Filming and Photography on the Dean Forest Railway
We are open for business to photography, film and TV (both factual and drama) and have a track record in all these media.
Our tariffs reflect the variety of demands that these different scales of operation require. Student photographer or film-maker? Big-budget studio feature film? You are all welcome and we have the facilities to accommodate all your needs.
Don't forget that if we don't have the locos or carriages which you want, here on our railway, they can still be brought, either via our connection with the main line railway or on a road low-loader.
Our single track railway extends 4½ miles from Lydney Junction (near the connection with Network Rail's main line) northwards into the Forest, terminating presently at Parkend.
Lydney Junction has an island platform with tracks either side; Lydney Town is single-platformed; Norchard, with the railway HQ and dedicated parking area, has a high-level through platform and a low-level terminus platform; Whitecroft has one platform with a planned second platform and Parkend has two facing platforms. All, except Norchard, have level crossings situated close by.
Both Lydney Junction and Norchard have sidings, Norchard also having workshops and maintenance pits.
The DFR is graced by two working steam locomotives and two diesel-hydraulic shunters. We are also often host to other privately-owned diesel-electric locomotives.
Carriages and other Rolling Stock
The DFR runs two 2-car diesel multiple units (DMUs), whilst for loco-haulage we have a rake of Mk1 BR carriages and a GWR inspection saloon. We also have a variety of freight wagons and an unusual self-powered crane. This fact sheet describes the history of the passenger vehicles to help you place them in the correct period context.
Please contact our filming representative:
Robert Harris - email: [email protected] or mobile: 07939 042361
'Prairie' 2-6-2T 5541, left at Norchard low-level
'Wilbert' 0-6-0 saddle tank engine
The Prairie locomotive pictured here is a typical GWR workhorse 2-6-2 locomotive which hauled local freight and passenger trains. It was built in 1928 and withdrawn from the main line in 1962. The Prairies first emerged as a class as early as 1904 and '5541' has appeared on TV with Cilla Black and Max Boyce.
'Wilbert', an 0-6-0 saddle tank, was built in 1953, a Hunslet 'Austerity' locomotive originally owned by the National Coal Board. It is named after the Rev Wilbert Audrey, author of the 'Thomas the Tank Engine' stories, who actually named it at Norchard. The design dates from 1943 as an order from the War Department for a standard shunting locomotive. After the war they continued being built for industrial lines such as in quarries, mines and steelworks.
Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs)
DMUs were introduced by British Railways from 1954 to all regions except the Southern which had been gradually and extensively electrified since 1903. They were brought to secondary routes, suburban services and branch lines to replace loco-hauled trains. Following the Modernisation Plan of 1955, diesel locomotives also started to replace steam for hauling long-distance expresses, although ironically the last steam locomotive, Evening Star, was built as late as 1960, for 'express' freight purposes.
The Class 108 DMUs based with us at the Dean Forest Railway were built in Derby from 1958 to 1961 and withdrawn from main line service between 1991 and 1993, along with DMUs generally. Their green livery is how DMUs were styled from the outset until the 1960s' BR corporate identity plan introduced blue and blue/grey as a universal colour scheme, the appellation 'British Rail' and the still current double-arrow logo.
The following is from http://preserved.railcar.co.uk/Class108.html
Class 108s have been one of the most successful DMU classes, both in British Railways days and in preservation. They were the "standard" DMU, built by BR itself (at Derby) and were the final design that was piloted by the earlier Derby Lightweight class. Their corrosion free aluminium bodies have made Class 108s ideally suited to the preservation life of long periods stood still stabled in the open air.
Most Class 108s in preservation were withdrawn in the early 1990s and were the first class of DMU to be preserved in very large numbers. This was partially due to BR's decision to offer this class as the standard DMU for heritage buyers. Consequently a large number were saved and they formed the backbone of the heritage scene in the 1990's and the first part of the early 2000's. It was only the withdrawals of the Class 101s and Class 117s in the mid 2000's that rivalled the numbers of 108s on heritage railways.
Many 108s have been running "as withdrawn" as their good condition upon preservation meant most could be launched immediately into traffic. However 15 years on and the wear is now starting to take its toll, with corrosion around the (steel) cabs developing. Luckily however, enough railways and groups are now investing heavily in these vehicles to enable them to continue to operate in preservation.
