1hr 50mins
Dir: Anthony Simmons
Starring: Peter Sellers and Patricia Brake

A retired entertainer makes his living as a street musician in London, and befriends two young children

The title of this musical drama is usually abbreviated to The Optimists, and the film is based upon the 1964 novel of the same name written by Anthony Simmons, who also directed the film. Railways form the backdrop to many scenes and a good number of trains are visible. As the full title of the film suggests, most of these scenes were shot in the Nine Elms, Clapham, and Battersea areas of South London. The opening scenes feature two rare shots of Class 25 diesels, along with a more common Class 73 electro-diesel, working West London Line cross-London transfer freights and there are also glimpses of the rear end of another freight train, and a van train, the locos of which are not seen. There are some scenes filmed close to Battersea Railway Bridge as well and three freight trains are seen crossing here. One is hauled by a Class 33 diesel and its train contains a number of 4-wheel ‘Presflo’ cement wagons in its consist, but the other two trains have been edited so that again, the locos are sadly out of shot. One is a mixed freight and the other is a Blue Circle block train of 102-ton Bogie Presflo cement tank wagons. It isn’t all freight trains and locos that appear in this film though as blue-liveried EPB, HAP, and SUB electric multiple units are seen passing over viaducts in the Battersea and Wandsworth areas. When the two children head down some steps a number of railway tracks are visible on the other side of a fence. These are the steps opposite Battersea Dogs Home, leading down to Stewarts Road, and the tracks are the Stewarts Lane Reversible’s. BR suburban and express slam-door EMU’s are visible in the distance, crossing the overbridges on the Waterloo lines. A Class 50 on full throttle is heard in this shot, but it is not seen! Finally, when the two children run alongside a fence, a Class 411 4 CEP EMU passes by behind displaying headcode 03, London Victoria-Stewarts Lane empty. As an additional point of interest, the children’s father works at a foundry and in one scene, a rake of BR Banana Vans is visible at the loading dock of an adjacent building. This was filmed at Nine Elms (South Lambeth) Goods Depot.

The brake van at the rear of a freight train is visible in the centre of this shot. The train is on the West London line.
This is Chelsea Creek, and a Class 25 works a freight train along the West London line between what is now Imperial Wharf and Clapham Junction stations.
Whilst this coal train heading in the opposite direction is being worked by a Class 73
Class 25’s have proved a rarity on screen, but this film obliges us with two!
A pair of 4 SUB EMU’s are crossing this bridge somewhere in the Battersea/Nine Elms area
And this particularly fine shot shows a Class 33-hauled freight crossing Battersea (or Cremorne) Railway Bridge
Another mixed freight is crossing Battersea Railway Bridge in this shot, but only the wagons are seen
A pair of 2 HAP EMU’s cross The Causeway
Sadly, the locomotive hauling this block train of 102-ton Blue Circle Cement tanks is also not visible. Due to redevlopment the exact location of this shot is unclear, but it is filmed somewhere close to Chelsea Creek.
A lot of the action takes place here, at the site of the former Lion Works in Lots Road, Chelsea. A van train is running along the West London line on the opposite side of Chelsea Creek, beyond which is Fulham Gas Works.
A formation of 2-car EPB’s rumble along the viaduct above the kennels of Battersea Dogs Home
The children, played by Donna Mullane and John Chaffey talk to their father, played by David Daker, outside Nine Elms (Lambeth South) Goods Depot. A train of banana vans is visible in the loading platform on the other side of the fence. When traffic ceased in 1977, it was the last of the Nine Elms depots to close.
Their father returns to work, and walks down an access road along which is laid a railway line. To the left are buildings belonging to the Battersea Works of the Metropolitan Water Board whilst Nine Elms Goods Depot is on the right.
These steps lead down to Stewarts Road and the railway lines are those leading to Stewarts Lane depot. In the background, an express unit in BR blue and grey crosses the viaduct on its way to Clapham Junction.
Behind the fence is a 4 CEP unit running empty to Stewarts Lane. On the available evidence, it appears to be No.7144.