Follow TV Tropes


Web Video / The British Railway Stories

Go To

The London and North Eastern Railway was one of the so-called Big Four companies
formed during the 1923 Grouping Act in Britain.
In this form, with engines from the North Eastern and Great Northern Railways,
it lasted a mere twenty-five years, but left an everlasting impression of luxury, prestige, and speed.
Forty years after the end of British mainline steam, these are the stories they tell.

The British Railway Stories (originally The British Railway Series) is a Web Video series by Simon AC Martin, originally published under the title "simierski".

The story follows the steam engines of Copley Hill, a railway shed formerly located in Leeds sometime in the mid 20th century. The engines included young W.P. Allen, wise Stephen, somewhat haughty Sir Ralph Wedgewood, nervous Herbert, The Flying Scotsman (or simply "Scott"), Tavish, and Nigel. The show follows them as they go about their work on British Rail, and the challenges they face as time goes on, up to and including the inevitable introduction of Diesels, and Modernization.

The series started on August the 17th, 2007. All of the episodes can be watched here.

The British Railway Stories contains examples of:

  • The Bet: Episode 5, "The Hand Of The Fair Maid", focuses on Allen and Sir Ralph wagering which of them can pull the mid-day express faster. The winner becomes the engine in charge of pulling a new express called The Fair Maid.
  • The Blank: For some reason, most of the diesel engines in the series have no faces. The sole exceptions were Gronk and one diesel featured early in episode 6.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Episode 8, "Scott And The Herring Gull", Allen brings up City Of Truro, remembering that Sir Ralph was talking about him at the time.
    • In Episode 15, "Day Of The Deltic", Allen asks Sir Ralph if he can pull some of his trains because his express, The Fair Maid, is being cut soon.
    • In episode 17, Fowler's Ghost, Stephen tells the titular ghost that he remembers seeing him after his accident from episode 6.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 7, "Christmas, 1952", and episode 14, "Silent Night", were both released around Christmastime.
  • Death Seeker: In "The Last Run", when Stephen is despairing about his impending scrapping, an engine next to him that's basically been reduced to a stationary boiler seems more welcoming of his own.
    Engine: Sometimes you just want the steam to stop flowing, the bearings to stop creaking, and the oil to stop dripping.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The shots of the locomotives in the intro narration were always presented in black and white. As were the flashbacks in episode 10, The Legacy Of Gadwall.
  • Downer Ending: Episode 15, Day Of The Deltic, ends with Gronk being kicked out of Copley Hill yard, and Stephen informing everyone that Deltic was right, and that the days of steam engines on British Rail are ending.
  • End of an Era: The episodes eventually delved into this more and more as Modernization got closer and closer.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the first two episodes, Sir Ralph is quite vocal about his dislike of Western Engines and mixed-traffic engines (like Herbert the V2). He seemed to drop it (for the most part) in later episodes, though.
  • Flashback:
    • Much of episode 10, "The Legacy Of Gadwall", is shown through flashbacks.
    • Much of episode 16, "Great Scott", is shown through flashbacks.
    • Episode 18, "The Last Run", has one to before Copley Hill closed down, where everyone says goodbye to each other.
  • Ghost Story: Stephen tells one in episode 17, about the titular Fowler's Ghost.
  • Grand Finale: Episode 18, "The Last Run", was this for the original series.
  • Halloween Episode: Number 17, "Fowler's Ghost", which was released on October the 29th, 2009.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In Episode 2, "Veto A V2", Sir Ralph Wedgewood is very vocally disapproving of Herbert the V2. When he fails at the station, guess who's called in to take his passenger train.
  • Last of His Kind: Stephen announces himself to be this at the end of "Day Of The Deltic" to the other engines of Copley Hill.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Some of the engines are named after their designers. Herbert and Nigel are named after Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley, Stephen is named after Stephen Holden, Arthur is named after Arthur Peppercorn, and Hawk, full name Hawksworth, is named after Frederick Hawksworth.
    • While he wasn't a railway engine designer, Sir Ralph is named after Sir Ralph Wedgewood. He decided to take the name to honour Gadwall, who was destroyed in the Baedeker Blitz.
  • Narrator: Each episode, except the last one, was narrated. Originally the narrator was intended to be Stephen, but was then moved to the yard foreman, before that concept was dropped altogether.
  • Real After All: After telling the other engines the story of Fowler's Ghost, Stephen meets said ghost while waiting for his morning train to be ready.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Naturally, all the cast are talking locomotives.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Episode 3 "Hawk Aye!", Hawk mentions having a friend on the Great Western Railway named "Montague".
    • In Episode 9, "Birds Of A Feather", when George is leaving Copley Hill to return to the Midland Region, he says to Nigel "We'll always have Parish", referencing both Casablanca and Ian Parish, the cricketer.
  • The Stinger:
    • Episode 14 had one of Hawk pulling some trucks on his way back to the Western Region of British Rail. That was followed by text stating that Ex-GWR 94xx Class No. 9400 (intended to be Hawk) is now preserved at the STEAM Museum in the old railway town, his spiritual home in Swindon.
    • Episode 15, Day Of The Deltic, had Gronk going along the line and stopping in Leeds Central junction, where a bunch of steam engines are being cut up.
  • Title Drop:
    • In Episode 9, Birds Of A Feather, Scott says that about himself and Sir Ralph regarding their head code mistakes. Doesn't stop him from telling everyone in the yard that Sir Ralph isn't who he says he is.
    • The narrator does this in episode 10, The Legacy Of Gadwall.
    Narrator: One thing is certain. The name of Sir Ralph Wedgewood may have lived on, but it is the memory, The Legacy Of Gadwall, the lost A4 Pacific, that stays fresh in their minds every single day.
    • In episode 10, Hawk-Eyed!, Allen says this about Gronk to Hawk.
    Allen: I bet you're glad he was so Hawk-Eyed, eh?
    • In episode 16, Great Scott, we get this line from Cyril, Scott's driver in 1952.
    Cyril: Great Scott! Scott's in great trouble!
    • Episode 17 has one at the end of the episode.
    Narrator: Little did he know, that would be the last time he'd meet... Fowler's Ghost!
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Jerry the BR Standard Class 4 engine has this attitude in "The Last Run".
    Jerry: Endless life isn't all it is cracked up to be. Think of the drivers, the firemen, cleaners and guards who leave us behind. Men and women who put their hearts and souls into keeping us going, gone into the annuls of time. Treasure your time on these rails, Stephen, for it can be taken away from you in an instant.