The Beatles travelled on a special train from Paddington to film scenes on the Taunton to Minehead branch line for their popular film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ with filming taking place at Crowcombe Heathfield and Minehead.
The heritage railway will be hosting a Diesel Gala from the 9th to the 11th of June which will celebrate train services of the 1960s alongside a Beatles Special which will see the original locomotive number that was used back in March 1964 and carriages from that era.
Photographic and memorabilia displays will be set up at Crowcombe Heathfield and Minehead and live music will be performed throughout the day with an evening dance on the resorts station platform with tribute band the Liverpool Beatles alongside the Estrellas and Helen Pearson and there will be late trains for the revellers.
“The relatively peaceful surroundings of Minehead railway station were shattered by the screams of hundreds of schoolchildren.
“Teachers at local schools gave in to demands for time off from the classroom and a large crowd of excited teenagers gathered by the railway tracks.”
Joined by a host of television, radio and newspaper reporters to see the special five-coach train and of course John, Paul, George and Ringo and the film’s other stars Wilfrid Brambell, John Junkin, Norman Rossington and Richard Vernon alongside the film crew, technicians, production staff and director Dick Lester.
The West Somerset Railway website says:
“The purpose of this train journey was to film the first 20 minutes of the movie showing the events of a typical day-and-a-half in the life of the Beatles. On that Monday morning, Ringo came up with the title A Hard Day’s Night, recalling a tough all-night session they’d had in a recording studio.”
Each station on the branch line saw excited fans waiting to watch the train pass with Crowcombe Heathfield seeing the train stop and a scene shot of the Beatles running along the platform shouting and Ringo and George riding bikes.
The film received fantastic critical and commercial success and even saw two nominations for Academy Awards. The film supported the band in becoming a global phenomenon but sadly less than 10 years later they split and at a similar time, the Minehead branch line was axed by BR.
The West Somerset Railways Beatles Special will run on Saturday the 11th of June and will feature an intensive service of around 12 trains each day using the railways fleet of diesel locomotives alongside several visiting engines including Class 17 number D8568 which is the last of its kind and will be her first visit to the heritage line.