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Fred Dibnah’s Steam Collection

Fred Dibnah's Steam CollectionFor the many enthusiasts for whom
  steam holds a fascination, the lovable
  and eccentric Fred Dibnah follows up
  his successful DVD Fred Dibnah
  Railway Collection
with the release of
  Fred Dibnah
s Steam Collection...”

FEATURING ALMOST SIX HOURS of previously unseen footage shot for the BBC, Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection is now available on DVD, presented by the man who is so fascinated by steam-powered machines that he has spent much of his life restoring them and studying their history. Fred is delighted to share his passion for steam in this wonderful three-disc set.

Fred's rough but engaging Lancastrian manner, his trademark flat cap and his love for the mechanical world has endeared him to the British public

The three programmes featured — The Story Of The Traction Engine, Britain's Biggest Engines and On The Road With Fred — come together to complete the celebration of Britain's glorious steam history that is Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection DVD.

Disc 1 — The Story Of The Traction Engine looks at the early steam carriages, the development of the traction engine, road locomotives, steamrollers, showman's engines, steam lorries and preservation. Fred explains the history of the early steam-powered vehicles, from the development of the first traction engines to the great steam engines of the Twentieth Century.

Cornish engineer and inventor Richard Trevithick built an elegant and light steam carriage back in 1803 and Fred also comes face to face with a Puffing Devil from 1801. From wrecks to restored magnificence, Fred sees them all and meets the men who share his enthusiasm.

Taking in some of Britain's major traction engine collections, Fred brings the history of the machines that helped shape Britain to life in his own inimitable style. Visiting the Long Shop Museum in Suffolk, he finds that Garrett's Suffolk Punch isn't quite what it seems and at The Thursford Collection, in Norfolk, we learn about George Cushing, who collected 45 of these engines.

The first steamroller was built by Thomas Aveling in 1867 but by the time that was superseded by the faster Wallis & Steevens Advanced steamrollers, petrol and diesel engines were taking over. During the First World War, traction engine wheels were used to move the big guns. Traction engines also generated the power for the Bioscope, an early form of cinema, and steam was also introduced into fairgrounds in the 1870s.

Mill engines, pit winding engines and pumping engines are covered on Disc 2 (Britain's Biggest Engines), which sees Fred visiting the 1907 state-of-the-art Trencherfield Mill at Wigan Pier — built by William Woods on the site of two earlier mills — that now houses one of the biggest surviving mill steam engines in the world.

He also visits Astley Green colliery, where enthusiasts have worked for twenty years on a large steam engine that once turned the huge wheel of the colliery. And then comes the very ornate Papplewick pumping station, built in 1884 to serve Nottingham.

Disc 3 — On The Road With Fred — follows Fred's 'grand tour' of British steam history as he sets off with his friend Alf Molyneux around Cumbria, the Scottish borders, the North East and Yorkshire — in his own steam traction engine that he took 27 years restoring — and stops off at the famous Teesside landmark, the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.

Built in 1911, the Transporter Bridge is capable of carrying 600 people at a time. You walk (or drive) into a cradle suspended beneath the main span of the bridge — 160ft above the river Tees. This cradle then carries its cargo of cars and pedestrians across the river in less than three minutes.

Following a couple of setbacks and near-disasters, Fred is finally out on the road, driving through the lovely countryside of the North and meeting fellow enthusiasts. Fred is fascinating to listen to and his enthusiasm is infectious as he shares his experiences of the excitement and difficulties of owning a steam engine in Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection.

Taken from the Made In Britain television series, this specially edited version shows the first half of Fred's incredible journey in full, including footage not previously seen on television.

Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection is produced by the independent television production company The View From The North. The Leeds-based family-run company was founded by David Hall (who Produced and Directed the series) in 1998 and he has worked extensively with Fred ever since.

Acorn Media and The View From The North are delighted to announce the DVD release of Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection three-disc set. Release Date 27 December (2008) | RRP: 24.99 | Catalogue No AV9686 | Running Time: 424 minutes.

"Fred is fascinating to listen to and his enthusiasm is infectious as he shares his experiences of the excitement and difficulties of owning a steam engine in Fred Dibnah's Steam Collection" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar