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Charming Bluebell line Steam Railway film from 1963

This post shows a charming film of the Bluebell Line Steam Railway from a vintage home movie taken in 1963.

The film is an Ilford standard 8 film which has a date printed on the box of January 1964 which I’ve taken to be the date the film was processed and therefore assumed the actual filming date was slightly before that.

I actually discovered which railway is shown in this film after a fair bit of Internet detective work. First I did a search for the engine Stepney, who’s name can be clearly read from the film and discovered a page on Fandom which gave some details of that engine. Once I’d found that I then looked for the other engine which can be clearly identified which is the ‘Wealden Rambler’. After a bit of research on that engine, I discovered a link in their histories suggesting they had both been used on the Bluebell line steam railway in the 1960s.

Feeling very pleased with myself I proceeded to label the film with the identifier I use to make sure I can keep track of each film in relation to the article on Vintage Home Movies, and I discovered written clearly on the box, ‘Blue Bell Railway’! I guess the lesson is to read the box before I watch the film.

Stills from the film

Below are a few stills taken from the film which show some of the engines which are featured.

Bluebell line Film

The film is quite short because it is a portion of one side of a film.

The film is all shot at one of the stations on the Bluebell line and shows a variety of different engines moving up and down the lines. I’m assuming, from the number of different engines shown that the photographer probably stayed at the line all day and used their film sparingly, making sure they got some footage of all the engines in use that day.

The people in the film are dressed in light coats or no coats at all so I would guess that this film was shot in either the spring or autumn of 1963, which would be quite early in the history of the Bluebell line which first opened in August 1960.

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If you see anything in the film which you recognise, or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate a scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

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