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"The Great Train Robbery" A Robber's Tale (TV Episode 2013) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)

(2013)

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (9)  | Audio/visual unsynchronised (1)  | Continuity (11)  | Errors in geography (5)  | Factual errors (7)

Anachronisms 

The diesel loco used carries a high intensity headlight in the middle of its nose. These were not fitted until the 1980s, though we never see it switched on in the night scenes.
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The diesel loco used carries a high intensity headlight in the middle of its nose. These were not fitted until the 1980s and is thus quite wrong for 1963. To be fair we never see it switched on in the night scenes.
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At one point the radio news is heard, preceded by the Greenwich Time Signal ("pips"). The extended final pip, heard on the movie, was not introduced until 1972.
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The robbers' fake Army vehicles consist of a Bedford RL 3-ton truck and two Land Rovers. One of the Land Rovers is a Series 2 (headlights mounted in radiator grill) which is correct for the period. However the second Land Rover has headlights mounted in the wings identifying it as a Series 3, which didn't appear till 1968, five years after the Great Train Robbery.
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The building used for Leatherslade farmhouse clearly shows the flue of a modern day condensing boiler.
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The locomotive used in the film has a center headlight. These types of headlights were only fitted to British Rail locos in the 1980s
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The sound of the locomotive horn that has been used is a single tone type that would be more at home with an engine from the USA. Post-steam British locomotives and trains have always used a two-tone horn.
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The gang have two Land Rovers for the robbery. One is clearly a series IIa but has it's headlights on the outer front wings. The head lights were not mounted on the wings until the late 1960s. It should have them placed in-board either side of the radiator grille as does the other Land Rover used.
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The vehicles used by the robbers are two Landrovers and a Bedford RL lorry. One of the Landrovers is correct, a Series 2 with the headlamps either side of the radiator grill. The other is a Series 3 with the headlamps wider apart on the wings. This Series 3 was not manufactured until 1971.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The sounding horn that is supposed to be from the diesel locomotive of the British Rail Class 40 is clearly not a Class 40 but rather an American type of horn. Also the engine sound from the locomotive they steal at first is not from an English Electric Engine.
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Continuity 

When Reynolds is laying out the scheme to his team on a chalkboard, at the end of the discussion, he wipes away half of the writing on the board. The camera cuts to his gang, and when the camera comes back to Reynolds, the whole board is covered again in writing, which he starts erasing *again*.
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When Reynolds is laying out the scheme to his team on a chalkboard, at the end of the discussion, he wipes away half of the writing on the board. The camera cuts to his gang, and when the camera comes back to Reynolds, the whole chalkboard is covered again in writing, which he starts erasing again.
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At the 39 minute mark, Bruce Reynolds starts to wipe the plans off the blackboard. Few moments later he wipes the blackboard again but the part of the plans he previous wiped off is back on the blackboard.
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When Bruce Reynolds is giving a briefing to the rest of the gang prior to the robbery, he has a map drawn on a blackboard. Towards the end of the briefing he begins to erase the top portion of the map. There is a cut away to another character and when the camera returns to Reynolds the top portion of the map has reappeared.
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The historical dates are correct, but do often not coincide with the vegetation. For example, on August 8th there are no leaves on the trees.
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When Bruce Reynolds and Roger Cordrey walk towards the signal gantry, they are facing the two signals showing red light. However when talking about moving the train forward after uncoupling the HVP car, they point backwards.
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The second Land Rover going to the robbery point is shown with only one headlight operational, seconds later both headlights are working.
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During the planning scene, Bruce Reynolds stands in front of a blackboard with map of train tracks and initials. Near the end of the scene, he begins to erase the board. There is a cut to several shots of the gang. When the camera returns to Reynolds, the map returns and he begins to erase again.
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When Bruce Reynolds is holding the final planning meeting for the robbery he begins cleaning his blackboard, then turns to speak. When he turns back to the board it is untouched and he begins cleaning it again.
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When Bruce Reynolds is wrapping up the pre-robbery meeting with all the men, he clears the top part of the blackboard as he says his "be like Dad, keep Mum" line. In the next shot, the info on the blackboard is complete with no sign of it being cleared.
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As the robbers nervously await the train, the view from the train cab shows them traveling along a single track railway. Seconds later, as the train passes the amber signal, they are on a dual track railway.
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Errors in geography 

As the mail train is travelling towards the scene of the robbery, occasional shots show it travelling along single-track line. The West Coast Main Line has at least two tracks along all its length.
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Two of the gang go to what is captioned as 'Euston trainyard' to practice driving a diesel loco. Firstly, the term 'trainyard' was and is not one in common British usage and certainly not the formal or informal title the caption implies of an engine shed (steam era) or motive power depot (diesel/electric era). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Euston did not have any such facility in 1963, the nearest engine shed was/is at Willesden.
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When Reynolds is scouting the site of the hold-up we see large hills in the background. The landscape in the Beds/Bucks area is mostly flat, in fact. Also, the stone construction of the bridge and the dry-stone wall the gang hide behind are wrong for the area. The real bridge is brick built and one would expect to find hedgerows in that area, not dry-stone walls.
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When Reynolds and the signaling guy are scouting the site of the hold up we see large hills in the background. The landscape in the Beds/Bucks area where the robbery took place is nothing like this at all! It's pretty flat in fact. Also the stone construction of the bridge and the dry stone wall the gang hide behind are quite wrong for the area. The real bridge is brick built and one would expect to find hedge rows in that area, not dry stone walls.
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Two of the gang to go what is captioned as 'Euston trainyard' - to practice driving a diesel loco. Firstly the term 'trainyard' was and is not one in common British usage and certainly not the formal or informal title the caption implies of an engine shed (steam era) or motive power depot (diesel/electric era). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Euston did not have any such facility in 1963, the nearest engine shed was/is at Willesden.
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Factual errors 

When they are attempting to drive a locomotive and they are in the engine shed. They pass by a class 08 shunter that has the British Rail 'arrows of indecision; logo (two way arrows) which weren't introduced until 1965 (2 years after the train robbery).
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In several scenes there is heavy snow on the ground and heavy snow falling, but the robbery took place in summer. July 1963 was unusually warm and the few days before and after the robbery on 8th August were unusually wet.
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In several shots of the train, including while the robbers are unloading the sacks of money, the mail car's registration number can clearly be seen as "E 70294 E", because the crime was so well publicized in 1963, many surviving newspaper photographs clearly shown the correct registration number "M 30204 M".
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The loco used on the real life train was a Class 40, an English Electric type 4 as it would have been known in 1963. The loco used in the film however was a Class 37 (English Electric type 3). They do share many external features but the 37 is shorter in length.
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The train shown is robbed on a two track section of railway. But in fact it took place on a four track section.
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The army vehicles had civilian registrations. The British Army have an entirely different registration system.
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The Land Rover shown is a British Army Mk III FFR (Fitted For Radio). The headlights were moved from inside the wings to wing-mounted during the production of the series IIA from 1968/1969. Production of the Mk III started in 1971, 8 years after the robbery. The Radio mountings are from the British Army Clansman system which was is service from 1976 to 2010.
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