cab ride over one of Britain’s more antiquated rail routes – the
Medway Valley line between Strood and Paddock Wood. It was filmed in
September 1996 when the route still had plenty of semaphore signals,
manual crossing gates and an array of vintage signal boxes – some of
which date back to the late 1800’s. The semaphores have now all gone,
as have several of the boxes, and the remaining ones will be swept away
by further modernisation in 2015. Many disused sidings and rail
terminals were still evident at the time of the journey, recalling days
when cement production was buoyant in the area. This journey back in
time was filmed on board a train that has also been consigned to history
- the 7T56 Hoo Junction to East Peckham Civil Engineers trip. The
featured locomotive for the journey is 33030 - one of only eight
Crompton’s that remained in traffic with Mainline Freight at the time.
The outward run is via Strood, Cuxton, Snodland, Maidstone West,
Wateringbury and Yalding to Paddock Wood. There, the Class 33 runs round
its train in the station before heading back north the two miles to the
disposal point at East Peckham where the train reverses into the siding.
After the ‘Rudd’ wagons have been unloaded, the Crompton re-traces
its steps along the Medway Valley Line through East Farleigh, Aylesford
and Cuxton back to Strood. There’s a rousing finale from the Class 33
as it blasts through Strood and Higham tunnels before arriving back at
Hoo Junction. For good measure the locomotive was ‘Wired for Sound’
to capture the once-familiar sound of a Crompton hard at work on the
Southern Region. As well as the antiquated railway infrastructure along
the Medway valley, slam-door EMU’s were still regularly plying the
route at the time. They are now long gone – as are the fleet of
‘Rudd’ wagons which formed the train.
This programme has been digitally re-mastered and includes an extra 30
minutes of footage not included in the original VHS version. It also has
a new and updated narration provided by David Maxey.
"It’s thrash time again sit back and enjoy a
delightful trip along a delightful stretch of railway. Magic!" RAIL