(Standard DVD) Modern Traction Archive: Volume 17 - WCML Hot-Spot Bletchley 1987

(Standard DVD) Modern Traction Archive: Volume 17 - WCML Hot-Spot Bletchley 1987

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Run-time 1h 27mins approx.

Sample the West Coast Main Line in 1987, with constant intercity, local and freight services passing through the station at Bletchley. Classes 31, 81, 85, 86 and 87 dominate.

The WCML north of London is one of the busiest stretches of high-speed mainline in the country. Back in 1987 it was home to a whole host of locomotive-hauled passenger and freight trains, as well as early-generation electric multiple units.

This programme concentrates on the station at Bletchley, the busiest location on the line between Watford and Rugby, in a year which was seeing the transition between the old BR corporate liveries and the new-style Intercity ‘Executive’ liveries, as well as the red, white and blue of the then newly formed Network Southeast commuter area.

Filmed during February, March and April of that year we document the typical traffic to be seen on Britain’s most important route. Apart from local trains, everything is loco-hauled with classes 81, 85, 86 and 87 making up the majority of locomotive types to be seen. We also witness, class 310 electric multiple units on local all-stations stopping services, class 31s on freight and empty stock movements, class 08s during station shunting duties, and Diesel Multiple units on services to Bedford - we even see class 56 diesels on stone trains making their way over Bletchley flyover.

Intercity trains flash by on the fast lines constantly, whilst on the slow lines freight trains, Freightliner services, parcels trains, empty stock, and locals ply their way to and from London. Loco-hauled semi-fast services are seen calling at the station bringing the unmistakable ‘roar’ of class 81s and class 85s, as well as many examples of class 86/2 and 86/4.

We have 86 233 heading the Royal Train, 56 056 on stone, a pair of 31s heading Underground stock over the flyover, Mark 1 sets of blue-grey stock, the unusual sight of three class 310 units in multiple, class 31s hauling stranded electric units during ‘wires down’. These are just some of the scenes contained in this action-packed DVD. If you are a modeller keen to recreate the railways of yesteryear, this programme is ideal as an historic record of how it used to be.