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Train to the Future

All change! The railways embodied the spirit of modernity in the 19th century, and technology has wrought huge changes ever since.

Railways always point ahead. At least before the digital revolution, it's hard to think of any industry so preoccupied with its own future. No other industry has survived such comprehensive change. From steam to diesel to electric and the introduction ever more sophisticated signalling, Britain's railways are always a work in progress. But passion for the railways runs so high that modernisation has always been double-edged - some still tremble at the name of Dr Beeching...

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Train to the Future

RECOMMENDED

View Solutions?
Solutions?
Watch for free 7 mins

Solutions? 1972

A musical illustration of life where road traffic chaos breeds anger and frustration, but the rail network is fast, smooth and relaxing

7 mins United Kingdom Director. Norman Prouting

View Farewell to Steam
Farewell to Steam
Watch for free 2 mins

Farewell to Steam 1966

A film maker's attempt to record the last steam-hauled passenger and freight trains running along the West of England mainline from Waterloo

2 mins United Kingdom

View Track Testing
Track Testing
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Track Testing 1976

Testing times as we make a journey on board British Rail's High Speed Track Recording Coach.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Training Diesel Drivers
Training Diesel Drivers
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Training Diesel Drivers 1962

Farewell to the faithful steam war-horse as modernisation brings diesel power to the railways of Britain.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Inter-city Magic
Inter-city Magic
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Inter-city Magic 1977

Not-so-special special effects add the magic touch to this kitsch British Rail commercial.

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Dickson

View The George Bennie Railplane System of Transport
The George Bennie Railplane System of Transport
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The George Bennie Railplane System of Transport 1930

High-speed luxury travel up to 150mph: the future of rail travel is in the air and it's going to be great for British steel

23 mins United Kingdom

BROWSE THE COLLECTION

View Inter-city 1250
Inter-city 1250
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Inter-city 1250 1982

King's Cross to Peterborough at 1250 miles per hour on board the Intercity 125

4 mins United Kingdom Director. C. David Lochner

View Making of Woking
Making of Woking
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Making of Woking 1985

An award winning amateur film tracing the transformation of Woking, from open heath to modern commuter-belt town. The film also features the famous Brookwood Necropolis.

15 mins United Kingdom

View Woman Train Driver
Woman Train Driver
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Woman Train Driver 1980

Amy enters traditional male preserve of train driving

3 mins United Kingdom

View Anglia Electrification
Anglia Electrification
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Anglia Electrification 1982

Electro-rock background music plays as engineers work on the rail lines to deliver electrification in East Anglia, for this is the “high speed eighties!”

17 mins United Kingdom

View Great Western Ports
Great Western Ports
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Great Western Ports 1929

"Any Ware to Anywhere" - a film advertising the thoroughly modern merits of the Great Western Railway ports (e.g. Cardiff, Newport, Barry, Port Talbot, Swansea, Fishguard).

86 mins United Kingdom

View Last Goods Train from Sheringham
Last Goods Train from Sheringham
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Last Goods Train from Sheringham 1964

The very last freight train departs from Sheringham Station on 28th December 1964, following the withdrawal of the service in the wake of the Beeching Report.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Cambridge - St Ives
Cambridge - St Ives
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Cambridge - St Ives 1968

Amateur film capturing the Cambridge to St Ives Eastern Rail route prior to its closure following the Beeching Report.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Threat of Closure
Threat of Closure
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Threat of Closure 1968

Amateur filmmaker Chib Thorp captures scenic views of the Norfolk countryside and familiar landmarks as his train zips along on the Dereham Central to Norwich Thorpe rail route.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Enterprise
Enterprise
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Enterprise 1970

There are no signs of steam locomotives as amateur film maker A. H. Martin captures a new age in rail travel.

3 mins Northern Ireland Director. A.H Martin

View Neville Chamberlain Opens New Railway Station
Neville Chamberlain Opens New Railway Station
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Neville Chamberlain Opens New Railway Station 1926

Empire News Bulletin record the Conservative Minister Neville Chamberlain at Welwyn Station's official opening ceremony.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Any More For Birdbrook?
Any More For Birdbrook?
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Any More For Birdbrook? 1961

Picturesque views of the East Anglian countryside, often the view from a train chugging along accompany the filmmaker’s wry commentary about the Birdbrook Station closure.

20 mins United Kingdom

View Wires over the Border
Wires over the Border
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Wires over the Border 1974

An account, in human and non-technical terms, of the electrification of the West Coast main line railway from Crewe to Glasgow

17 mins United Kingdom Director. C. David Lochner

View Jan 14 1965 Llanfyllin to Oswestry Branch Line
Jan 14 1965 Llanfyllin to Oswestry Branch Line
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Jan 14 1965 Llanfyllin to Oswestry Branch Line 1965

One of the last journeys on the Llanfyllin Branch Line which, like the Oswestry and Newtown Railway, was cut by Beeching in 1965, both having been in use for just over a century.

17 mins Wales

View Owen Humberstone Prosser - Ebbw Vale
Owen Humberstone Prosser - Ebbw Vale
Watch for free 15 mins

Owen Humberstone Prosser - Ebbw Vale 1959

Owen Humberstone Prosser, an expert on railways and canals, captured the Crumlin Viaduct on film in 1959, before its demolition in 1967, a victim of the Beeching rail cuts.

