip O’Connor and was funded by the BFI. Despite its nonsensical rambling, half of the story takes place at a rural Betchworth station, on the Guildford-Redhill ‘North Downs’ line. There are some excellent shots of the station and its infrastructure, yet no trains are seen here. There are, however, a couple of vintage stock shots of passing trains. One is of an LNER A1 4-6-2 on an express formed of teak coaching stock, and although it is impossible to confirm, I would put money on it being a shot of No.4472 Flying Scotsman. The second stock shot is a grainy tracking sequence showing SR ‘Lord Nelson’ Class 4-6-0 No.850 Lord Nelson itself, and this shot appears twice in quick succession.

An LNER express of the 1930s hauled by an A1 Class 4-6-2. This is probably stock footage of No.4472 Flying Scotsman, which was gaining in popularity by this point.
Despite the poor nature of this tracking shot the loco can be identified. Again, this is vintage footage from the 1930s and it shows the first of the Southern Railway’s ‘Lord Nelson’ Class 4-6-0s, No.850 Lord Nelson. The loco is now preserved as a part of the National Collection.
An overall view of Betchworth station, as seen from behind the up platform
A formidable looking Eileen Colgan stands on the up platform at Betchworth, a shot that shows the main station building on the down platform to good effect. Although the wooden shed and toilet block to her right have been removed, the main building happily still stands.
The porter shuffles milk churns along the up platform in this long lens view of the station. The pointwork behind him gave access to Betchworth Quarry, and although these are now closed, the siding still remains.
Peter Hurst-Smith plays the part of the porter and he is joined here by Eileen Colgan in this view looking north east towards Reigate and Redhill. It is unfortunate that the delightful wooden shelter on the up platform has been removed for otherwise the station has changed little.
Quentin Crisp stands in the doorway of the signal box, which formed part of the main station building. For added interest, he film includes some shots inside the box.
An overall view of the station from Station Road level crossing. This is a view southwest towards Dorking.
Quentin Crisp and Eileen Colgan offer a theatrical glimpse of proceedings
This unusual elevated view of the level crossing has been added for completeness
Peter Hurst-Smith, Eileen Colgan, and Quentin Crisp on the up platform at Betchworth. This final shot shows plenty of interest, including the ‘S’ stop mark for drivers calling at the station and the delightful cast iron notice.