The Titfield Thunderbolt. Image shows from L to R: Joan (Gabrielle Brune), Valentine (Stanley Holloway). Copyright: Ealing Studios.

The Titfield Thunderbolt

1953 British comedy film about the closure of a small railway line. Stars Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne, John Gregson, Godfrey Tearle and others.


The Titfield Thunderbolt is Ealing Studios' first colour comedy.

The film was shot on location during the Summer of 1952, with Woodstock in Oxfordshire doubling as the village of Titfield; Bristol as the large Mallingford; and a closed railway line just south-east of Bath, Somerset, playing the Titfield-Mallingford branch line.

Author T.E.B. Clarke devised The Titfield Thunderbolt whilst holidaying in Wales. There he is said to have observed a small branch line steam train in operation and begun to wonder what would become of local villages were it not there.

The Titfield Thunderbolt predates the infamous series of 'Beeching cuts' enacted by British Railways, by some 10 years. The large-scale closure of apparently lesser-used lines and stations was initiated with a report published in 1963.