GB 1958 30mins Dir: Bernard Knowles Starring: Robert Beatty and Paul Whitsun-Jones
Police make an exception to the rule and take up arms against a violent gang of robbers
Dial 999 was a British television series that ran for a total of 38 episodes from 1958 to 1959. It starred Robert Beatty as a Canadian Mountie working alongside Scotland Yard. Beatty was essentially reprising his role in the 1946 film Appointment with Crime (qv), in which he played a Canadian police officer attached to Scotland Yard. Although popular in the UK, where this became one of many such series’, Beatty’s involvement failed to make Dial 999 the hoped for success in the North American market. As it is a TV-series Dial 999 does not merit a formal listing, but like the police in this episode I too have made an “Exception to the Rule” because this one episode features something very rare indeed. We are treated to some marvellous shots of a Sentinel vertical boliered geared steam locomotive working at the Standard Brick & Sand Company at Holmethorpe, near Redhill, in Surrey. The locomotive is works/no.6994 built by Sentinel of Shrewsbury in 1927 as a vertical-boilered loco. It was delivered initially to the Jersey Eastern Railway where it formed the ‘power unit’ of a Sentinel steam railcar, but the railway closed in June 1929, and after the railcar was dismantled to provide holiday accommodation as a bungalow (!?) the locomotive was repatriated to England. By February 1935, the locomotive had been sold to William Jones Ltd. of Greenwich, London, who rebuilt it with a steel body as an 0-4-0 geared shunting locomotive. It eventually moved to Redhill in 1946. In June 1962, it moved again, this time to the Kent & East Sussex Railway where it remained until March 1973 when it was sent to Aylesbury Scrap Metals for disposal. In addition to this lovely treat, there is a brief shot of a Southern Region electric service passing on the Redhill avoiding line.