Wrecker, The

Date: 1929
Director: Géza von Bolváry
Production Company: Gainsborough Pictures, F.P.S.-Film GmbH

Stars: Carlyle Blackwell, Benita Hume, Joseph Striker, Winter Hall, Gordon Harker
Location(s): Hampshire, Kent, London, Surrey

Region(s): ,


A nephew of the Chairman of United Coast Railways unmasks one of the company managers as the criminal behind a series of train crashes.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson


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Speeding along the railway, the Northern Express heads for the Capital.

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At a remote level crossing near Poleham Abbot, the Northern Express crashes into a steam lorry killing 35 passengers. This is Salter’s Ash Crossing between Herriard and Bentworth & Lasham on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway in Hampshire, the distant road being what has become the A339.

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Having retired from cricket, Roger 'Lucky' Doyle heads to London to become a director of United Coast Lines Railway.

With Roger and his fellow passengers unaware of their planned fate, the train hurries onward. James Holmes believes this is Elmstead Woods station to the north of Chislehurst, Kent.

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Elmstead Woods it is indeed. (RL)

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Lucky's train catches up and passes one of the Kyle Corporation's coaches, a company operating in competition with the railways.

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The train carrying Roger to London crashes into a lorry at a level crossing. Multiple cameras were used at the crossing to the north of Bentworth & Lasham station to capture a single crash and the different angles used to depict several crashes. The same location was used in 'Seven Sinners'.

With the public fearing the safety of the railways, the Kyle Coach Corporation puts on extra vehicles to cope with increased passengers. "bobsterkent" of Britmovie Forum identifies this as Waterworks Road, Brixton, London SW2 when the premises were under the operation of London Transport country bus department (used for Private Hire and Green Line coaches). All the vehicles shown were part of the London General Omnibus Company private hire department. Thanks "bobsterkent". (RL)

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At least the premises survive, albeit somewhat neglected according to Google Earth. (RL)

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Another bus leaves the garage to compete with the United Coast Lines Railway. Waterworks Road, Brixton, London SW2; see wrec007. (RL)

Surviving the crash, Roger heads to the offices of his uncle Sir Gervaise Bartlett, Managing Director of United Coast Lines Railway. Looking out from Waterloo station's entrance onto Mepham Street, the viaduct carrying the railway between Charing Cross and Waterloo East and the Royal Waterloo Hospital in the distance.

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The view is now dominated by the BFI IMAX in this modern shot by Peter.

Roger Doyle (Joseph Striker) crosses the station concourse. Waterloo Station off Waterloo Road in SE1. The concourse was seen in 'The Good Die Young', 'The Jokers', 'Return of a Stranger (1937)' and 'Dateline Diamonds'.

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This picture from Peter shows how passenger movement around the station has become more restrictive and the view more cluttered after alterations and additions.

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Bungling detective Ramesses Ratchett places himself, and his car, at the service of Roger Doyle and his girlfriend Mary Shelton as they attempt to discover who 'The Wrecker' is. Christopher Matheson has placed the car on a platform at Waterloo Station. The view from right to left. County Hall, the Cast Iron Tower, the Victoria Tower and Addington Street School, Addington Street. (RL)

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Ramesses Ratchett (Leonard Thompson) baffles railway staff with his odd methods of deduction. Likely to be London Bridge station.

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Sir Gervaise Bartlett (Winter Hall), looks on suspiciously when he sees his General Manager, Ambrose Barney, speaking with an unknown woman as she goes to board the train. Continuity suggests that this is looking towards the General Offices at the end of the low level SER platforms at London Bridge station.

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Passengers continue to join The South Express. The South Eastern side of London Bridge station in Southwark SE1 with the train shed of the LB&SCR to the right. Found with help from Dave Redbourne.

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As it departs, Sir Gervaise watches the progress of the express on a new indicator board installed in his office. The eastern approaches to London Bridge station in SE1 advises James Holmes.

The South Express speeds towards the coast on a route that the Kyle Corporation started operation just two days before. This appears to be either Elmstead Woods or Chislehurst railway station.

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Elmstead Woods once again. (RL)

This looks like Chislehurst station on the the South Eastern Main Line.

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Chislehurst Station, it is not unreasonable to expect a few changes over almost 90 years. (RL)

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The express roars through the countryside. The right background features Byfleet & New Haw railway station on the Waterloo to Woking route to the south-west of Weybridge, Surrey. Location identified by James Holmes.

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The South Express meets it's doom as 'The Wrecker' strikes again. Salter’s Ash Crossing on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway. The route of the A339 has been altered and now takes the line of the railway at this point.

Mary checks to find which platform The Rainbow Limited is leaving from. The departure board at Waterloo station, which was still in use in 1973 to be seen in 'Horror Hospital'.

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Peter captured part of the present departure board . . . . with only five cancelled trains on this section.

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Ramesses Ratchett drives Roger Doyle from his Surrey manor house to save the former cricketer's girlfriend.

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At the remote Pagham Moor Siding, 'Lucky' Doyle foils the attempt to crash The Rainbow Limited into a goods train.

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After arguing with Ambrose when he finds that she had warned Doyle about the plot to crash The Rainbow, Beryl Matchley (Pauline Johnson) storms off.

Beryl heads to warn Roger of the plan to crash The Shooting Star. Filmed nearly 90 years ago, this is Broad Sanctuary in SW1 with Parliament Square and the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament in the background.

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A different focal length in Peter's shot.

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Ambrose Barney (Carlyle Blackwell) jumps aboard The Shooting Star as it departs. One of the low level SER platforms at London Bridge station in SE1. The station has been hugely redeveloped.

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The Shooting Star sets off on it's journey, packed with weekend holiday passengers.

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Roger and his assistant manage to board the train and begin their search for Ambrose.

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Mary clings to the side of the train as it speeds towards disaster.

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The Shooting Star hurtles on as Mary climbs into the luggage van, distracting Ambrose who is overcome and thrown from the train. The, then, recently opened Petts Wood station in Bromley, located by James Holmes.

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Roger climbs over the coal in the tender to warn the driver and to stop the train.