Over the course of several summers, the scout got to know the Camerton Branch and the surrounding area. He had not particularly intended finding the places where Ealing’s exquisite “Titfield Thunderbolt” had been filmed in 1952.

When he started to search them out, he realized that he had already photographed the bridge where Squire Chesterford first appears, hurrying with his garden produce to catch the train.

Splott Bridge, Carlingcott.
How quickly times change.: this view of the former Limpley Stoke Junction would not be possible to capture from an open window today. The ticket inspector on the short-lived “Weymouth Wizard,” who had happened along at this moment, kindly waited while the scout got his shot and then she feigned interest as he explained his purpose. +

The last location found by the scout was where “Titfield Station” appears in the valley below through the mocked up windscreen of Pearce & Crump’s rival Bedford bus.

Dunkerton Colliery, where the road-rail “duel” was staged, was occupied by a car dismantler and nothing was left of the line.

The villages and countryside are quite unspoilt, despite their being so close to Bath and Bristol. Remarkably, the scenes in Freshford, which acted as Titfield, could appear without much preparation in a remake of the film, although it is hoped that this never happens.

On entering the village, the scout cheated and asked the first person he met if she could direct him to Mr. Valentine’s house. Without hesitation, as if the film had been made last year, she gave directions.

Later, as the scout was leaving the village and about to turn into Crowe Lane, going towards Limpley Stoke, he heard a lady’s voice behind him. She was driving an electric BMW and had politely spoken through her open window so as not to startle the vulnerable road user.

It would not be sufficient to judge a village on this one encounter, but the scout felt that a place where Beamer drivers are courteous may just be a very nice place to live.

And, happily, Freshford still has a station.

Stills from the film are accompanied as far as possible by corresponding views taken around 65 years later in this PDF.

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