Day Rover

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Day Rover


This programme, which was filmed in July 1997, has more history in it than any other Locomaster ‘Wired for Sound’ title. And that’s because most of what’s in it has gone….the Longbridge Rover car plant, the regular trainloads of car components, Tinsley TMD and it’s Railfreight Distribution Class 47s, Saltley depot. Sadly, they are all now but a memory. But this cab-ride was filmed in happier times, when RfD’s Longbridge-Swindon-Longbridge car component trains travelled out and back via different routes, both of which were packed with interest and challenging gradients. 

The outward journey is filmed on board a pair of immaculate Tinsley Type 4s – 47 236 & 47 375. After leaving Rover’s Longbridge sidings the 900 tonne train travels south (after a loco run-round at Kings Norton) descending the famous Lickey bank to Bromsgrove before continuing on to Cheltenham. At Standish Junction the 47s take the scenic Golden Valley route where they tackle the tortuous 12-mile climb of Sapperton bank. With gradients as steep as 1 in 60, the locos blast their way into the tunnel at the summit on full power! After descending through Kemble, the train continues over the single-track section to Swindon where it travels along the truncated remains of the Highworth branch to reach its destination at the Pressed Steel factory sidings. On departure from Swindon with the loaded train, the 47s travel east along the Great Western main line as far as Didcot, before heading north on a storming run to Oxford. The journey continues via Banbury, Fenny Compton, Leamington Spa and the steeply-graded Hatton bank before reaching the outskirts of Birmingham, where the train is routed via Solihull and Tyseley to Washwood Heath yard. After a short break for a locomotive change, there is a stirring finale as 47 286 & 47 285 tackle the notorious Camp Hill incline en route to Longbridge sidings.

Soon after this programme was filmed, RfD disappeared following its purchase by EWS and the Rover trains subsequently went over to Class 66 haulage. The car component traffic ceased following the closure of the Longbridge plant in April 2005, by which time the fleet of RfD 47s had also disappeared. As with our other re-releases on DVD, this programme has not only been completely digitally re-mastered from the original footage but because so much has changed in the intervening years, there is also an updated and revised script. We’ve also included some additional footage from inside the then-thriving Longbridge rail terminal - all of which has since been lifted! So this is a programme packed not only with traction nostalgia but also a significant piece of Britain’s car manufacturing history.

"A classic programme of sheer enjoyment for the modern traction enthusiast" Railway Magazine

Programme Fact File

Narration: David Maxey
First Published: 1997 VHS, 2008 DVD
Route Featured: Longbridge - Gloucester - Swindon - Didcot - Leamington - Washwood Heath - Longbridge.
Class Featured: 47 (four of them!).
Availability: Now

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 47  motive power: 
Power Hour, Brighton Brush Farewell, One Four Seven, North Star South-West and the Traction Series.

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