Strangers on a Train at Chasewater

The Lichfield Festival has a fantastic track record of doing some really exciting intergenerational heritage projects in interesting places as part of their education and learning programme. In previous years young people have brought their family’s experiences of World War II onto the screen, made visits to the National Memorial Arboretum, interviewed a veteran held as a PoW in Sumatra, explored the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn and interviewed local residents about stories and fairytales they remember from their childhood.

Strangers on a train at Chasewater

This year is equally ambitious, with a challenge to young people to create a short film on the theme ‘Strangers on a Train’. A team of budding film makers scripted the three shorts which were filmed in a day at Chasewater Railway. The young people learnt film making skills, performed in front of the camera and assisted with directing. They were supported by drama specialist Jo Billingham and also PHC member Rachel Gillies – Community Film Maker.

The railway itself is a former colliery railway, which served the coalfields of the Cannock Chase area. It has since been restored in part with a two mile section operating as a passenger line. Both First Class and Second Class carriages were made available to the group for filming on the platform of Brownhills West Station. The attraction is run entirely by volunteers, who have created a space which looks and feels like the heyday of the steam era.

The three short films, ‘The Good, The Bad and the Cliché’, ‘Bomb on a Train’ and ‘The Wrong Ticket’ will be screened during the Festival at the Sol Cinema, ‘the world’s smallest solar movie theatre’ on Saturday 4th July, 10am-5pm at Three Spires Shopping Centre.