New Rapido models of The Titfield Thunderbolt train!

Rapido Trains models of The Titfield Thunderbolt

This year marks 70 years of the classic Ealing comedy “The Titfield Thunderbolt”. To mark the anniversary of the charming film, Art & Hue has collaborated with STUDIOCANAL to create the Trains collection of pop art prints, and modelling specialists Rapido Trains UK have exciting packs in the pipeline for model train enthusiasts (looking at you Sir Rod).

Currently available to pre-order via their website, Rapido’s range of models inspired by “The Titfield Thunderbolt” have been created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the beloved film.

“The Titfield Thunderbolt” had its Gala Premiere at London’s Leicester Square Theatre on the 5th of March 1953, as part of the British Film Academy’s award ceremony, before going on general release from the 6th.

Rapido are producing five new ‘OO’ gauge models:

  • Thunderbolt, aka Liverpool & Manchester Railway 0-4-2 Lion;
  • The Buffet Car, aka Great Eastern Railway Diagram 603 No. 8;
  • No. W68740, GWR Diagram AA20 ‘Toad’ brakevan;
  • ‘Dan’s House’, aka GWR ‘Loriot Y’ No. 41989 with fictitious Victorian coach body;
  • Pearce & Crump’s coach GAM338, aka Bedford OB with Duple Vista body.
  • The Titfield models will be available in three packs:

  • Pack 1 is a standard pack, containing Thunderbolt, ‘Dan’s House’ and Loriot Y with No. W68740 at £299.95;
  • Pack 2 is a deluxe pack, containing sound-fitted Thunderbolt, Dan’s House and Loriot with W67840 plus 4mm:1ft scale figures and commemorative booklet at £399.95;
  • Pack 3 contains the Buffet Car at £74.95.
  • The Bedford OB will be available as a standalone model in full Pearce & Crump livery at £44.95.

    All available for pre-order online at Rapido Trains.

    Rapido Trains Titfield Thunderbolt

    2023 is filled with classic film anniversaries including “The Titfield Thunderbolt”:
    70 years of The Titfield Thunderbolt film by Ealing Studios
    A classic Ealing comedy, much-loved by film fans and train enthusiasts alike, “The Titfield Thunderbolt” was the first Ealing Comedy to be made in colour, Technicolor in fact, and the fourth to be directed by Charles Crichton.

    Pre-empting the savage cuts to the railways made by Beeching’s axe in the 1960s, “The Titfield Thunderbolt” sees a group of villagers attempting to keep their branch line running after it’s earmarked for closure.

    A picturesque snapshot of rural England in the 1950s, the film stars Stanley Holloway, John Gregson, George Relph, Naunton Wayne, & Sid James.

    Inspired by the Talyllyn Railway, which was restored and preserved as a heritage railway, the charming film features a regular Ealing trope of the underdog, in this case the villagers, battling a larger bureaucratic enemy, represented by the freshly-nationalised British Railways.

    Filmed in Avon & the Bath area, in Monkton Combe, Freshford, Limpley Stoke & Camerton, Bristol’s Temple Meads Station stood in for the fictional “Mallingford”.

    Rapido Trains Inc. was launched by Jason Shron in Canada in 2003 and has produced a wide range of locomotives and rolling stock in ‘HO’ and ‘N’ (1:160 scale) for the North American market. Rapido’s first model for the UK market was the APT-E, produced for the National Railway Museum in 2014.

    Crump's Bedford coach in The Titfield Thunderbolt

    Bedford introduced its new OB chassis in 1939 and worked with coachbuilder Duple to develop the distinctive ‘bullnose’ Vista body. Several hundred were built before production was suspended due to the Second World War. Full OB production restarted after 1945 and over 12,000 were built before the design was superseded by the SB in 1951. Although GAM338, Pearce & Crump’s OB, hasn’t survived, some 180 still do, making it one of the most numerous preserved coaches. Irish actor Jack MacGowran portrayed Vernon Crump in “The Titfield Thunderbolt”.

    Titfield Buffet Car with Stanley Holloway
    Stanley Holloway as Walter Valentine in his beloved Buffet Car.

    Lion and its sister Tiger were built by Todd Kitson & Laird in Leeds for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1838.

    Rebuilt several times during its career, Lion passed into the hands of the LNWR, which sold it to the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board in 1859, where it was eventually used as a steam pumping engine.

    It was rebuilt into its current form at Crewe Works in 1928 after it was saved for posterity by members of Liverpool Engineering Society.

    Steamed in the 1930s and 1950s – when it was used in The Titfield Thunderbolt – it last ran in the 1980s.

    Lion is now a key exhibit in the Museum of Liverpool.

    Dan's House in The Titfield Thunderbolt
    Hugh Griffith played Dan Taylor “in The Titfield Thunderbolt”.

    Platelayer-cum-fireman Dan, played by Hugh Griffith, lived in what appeared to be a grounded coach body. In actual fact, this was a prop built for the film. When his house is commandeered for use on the railway, it is mounted on a GWR ‘Loriot Y’ flat wagon. The GWR built two ‘Loriot Y’ machinery trucks in 1939 for civil engineering duties. No. 41989 was used in the film but has not survived. Happily, sister ‘Loriot Y’, No. 41990, was saved after withdrawal in 1994 and is based on the Severn Valley Railway.

    Visit Rapido to discover The Titfield Thunderbolt packs online here, and see the Art & Hue prints inspired by the film below.

    And if this blog post has given you the urge to rewatch the classic film, or discover it anew, you can order “The Titfield Thunderbolt” from Amazon on DVD or Bluray or watch on iTunes now.


    Comments are closed.

    This website needs cookies to work correctly. Click the UNDERSTOOD button to use essential cookies or click Read More for info.