1hr 31mins
Dir: John Paddy Carstairs
Starring: Frankie Howerd and Stanley Holloway

A sacked dog track attendant acquires his own greyhound to race

One of the quirks of this fantastic comedy is that Stanley Holloway lives in a railway carriage in scenes reminiscent of The Titfield Thunderbolt (qv). A group of crooks sabotage the coach by coupling it up to a freight and then uncoupling it again on the main line where it is demolished by a passing express. Most of these scenes appear to use models and studio reconstructions but there is one shot of an ex-GWR coach slotted in, No. W2342W. The coach is decorated with window boxes and is attached to a GWR ‘Toad’ brake van at the rear of a goods train. The crooks overpower the guard and then uncouple the coach mid journey, and this sequence of events sees good shots of the coach passing the camera coupled to the rear of a freight train though the locomotive is out of shot. Filmed on the Longmoor Military Railway, the detached coach comes to a stand only to be demolished by the express. This uses models and a hugely unrealistic explosion, but there is one genuine shot of the ‘The Merchant Venturer’ named express passing in the hands a ‘King’ Class 4-6-0. The coach that acts as Stanley Holloway’s home is undoubtedly a studio-set but a real coach, the one listed above, does appear to be used in certain shots. In one particular scene for instance, where Frankie Howerd comes to visit, several 16T mineral wagons are visible behind him.

Stanley Holloway outside his ‘house’, a rather homely railway carriage he has called ‘The Buffers’. How much of this is real remains to be seen.
Frankie Howerd pops by to say hello. The garden gate style addition is clearly part of the production but the 16T mineral wagons behind are very much the real thing. However, there is not enough on view to make an identification of the location even remotely possible.
Frankie Howerd and Stanley Holloway in the sumptious surroundings of the latters railway home. Very much a studio set, but added here for completeness.
Carriage 2342 is coupled to a ‘Toad’ brakevan at the rear of a freight train
Stanley Holloway’s house is seen more clearly in this daytime view, said to have been filmed on the Longmoor Military Railway. Note the window boxes!
A view from the guard’s verandah as the carriage is uncoupled
The coach stands all alone on the ‘main line to Doncaster’
Frankie Howerd and Stanley Holloway make a hasty retreat as the express bears down on them. This is clearly a different carriage in a different location.
This fabulous low-level shot shows a named Western Region express passing in the capable hands of a ‘King’ Class 4-6-0. Headcode 142 was for the down ‘Merchant Venturer’, the 11:15am Paddington to Weston-super-Mare via Bristol.