The British Railway Stories (formerly The British Railway Series: The End of the LNER) is the name of a YouTube series which was created by Simon Martin and his university colleagues. It first aired in 2007, and it has proved exceptionally popular since its inroduction.
In 2011, Simon Martin announced that the series would return in a new format similar to the format of the book.
The British Railway Series: The End of the LNER resolves around the engines who live at the yard of Copley Hill, Leeds on the Eastern Region. It is set during the 1950's/1960's and the series mainly focuses on 3 characters: Allen the A1 Pacific, Stephen the Holden B12 and Sir Ralph the A4 Pacific. Since episode 6, diesels have begun to replace the steam engines on the railways as the Modernisation Plan has begun to take place. In later episodes, this has been a major part of the series, as the engines are now becoming worried about who will be sent off to the scrapyard first.
In 2007, a group of university students decided to produce a video series for YouTube as part of a film project they had to do for a degree. After a lot of ideas, they decided to make a series about model trains after discovering Simon Martin's old train set. Originally, it was based on the Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry, but as the time period was researched more, Thomas the Tank Engine began to disappear from the "BRWS Team's" (the name the colleagues were known as) minds.
Simon Martin, whose grandfather had worked at Copley Hill, wanted the main yard to be Copley Hill from the very beginning, but the team decided that the yard would just be a generic Eastern Region yard. The first episode was originally set in 1948, and would show Allen arriving at the yard for the first time. However, the other colleagues rejected this script for one set in 1950, which later became the first episode. Soon, the team's relationship began to stretch, and after episode 6, they parted ways, although they did manage to create episodes up to episode 10 together.
After the team parted ways, Simon Martin continued to make the series, and a few members of the team continued to help him from time to time. Over the next few episodes, the set was redesigned twice to look more and more like the real yard of Copley Hill, which finally became the name of the yard in episode 10.
In 2011, Simon announced that, after a lot of thought, he had realized that the series would not go very far with the models anymore, and so after the next few episodes, the series would be converted into a CGI animation. However, he recently confirmed in his 5th anniversary Questions and Answers video that the models would be returning, and that the series was no longer CGI.
The relaunch will air in the mid 2013. Simon has been working hard so that the series would return in on YouTube. He has been releasing photographs of the new face of Allen. And so far he has made a limited edition of 2,100 printed paperback books of Tale of the Unnamed Engine. However, as of now, the series seems to have been caught to a standstill.
There are 7 "central" characters in the series. These are:
- Allen, a young and cocky A1 Pacific
- Stephen, an old and wise Holden B12
- Sir Ralph, a boastful A4 Pacific with a dark past
- Herbert, a shy and nervous Gresley V2
- Nigel, a large grumpy V3 tank engine
- Tavish, a Scottish J39
- Scott, a once famous A3 Pacific
There are currently 18 episodes and 2 special episodes in the series. The reformatted series will feature several remastered versions of the original episodes, along with all new story lines.
1. A Great Problem Goes West!
2. Veto a V2!
3. Hawk, Aye!
4. Nigel, Herbert and the Cows
5. Hand of the Fair Maid!
6. Goodbye, Stephen the Green Engine!
7. Christmas, 1952
8. Scott and the Herring Gull
9. Birds of a Feather
10. The Legacy of Gadwall
11. Hawk Eyed!
12. Hawk the Hunter
13. Suburban Tank
14. Silent Night
15. Day of the Deltic
15X. The Parting of Ways
16. Great Scott!
17. Fowler's Ghost
17X. The Ghosts of Engines Past
18. The Last Run
The British Railway Stories has now become a book series. The first book, Tale of the Unnamed Engine, was released in July 2012. The books are written by Simon Martin and illustrated by Dean Walker. The second book in the series, Great Western Glory, is currently in production and is scheduled to be released in 2018.
- Currently, 2011 is the only year to not have a new episode aired, though the Director's Cut of episode 6 was released that year.
- Simon Martin has often referred to the short-lived series TUGS as an inspiration for the series.
- Other ideas for the series were an in depth documentary on shipping an a claymation boy and his pet dog.