1hr 15mins
Dir: Reginald Denham
Starring: John Loder and Lilian Oldland

Amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey clears a man on a murder charge

This well-made mystery thriller is another little gem from the 1930s which has, over time, been largely forgotten. For the railway enthusiast, it includes some great railway scenes. John Loder follows the murderer by train to Stratford and corners him in the locomotive works where a fight ensues. First, we see scenes filmed at London Liverpool Street station with good views of a departing train, the LNER coaching stock of which displays ‘CONTINENTAL TRAIN’ roofboards. There then follows an arrival of a similar train behind LNER Class B12 4-6-0 No.8542, with a small tank engine bringing a train into an adjacent platform. Another departure then follows, though the arrival at Stratford behind an N7 Class 0-6-2T is in actual fact Liverpool Street again! The excellent fight scene was shot at night in Stratford Works, with powerful arc lights set up to help highlight the scene. Star of the show is LNER Class N7/3 0-6-2T No.2616 with a ‘CHESHUNT’ destination board on its bunker. The loco is in steam when John Loder waylays the villain and knocks the regulator in to forward. The loco then slowly moves forward, forcing the two men into an inspection pit as it passes over them, before gently crashing through the shed doors. Apparently, the doors were old and required replacement anyway, so what better way to remove them than to have a loco crash right through them! Other locos visible in this sequence include a rare glimpse of an LNER D16/3 ‘Super Claud’ 4-4-0 in the form of No.8788, and an LNER J17 Class 0-6-0 aloft on a crane hoist without its tender. There are also plenty of open plank wagons in these scenes. It should be noted that the scenes filmed onboard the train appear to use the real thing and not a stage recreation, which would have been unusual for the time. The film was based on an original story written by Dorothy L. Sayers specifically for the screen and was the first film outing for Sayers’ fictional amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, played rather well in this movie by Peter Haddon. The officially released version ran to 75 minutes though most versions available today have been rather reduced, with a running time of barely 54 minutes. None the less, this still includes all the railway footage.

The guard gives the right away
Peter Haddon and Lilian Oldland check the train times at Liverpool Street
These are the stairs to the footbridge at Liverpool Street, which, like King’s Cross, does not have a footbridge anymore
LNER Class B12 4-6-0 No.8542 brings its train into the station, with a small tank engine arriving into an adjacent platform.
This shot shows the LNER teak coaching stock wonderfully lit up by the portable arc lights used for filming. All the station scenes use Liverpool Street but I do not believe that all the trains were filmed there also. Take this train for instance. It is empty and pulls away immediately after the cast members have disembarked. This suggests that it was ‘on hire’ to the film company and used another station (Stratford?) in addition to Liverpool Street
In this shed scene at Stratford, an unidentified steam loco simmers on the left
This very unusual scene gives us a glimpse of a J17 hitched up to an overhead crane minus its tender. A number is chalked on the smokebox door but it is not clear as to what it reads
This close up shot shows the J17, and there is a number on the bufferbeam. It looks like 62 but should in fact be 82??
LNER Class N7/3 0-6-2T No.2616
John Loder and Donald Wolfit fight in an inspection pit as No.2616 creeps slowly towards them
Another view of No.2616, this time showing its CHESHUNT destination board on the rear bunker
Peter Haddon and Lilian Oldland with LNER D16/3 ‘Super Claud’ 4-4-0 No.8788 forming the backdrop
Without much effort, No.2616 smashes through the wooden shed doors
This final shot at Liverpool Street has been included if only to show the wonderful period posters. The large one advertises the Scarborough Flier from King’s Cross, the LNER’s other, main, London terminus, whilst the other posters advertise the delights of Jaywick Sands, Clacton.