Friday, March 29, 2019

The Railway Vicar ( 1967 ) - Reverend Teddy Boston

Alexander Pope so aptly wrote, "One master passion in the breast like Aaron's serpent swallows up the rest." Evidently, Reverand Edwin Richard "Teddy" Boston had a passion for model trains that could have threatened to swallow up his religious calling, however, this clever man utilized his love for these little trams into a way to "win the hearts of youngsters in his parish". 
On the grounds of his rectory at Cadeby, Leicestershire, England, this man built a 2-ft narrow gauge railway named the Cadeby Light Railway which carried passengers around the garden. He had several large railway displays including an OO gauge model depicting the Great Western Railway and a 4mm N-scale re-creation of the Isle of Man railway. 

But Teddy is perhaps best known as being the inspiration of "The Fat Clergyman" in Reverand W. Awdry's popular children's book series "The Railway Series" which was the basis of the television series Thomas and Friends. Awdry had met Boston back in 1949, when Teddy showed up unannounced at his rectory eager to look at Awdry's miniature railway display. The two had a mutual passion for trains which fueled a lifelong friendship.
Railway Vicar, a 2-minute British Pathé newsreel from 1967 only offers a teaser of the vicar's miniature-making capabilities. To learn more about Teddy, be sure to watch The Steam-Powered Vicar, a 30-minute documentary released by BBC in the 1960s. 

Boston passed away in 1986, but his wife Audrey, kept the Cadeby Light Railway open to the public up until 2005. She, too, had a love for trains and traction engines, and together they founded the annual Market Bosworth Steam Engine Rally in 1964. For those who are not familiar with steam engine rallies, take a peek at the British comedy film The Iron Maiden ( 1962 ), starring Michael Craig and Alan Hale. 

Ready to watch Railway Vicar? Simply click here!


  1. This article is a true delight. Thank you, from the mom of a lifelong "Thomas" fan.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, CW. "Thomas and friends" is such a good program - I never knew it was penned by a reverend!