Model Railway Forum banner

Railway DVDs

1990 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  80class
There are a lot of railways DVDs. As someone who was not born when steam finished on BR if I want to see steam on anything other than a preservation run I have to turn to DVDs. Recently I bough "LMS Tender Classes - Stanier's Masterpieces" which was a very good watch with both archive and preservation footage.

As there are a lot of DVDs out there what do you own and what would you recommend as a good watch or as a stay clear?

1 - 12 of 12 Posts
My advice is to shop around for them. A local shop where I live is selling some at £5.99 each, but if I go to another town (and I do twice a week), I can get these same ones for and I kid you not, £1.00 each. One day, I am going to get some in bulk for a £1 each, set up a stall on the local market for our Railway Group and sell them at just £2.99 each, with the profit going into our funds.
I like the 'British Transport Films' series.
It depends on your interests. My favourites are the Railways of Scotland series of which I have collected all but one. These have mainly colour film from the steam period. They are very good but it depends on whether you are interested in Rail in Scotland as to whether you would find them of interest or not.
My main interest is LMS Steam however when looking at DVDs I am more interested in actual period footage of reasonable quality with good, informative commentary.

Thanks for the replies so far guys,

QUOTE when looking at DVDs I am more interested in actual period footage of reasonable quality with good, informative commentary.
Try one of the Marsden Rail DVDs of an area you are interested in. I have one of the Leeds ones, its mostly about Leeds Central Station filled from Holbeck High Level. It will never win prizes for documentary but I think it fulfils your two stipulations.

I will probably buy the other Leeds one at some stage. It concentrates on Leeds City, so there will actually be some LMS steam there.

Most DVDs from B & R esp. Jim Clemens collection are really good.
QUOTE (Noggins Friend @ 28 Jan 2008, 09:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Most DVDs from B & R esp. Jim Clemens collection are really good.

I agree, but look out for archive film done in 16 or 35mm as the quality is usually better. The Ivo Peters collection is excellent. Some of the B&R series are good, but look out, a lot is plain 8mm, and the finish can be dull, or near silhouette.
Video 125, or TVP produce good stuff, avoid the cheap stuff when buying new, such as you (used to) get in places like Smiths. Marsden is hit and miss his pontifications on his earlier stuff is horrendous, he did a few on the Birmingham area especially around Stourbridge, he was convinced the 8F's there came from Warwick, well it was 2C before Stourbridge.
Paul M.
QUOTE his pontifications

This is the one reservation I have about the Marsden stuff; it does become a bit wearing. However he does get the loco numbers right so you can cross check them against an ABC in your own time.

I agree with the comments above that the best stuff was shot on 35mm film. The British Transport Films (BTF) are very good, and are currently being re-released in sets of 2 DVDs by the British Film Institute (BFI) at intervals. Most have been commented on by myself and others in other threads in this part of the forum. In a number of films the railway is peripheral to the main action - almost taken for granted that that was how people travelled in the 1950s in particular. BTF films are limited to the BR period 1949-1986 when the unit was closed down.

Video125 have collections of 35mm film taken in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s of steam - mostly for use in feature films but which was never used. Includes 'out-takes' from "The Titfield Thunderbolt" and "The Ladykillers". Has the bonus of being introduced by the late John Huntley, a great transport film enthusiast. Also a collection of items from 'Pathe Pictorial' and other newsreels.

Do bear in mind that early film taken by amateurs was mostly 8mm, and both this and even 16mm can sometimes not transfer to the TV screen well, particularly if poorly exposed or from a hand-held camera. Likewise some of the early video footage can suffer from mis-exposure. But we can't complain too much - at least something was recorded!

The Signal Box at Anstey, Leicester, has a huge catalogue of railway-related DVDs ( - I have found their service quick and reliable. Many shops at preserved railways also carry considerable stocks of railway DVDs and are worth visiting or looking up on the internet.

I would avoid in general the cheap DVDs available from High Street outlets. These can be very poorly compiled and edited compared to the specialist companies.

Good viewing,
John Webb
See less See more
I think it depends what you want. I would much prefer raw footage with a reasonable commentary that identifies the locos. If it is shot on 8 mm it is very evocative of the era. I confess I am somewaht irritated when the same sound track occurs again and again. Eg when a light train or light engine passes, you hear the same dog barking time and time again. That dog really got around. I have herad him in Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Devon etc etc. A true Wonderdog. But I do not particularly like the overproduced videos with lots of music.
Some great feedback guys, thanks!

Will have to do some searching around now,

1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.