1hr 03mins
Dir: Charles Crichton
Starring: Jenny Laird and Robert Griffiths

The lives of two families living and working on the Grand Union Canal

This excellent outdoor drama is a must for narrowboat enthusiasts though a number of trains also appear. The clearest of all these is a shot of a GWR ‘auto-train’ hauled by a 1400 Class 0-4-2T crossing the Thames and Severn Canal at Chalford in Gloucestershire’s ‘Golden Valley’. The shot was filmed originally for the 1940 Ealing drama The Proud Valley (qv) but did not make the final cut for that film. In addition to this some steam-hauled freight trains can be seen distantly crossing the canals in some shots. At Blisworth in Northamptonshire one appears to be hauled by an LMS Class 5MT ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0, but the other filmed at Willesden is too far off to make much out. There is also a montage sequence that shows canal boats serving industrial premises and in one of these some open wagons can be seen. There is then one final shot at the end of the film that has a brief glimpse of an industrial saddle tank at work in Woolwich Arsenal. Marvellous stuff indeed!

This is the Grand Union Canal at Blisworth in Northamptonshire and a steam-hauled freight train crosses the bridge in the background. The locomotive is possibly a ‘Black Five’ (or maybe an 8F). The fabulous water tower was in fact a pump house, and was used to pump water from the canal into locomotives stabled in Blisworth sidings. It had a water tower on top and was known locally as ‘The Gas House’ because it also featured a furnace used to create standard coal gas.
Madoline Thomas and Grace Arnold on their barge, as a train of open wagons stands on the bridge in the background. The bridge takes the West Coast main line across the canal but its beautiful ironwork was encassed in concrete when the line was electrified in 1965.
A GWR ‘auto-train’ hauled by a 1400 Class 0-4-2T steams away from the camera. As mentioned in the text above, this bridge takes the ‘Golden Valley Line’ across the Thames and Severn Canal at Chalford in Gloucestershire.
In this shot of an industrial site, three open mineral wagons are getting a rinse down
This is the Grand Union Canal in Willesden. Acton Lane Power Station dominates the skyline yet just visible to the right of centre is a steam locomotive working a lengthy freight train. The loco maybe a tank engine working bunker first but that is purely a guess on my part.
Among all the clutter on the dockside, which includes some military hardware, an industrial saddle tank can just about be made out. This is believed to be West Wharf (Ordnance) within Woolwich Arsenal.