Geoff Holyoake is a legend among railway enthusiasts. He had a passion, skill and determination to capture the age of steam on film before it was too late, ensuring that, today, we have an incredible archive of footage showing the great locomotives, the historic lines and the beginning of the preservation movement. Geoff Holyoake was one of the small elite who used 16mm film rather than 8mm, producing films for commercial sale under the Meteor Films banner. This three-DVD box set brings together some of the most exquisite footage from the Geoff Holyoake Collection
The last years of steam on British Railways have been well documented, particularly in photographs. During that time moving picture recordings were rare with only the most dedicated enthusiasts being able to afford the use of cine film. Geoff Holyoake was among that number, and this DVD features some of the most evocative sequences he captured. Geoff’s home was near the South Western Main Line of the Southern Region in the 1960s and he recorded the last days of steam on what was to become the last steam main line of all, filming the King Arthurs, Charlies and Bulleid Pacifics as well as some of the final examples of the pre-grouping engines that worked there. This is his record of his own favourite railway in the Sixties - the South Western lines.
Southern Region from East to West
The Southern Region of British Railways was one of the last parts of the national railway network to use steam locomotives from the days of the pre-grouping companies. These helped maintain the atmosphere of each of the main constituent parts of the old Southern Railway well into the 1960s. Geoff Holyoake’s professional 16mm colour cine films bring the Southern Region of the 1960s back to life - from the Eastern Division through the Central and the Western Divisions. Here we can see once again push-pull Hs and M7s, Brighton “Terriers” and Radial tanks, as well as the Pacifics, Moguls and BR Standard classes that all went to make up the most varied selection of steam motive power on British Railways in the 1960s.
Western Region in the Sixties
During the 1960s the railways of Great Britain were undergoing a fundamental change. British Railways was rapidly scrapping the faithful steam engine and replacing it with modern diesels and electric locomotives. As a result, the followers of steam tried to preserve its legacy in as many ways as possible - notably by running special trains to commemorate the passing of old friends, preserving individual locomotives, rolling stock and complete railways, and, last but not least, capturing everyday sights on film, both in photographs and on moving film. This DVD is devoted to Geoff Holyoake’s record of steam locomotives on the old Western Region and the early preservation of former GWR lines and stock as the preservation movement got under way.