VICTORIA THE GREAT

GB
1937
1hr 52mins
Dir: Herbert Wilcox
Starring: Anna Neagle and Anton Walbrook

The film biography of Queen Victoria concentrating initially on the early years of her reign with her marriage to Prince Albert

This hugely successful historical biopic features a railway scene where Victoria and Albert go away on honeymoon by train. The credit titles record thanks to ‘the LMS for the original train of 1841’. The sequence used a historical recreation of a period train, comprising Liverpool and Manchester Railway 0-4-2 Lion with replica L&M coaches, on the Watford Junction-St Albans Abbey branch. One of the sidings in the yard at Brickett Wood was converted to represent Euston station as it appeared in 1840, and we are treated to several rather fine run-bys of the train as it makes its way along the branch. The Brickett Wood Station Heritage Trust website provides information on the filming, which started on 28th April 1937. It mentions the fact that because Lion had no injectors, special arrangements had to be made for the engine to run up and down the branch between normal services to enable the pump to keep the water moving between the tender and the boiler. Lion has appeared in several other feature films, most notably The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) (qv). The film was followed by Sixty Glorious Years (qv) which continued the look at Victoria’s life, and had Anna Neagle and Anton Walbrook reprise their roles, but not Lion.

A close up of Lion with period footplate crew. The loco was 99-years old at the time of filming.
Victoria and Albert plus crowd on the station platform. This was a station set built in the small goods yard at Brickett Wood.
Lion awaits departure from the station, which is in fact a very authentic and remarkably convincing set in the yard at Brickett Wood. Note the Royal Standard fluttering on the locomotive’s bufferbeam.
The train begins its journey
This shot has been included as it shows the enclosed Liverpool & Manchester 1st Class carriages, clearly based on the stagecoach which the railways had usurped and with luggage tied to the roof.
Bringing up the rear of the train are these open high sided trucks for the less well off passenger
With its coal blackened exhaust caught beneath the road overbridge, Lion approaches a station. These outdoor run-bys were said to have been filmed on the Watford Junction-St. Albans Abbey branch.
And we end with a delightful run-by of the vintage train