These Class 14 0-6-0 diesel-hydraulic locomotives D9555 and D9521 date from 1964 to 1965, 56 being built for short freight trips or shunting. Becoming redundant as early as 1968 to 1970 when their intended purpose expired, they were either scrapped or sold off into industry for use on sites such as coal mines (as with ours), steel works, quarries and oil refineries. They make ideal workhorses on heritage railways with their modest but perfectly adequate power and dual-control cabs.
In the best possible literal sense, the Class 73 is peculiar: built from 1962 for BR's Southern Region as an electro-diesel, an electric loco but with an auxiliary diesel engine. The SR was almost entirely electrified at 650-750V DC collected from the third rail, for safety and economy the track in most sidings remaining unelectrified. The 73's modest diesel is thus designed to operate wherever there is no current. They hauled boat trains from Waterloo to Southampton and Weymouth and then continued through Southampton Docks and along the Weymouth town tramway to the quayside under diesel power. At night they could haul parcels and newspaper trains on electrified tracks without needing to be diverted if the current was switched off for maintenance. In later years they hauled the Gatwick Express with Mk2 carriages. Several 73s survive with freight operators and for engineering trains; remarkably for their age many are also being refurbished with diesel engines of twice the power, some being used in pairs to operate the Caledonian Sleeper over parts of its journey in Scotland. With their original modest diesel engine they are ideal for heritage railways like ours where the maximum permitted speed is 25mph.
The Class 31 diesel-electric is a typical medium-powered locomotive used over most of BR for freight and passenger trains. They were built from 1957 to 1962 and one or two still remain with spot-hire operators for use on the main line network.
We also have a diesel-electric shunting loco, 'Gladys', for yard duties at Norchard and maintenance trips up the line. The 08 class totalled 996, built between 1952 and 1962, more numerous than any other class of loco with several still in service on the main line and in industrial sites. Gladys was built in 1960 and withdrawn from active service with BR in 1989. Ten years later it arrived with us, being used over the previous decade for training at the Moreton-in-the-Marsh Fire Training College. The 08s have just over half the power of our Class 14s shown above.
NB: other steam and diesel locomotives operate on the Dean Forest Railway from time to time, under loan from private owners or organisations such as the Dean Forest Diesel Association.
This is our inspection saloon designed for GWR by Hawksworth and built in 1948, so strictly speaking a post-nationalisation BR carriage. Seven were built and kept at specific locations for inspecting their local areas of track.
Mk1 carriages with mixed liveries (left) and comprising two trains (right)
The Dean Forest Railway recreates a branch line railway as it was under the Great Western Railway and the Western Region of British Railways. The GWR livery of chocolate and cream was continued by the WR after the nationalisation of 1948. However, in the confusion of post-war Britain it wasn't uncommon for companies' fleets to have wandered off their usual patch and there had always been long-distance trains which crossed boundaries, both regular services and the summer excursion trains from the industrial areas of the North and Midlands to coastal resorts.
The great majority of pre-nationalisation carriages, with primarily wooden bodies, had to be replaced, thanks to their age, crash-worthiness and fire-risk. Thus in 1951 BR started building standard steel-bodied coaches: the Mk1. At the Dean Forest Railway we operate a rake of Mk1 corridor coaches in the GWR livery.
At their introduction, long-distance corridor stock was liveried 'blood and custard' (crimson lake and cream) and from 1956 regions were allowed individual colours. The Western Region Mk1s reverted to GWR chocolate and cream for their principal express services, the Southern's to malachite green and the rest (London Midland, Eastern, Scottish) went to overall maroon - along with the WR's remainder. For some years, whilst old liveries remained alongside new, trains could be rather kaleidoscopic. Corridor coaches were either built as open saloons or as compartments with side-corridor, but in all cases the doors were situated at end and centre vestibules. This is the interior of a second class Mk1 corridor coach: four seats facing four. A first class coach had three seats per bench, separated by armrests.
The 1960s' BR corporate identity plan introduced blue and grey as a universal colour scheme for corridor coaches. Mk1s disappeared from the main line in the 1990s, having gradually been replaced by Mk2s from 1964 onwards.
Norchard looking northwards towards Whitecroft and Parkend. Three Class 14 locos are pulling a train of Mk1 carriages into the high level platform.
Parkend Station - currently the northern terminus of the line, with a modern visitor direct from Gloucester via the main line for the 2015 DMU festival on the left.
Lydney Junction - the southern end of the line, close to the main line Lydney station and a short distance from Lydney Harbour.
Whitecroft Station - located between Norchard and Parkend Stations.
Landscape and Lineside Features (more to follow)
Inside the Norchard signal box
We are in the forest, after all...