Film ID:
NEFA 22032



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This Tyne Tees Television Northern Life news item reports on a model of an LNER Shire class 4-4-0 called Yvette and the private miniature railway built by a retired electricity board surveyor called Tom Tate at the derelict Haswell Lodge country house in County Durham. Interview with Tate who explains the stock was destined for the Medina Valley Railway project on the Isle of Wight.  This filmed report was originally broadcast on 5 January 1977.

The item opens with a general view of Haswell Lodge in the landscape, sheltered by a windbreak of mature trees. Tom Tate drives his steam engine, Yvette, around the track he has constructed in the grounds at Haswell Lodge. The train comes to a halt up close to camera. Close-up of the engine’s name ‘Yvette’. The commentary explains that the private railway has been running since 1970 but faces closure. 1976 might be the last year the trains run on this track. ‘But unlike its brother, British Rail, its closure is because of its success, rather than its failure. It’s all part of the brain drain to the south.’

Tom Tate cleans out the firebox of the engine on a railway siding. The reporter says he understands he’s putting out the fires on the railway for the last time. Tate replies that it’s quite possible since they have been negotiating for the past year with the council on the Isle of Wight to transfer the stock to the island for the Medina Valley Railway project, running on the disused Cowes & Newport Railway. He hopes to carry on with his interest in steam because it’s part of his life.

The final shots follow Tate as he rides around in his engine on the third of a mile of railway track weaving around Haswell Lodge (to cheesy 70s music).

[Northern Life was a regional news programme on Tyne Tees Television, which aired from 6 September 1976 to 2 October 1992. The transfer of miniature rail stock to the Medina Valley Railway fell through.The restored engines and other stock owned by Tate including Little Giant, Blacolvesley, Yvette and a Carland Royal Scot, were transferred by John Henderson to the Lightwater Valley Railway around 1980.  They later decided to dispense with steam traction and the stock was dispersed. Little Giant is currently on display at the National Railway Museum, Blacolvesley is at Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, and Yvette now runs at Cleethorpes.]