Doctor Who: Trains on the Flatline

“Flatline”, S08E09, is an episode of the new Doctor Who which has bothered me for a while. I’m not on about the plot, which I quite like, but I always wanted to know where the railways scenes were filmed, and what the stock was.

I’m not going to dissect the whole episode, just the bits that refer to railways. So, obviously we’re going to be ignoring a hell of a lot of the episode.

03:00 – 04:06  and we already know where we are: Barry Island. Specifically,  on the former trackbed of the original Vale of Glamorgan line which would have run though Barry Island Tunnel. The building is the Plymouth Road Shed, just to the east of Barry Island Station.

Which, by the Magic of Television, has now moved to become part of  Bristol Sidings 344 (confirmed in the dialogue).

Note that Clara walks off in the direction of the tunnel. She’d get about 200 yards before hitting the fence. All civilisation lieth the other way…

06:16 – 0814 Same location (minus the TARDIS interiors). Nothing new to learn here.

20:15 – 25:11 And we’re in one of the Barry sheds (when we aren’t in the TARDIS). Note the presence of BR Class 08 Shunter 08503, one car of a DMU set (probably BR Class 101 DCTL 56356) and parts of a steam loco with a GW partly restored tender. There also seems to be a Road-Rail Vehicle and some more carriages in BR Yellow, but they’re not clear enough to identify.

And then they run into a storeroom, which allegedly leads to the tunnel (really, it doesn’t).

25:23 – 27:47 The tunnel. Note immediately the lack of tracks. Barry Tunnel is a shooting range.

To be fair, the do say that this is the “old tunnel” and set off to the junction with the “new tunnel”.  Good luck finding that one on Barry though.

A big hand snatches someone away, some running happens, and they need to open a door. But wait, suddenly they have track! As Barry does not have any track within a tunnel, we are clearly somewhere else now. Let us see how this unfolds.

27:47 – 29:42 Another tunnel. Cue running, and the TARDIS getting dropped a few floors. On to the running line. Specifically on to a Barrow Crossing over a running line.

Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but the TARDIS shouldn’t actually be in danger at this point. The train should just pass over it.

29:42 – 29:44 Cue a CGI/SFX  representation what looks like a 3-car DMU (likely a Class 117)in BR Green with an A113 headcode thundering down the tunnel. BR Green. Headcode. In 2014? And A113? Well its not a valid code anyway, and is just an in-joke with animators.

30:08 – 30:21  And The Doctor is doing his best to actually get the TARDIS directly under a wheel.

30:35 – 30:47 TARDIS falls back on to the rail, and The Doctor pulls a lever. Yeah, maybe that should have been done earlier.

30:48 – 31:41 In the tunnel, and a train is coming. The same CGI’d one that is now 2M65.

32:01 – 32:25 Stationary in the tunnel. It looks to me like a BR Class 117.

32:32 A BR Logo

That Logo is the “Ferret and Dartboard” one used from 1956 to 1965.

32:37 Hang on… Red seat moquette? Cubic grab-handles? Modern arrow signage? Drop window slam doors? Wales? Could this be the Gatwick Express Mark 2F/Class 488 set again? Possibly, but the colours are wrong.

  32:39 (approx) Even working this frame-by-frame doesn’t help. Best I can get is W5???3 or something.

32:40 – 33:19 Back in the cab. Nothing helpful here really.

Scenes from 32:32 onwards doesn’t show any tunnel parts, so could well just be filmed in the dark at Barry.  Sadly Barry doesn’t have the right rolling stock, so we have to look elsewhere… maybe somewhere with a tunnel to film in that isn’t too far from Wales.

Step forward the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, which conveniently has a Class 117 set (W51360, W59510, W51363) and Greet Tunnel. W51363 could be the blurry number above.

So far we’ve got:

  • BR Class 08 Shunter 08503
  • BR Class 101 DCTL 56356
  • BR Class 117 (W51360, W59510, W51363)
  • Unknown Mark 2F/3 Possibly from the Class 288 Gatwick Express set at Barry.

And with that, I think my work is done.

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