The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)

1h 24m
Running time

March 4, 1953
Release Date

The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)

1h 24m
Running time

March 4, 1953
Release Date

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Ealing Studios
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When British Railways announce the closure of the Titfield to Mallingford branch line a group of local residents make a bid to run it themselves, backed by a monied member of the community who is attracted by the complete lack of licensing hours on trains. Unfortunately the local bus company starts to use methods that can hardly be seen as fair competition.

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This Movie Is About.


Release Date
March 4, 1953


Running time
1h 24m



The Titfield Thunderbolt is a 1953 British comedy film directed by Charles Crichton and starring Stanley Holloway, Naunton Wayne, George Relph and John Gregson. The screenplay concerns a group of villagers trying to keep their branch line operating after British Railways decided to close it. The film was written by T. E. B. Clarke and was inspired by the restoration of the narrow gauge Talyllyn Railway in Wales, the world's first heritage railway run by volunteers. "Titfield" is an amalgamation of the names Titsey and Limpsfield, two villages in Surrey near Clarke's home at Oxted.Michael Truman was the producer. The film was produced by Ealing Studios and was the first of its comedies shot in Technicolor.

There was considerable inspiration from the book Railway Adventure by established railway book author L. T. C. Rolt, published in 1953. Rolt had acted as honorary manager for the volunteer enthusiasts running the Talyllyn Railway for the two years 1951–52. According to British rail enthusiast and film historian John Huntley's book Railways in the Cinema (published by Ian Allan in 1969), T.E.B. Clarke actually visited the Talyllyn Railway in 1951 and spent two days learning about the tribulations faced by its volunteers. A number of scenes in the film, such as the emergency resupply of water to the locomotive by buckets from an adjacent stream and passengers being asked to assist in pushing the carriages, were taken from incidents on the Talyllyn Railway recounted in Railway Adventure.

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