15 mins Wales

View Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961
Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961
Watch for free 18 mins

Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961 1961

Interest in the renewing of railway track might be confined to a select group, but the bewildering variety of equipment on show here cannot help but impress and fascinate.

18 mins United Kingdom

View The Long Drag
The Long Drag
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The Long Drag 1963

Not just a chance to see locomotives steaming over viaducts, with the axe hanging over both, here we have the full glory of the Settle to Carlisle line, and its place in rural life.

51 mins United Kingdom

View Your New Railway
Your New Railway
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Your New Railway 1967

The first electric train glides out of the rebuilt New Street Station in Birmingham - the culmination of years of engineering work that brought a new standard of travel to Britain.

19 mins United Kingdom

View Margam Marshalling Yard - The System of Automatic Control
Margam Marshalling Yard - The System of Automatic Control
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Margam Marshalling Yard - The System of Automatic Control 1961

Skill, ingenuity and gravity, combined with a ‘hump’ or slope, have produced Europe’s first automated yard for organising thousands of railway wagons at Margam, Port Talbot.

20 mins England

View Great Central Railway
Great Central Railway
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Great Central Railway 1962

Doctor Beeching sounds the death knell for the Great Central main line.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Shrub Hill Railway Station
Shrub Hill Railway Station
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Shrub Hill Railway Station 1972

With eighty trains a day stopping at Shrub Hill station in Worcester the staff haven't become the fastest dispatchers in the West of England region for nothing.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Railway Catering
Railway Catering
Watch for free 6 mins

Railway Catering 1979

Trying (but failing) to avoid the jokes about curled up sandwiches, John Swallow finds out if the food's really as bad on the West Coast Main Line as people say it is.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Consall Village
Consall Village
Watch for free 5 mins

Consall Village 1965

With the railway line gone the only access to Consall Forge is via a private toll road. Will the tiny Staffordshire hamlet survive?

5 mins United Kingdom

View Kineton Signal Box
Kineton Signal Box
Watch for free 4 mins

Kineton Signal Box 1965

Dr Beeching has ensured that the last train has now departed from Kineton so what is there to do but drink tea and enjoy the quiet life?

4 mins United Kingdom

View To Build an Island's Future
To Build an Island's Future
Watch for free 6 mins

To Build an Island's Future 1954

Through blazing sun and monsoon rain new British built diesel locomotives keep communications open on the far off island of Ceylon.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Sale of Railway Fittings
Sale of Railway Fittings
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Sale of Railway Fittings 1964

A sentimental sale or simply for profit? British Railways sells off the history that doesn't fit with the swinging sixties.

5 mins United Kingdom

View The End of a Line
The End of a Line
Watch for free 9 mins

The End of a Line 1962

A filmic lament to the closure of a railway line located amidst the beautiful Cumbrian countryside captured by East Anglian amateur filmmaker Ron Wing.

9 mins United Kingdom

View On Line into the Nineties
On Line into the Nineties
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On Line into the Nineties 1987

There are many hands on the job as new replaces old on the Great Eastern rail route, including replacing the magnificent Trowse Swing bridge in Norwich.

26 mins United Kingdom

View The Swansong of Steam
The Swansong of Steam
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The Swansong of Steam 1970

Steam locomotives await their fate as a new era dawns. Witness final working year of steam and the burgeoning nostalgic tours of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

17 mins Northern Ireland Director. A.H Martin

View Anglia Reports - Railways Transport Special
Anglia Reports - Railways Transport Special
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Anglia Reports - Railways Transport Special 1982

1982 was a particularly bad year for rail commuters, with five weeks of rail strikes to contend with. Anglia Television asks, “What shall we do with the railways system?”

24 mins United Kingdom

View Southern Railway
Southern Railway
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Southern Railway 1937

This stunning film by Eric J. Sparks, features a variety of steam and electric action for fans of the Southern Railway - from luxury Pullmans to humble shunters at Brighton works

40 mins United Kingdom

View Southern Electric Brighton Belle Pullman
Southern Electric Brighton Belle Pullman
Watch for free 9 mins

Southern Electric Brighton Belle Pullman 1967

Sit back and watch the world's only all Pullman, electric train service make its luxurious way up and down the Brighton line in this film from the mid-sixties

9 mins United Kingdom

View The Last Horse-Drawn Tram in Ireland
The Last Horse-Drawn Tram in Ireland
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The Last Horse-Drawn Tram in Ireland 1954

Travel through the ages and experience the last horse drawn tram in Ireland. As steam and horses give way to diesel and electric witness N. Ireland whilst they still share the road.

21 mins Northern Ireland

View Rush Hour
Rush Hour
Watch for free 3 mins

Rush Hour 1970

Rush hour at Waterloo Station is condensed into three minutes in this breakneck short from Nick Nicholls.

3 mins United Kingdom Director. Nick Nicholls

View The Last Train to Blaenau 22.1.61
The Last Train to Blaenau 22.1.61
Watch for free 7 mins

The Last Train to Blaenau 22.1.61 1961

A very Special goodbye to the Bala-Blaenau line organised by the Stephenson Locomotive Society.

7 mins Wales

View Belief in the Future
Belief in the Future
Watch for free 20 mins

Belief in the Future 1976

Gripping speech to railway staff by British Rail chief Peter Parker offers a 1970s view of the future.

20 mins United Kingdom

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