PHOTO GALLERY: A Norwich film extra makes a surprise appearance at the North Norfolk Railway's Titfield Thunderbolt weekend

PUBLISHED: 23:20 23 June 2012 | UPDATED: 23:29 23 June 2012

The Poppy Line's Titfield Thunderbolt event at Holt Station. Organiser Oliver Fosker.

The Poppy Line's Titfield Thunderbolt event at Holt Station. Organiser Oliver Fosker. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY


Crowds of people turned out to see a re-enactment race of evergreen Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt which included a surprise visit today (Saturday) from an extra of the original cast.

North Norfolk’s Poppy Line brought the classic comedy to life exactly 60 years after it was made, in what organisers described as the most faithful recreation of the film ever staged.

And Patricia Baalham, of Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, who starred as a extra in one of the film’s final scenes, attended the event.

“I was only a school girl at the time,” she said.

“I was at boarding school and I came back at the tail end of filming. I was in the last scene pushing the train over the bank.”

The film tells the fictional story of a bid by the residents of a small English village to save the Titfield to Mallingford line from closure by running it themselves in competition with the local bus company. They are backed by wealthy drunk Mr Valentine, played by Stanley Holloway, who is attracted to the scheme by the lack of licensing hours on trains.

Mrs Baalham said at the time it was “a big deal” for her and had recently watched the film again with her husband Maurice.

She said: “He is interested in old engines so we would have gone to the event anyway but having the connection I thought we must go.

“It was so exciting to do the film and the event was fantastic. It was a tremendous success.”

Famous scenes from the film were played out during yesterday (Friday) and today and a 129-year-old carriage - sister to the one that played Mr Valentine’s bar car in the film - was restored by Poppy Line volunteers in time for the re-enactment.

To complete the recreation, Holt Station was transformed into Titfield and Sheringham into the branch line terminus at Mallingford.

Visitors and participants also wore 1950s dress and had the chance to ride in a bar car pulled by the Titfield Thunderbolt as it raced the Bedford bus during the close-run “Enquiry Special” race.

Event organiser Oliver Fosker said: “I am a huge fan of the film and this has been one of the most faithful recreations of the film possible.”

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