Home Television Comedy Train Now Standing, The

Train Now Standing, The

1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
15 x 30 minute episodes

In the early 1960s, the Beeching Report recommended wholesale closure of little-used and unprofitable railway lines across the UK, along with the closure of local stations along those and many other routes. In the decade that followed the report, more than 4,000 miles of railway and 3,000 stations were closed.

But not Burberry Halt, a decrepit stop on the (fictitious) Milchester line of the Great Western Railway.

Helping to preserve this little piece of old England is the station master of 30 years standing, Hedley Green, played by the incomparable Bill Fraser, late of The Army Game and Bootsie and Snudge.

Still sporting his GWR uniform and carrying a 1933 rulebook, Green has little to do other than bully his young porter Peter Pringle (Hugh Walters) and ensure the station is presentable, running smoothly and ready for the three trains a day that stop here.

Maintenance is low and the only thing that is automated is an old penny chocolate machine that supplies Green with a supply of free bars when kicked in the right place.

A veteran of World War II who is comfortable with the past, uneasy with the present and suspicious of the future, the only crises Green is likely to encounter are caused by the manager Mr Potts (Denis Lill) and his eventual replacement Mr Pitts (Garfield Morgan).

The outdoor scenes were shot at the disused Bodiam Station in East Sussex, itself a victim of successive governments’ cuts, but given a makeover and made to look as good as new for the LWT series.

Series one aired on Saturday evenings at 5.10pm from May to June 1972. Series two, the following year, was moved to a later slot on Sunday night (9.30pm).

British sitcom hadn’t finished with the subject and returned to it in 1995 with the BBC series Oh, Doctor Beeching!

Hedley Green
Bill Fraser
Peter Pringle
Hugh Walters
Pamela Cundell
Norman Mitchell
Geoff L’Cise
George Waring
Mr Potts
Denis Lill
Mr Pitts
Garfield Morgan