The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Southern Railway
Southern Railway

Southern Railway 1937


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Southern Railway 1937

40 mins United Kingdom

This amazing production by Eric Sparks features a panoply of Southern Railway action filmed when electrification was beginning to make an impact on the region’s railways. There are steam locomotives aplenty at various locations - working between Brighton and Bognor Regis. Colour sequences show the famous de-luxe Brighton Belle trains arriving and departing followed by amazing shots of engines at Brighton Works. We also see signalmen coping with rail and road traffic.

This film compilation by Eric Sparks, which comes courtesy of Robert Bamberough, is a stunning record of a railway in transition - from steam to modern electric working. Sparks certainly enjoyed privileged access to many areas of the then Southern Railway, including Brighton Works, where he filmed locomotives and rolling stock, as well as a number of footplate rides on both steam and electric trains. He also captured amazing footage from traditional signalboxes, where cars can be seen dodging level-crossing gates, to modern boxes like that at the entrance to Brighton Station. Sparks even managed to film the replacement of an old bridge, using a pair of powerful steam cranes, across the River Arun.

Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.

Read lessRead more


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later