Dir: John Ford
Starring: Michael Trubshawe and Maureen Potter
Three vignettes of old Irish country life based on a series of short stories
This Irish anthology consists of three short films. The second story, A Minute’s Wait, is based on a 1914 one-act comedy by Martin J. McHugh and features rare shots of the 3’ gauge West Clare Railway. The station used for the majority of the film was Kilkee, renamed ‘Dunfaill’ for the occasion, and the train was formed of 1892-built Dubs & Co. Class 5C 0-6-2T No.5 Slieve Callan with carriages 7 and 27. The loco was repainted into a special black livery with silver and yellow lining and was given the new identity of ‘BDR No.14 Viceroy’, whilst coaches 7 and 27 were renumbered ‘145’ and ‘178’ respectively. A goods van on the rear was fitted out as a brake van and the whole ensemble represented a train on the fictitious ‘Ballyscran & Dunfaill Railway’. These rare scenes include some very good shots of the train travelling through the countryside and passing over a level crossing. Loco No.5 was the last steam loco to remain on the line and although withdrawn by the time of filming, it was returned to steam for the occasion, but was towed to and from Kilkee by a diesel. Each story is introduced by American actor Tyrone Power, and the actors listed above are two who appeared in A Minute’s Wait. It is a brilliant story, and very funny. It is an absolute blast and the heavy shunt scene in particular is most amusing. The West Clare Railway, meanwhile, was a fairly complex narrow-gauge system in County Clare which opened in 1887. The system pioneered diesel traction, with all passenger services dieselised by 1952, yet the whole line had closed by the beginning of 1961. As the last working steam loco, No.5 Slieve Callan has become the sole survivor of the line’s steam fleet. A preservation society maintains a railway museum and has successfully re-opened a section of the railway as a passenger-carrying heritage line where No.5 can be seen.