Can you spot the gunpowder van in the bustling Belfast traffic? A. H. Martin captures the changing face of transport with enthusiastic detail. Jaunting cars that taxi passengers zip past. You can see the soft path of ash sprinkled on the tracks to protect the horse’s hooves. Glimpse the rusting shells of steam engines as diesel powered trains sprint across Northern Ireland. The last train to grace your screen starred alongside Sean Connery in ‘The First Great Train Robbery’
The meeting between Connery and the 186 train was as dramatic as the script. During filming the crew misjudged the train’s speed, combined with blinding smoke causing him to slip and nearly tumble off the moving carriages.
The Fintona horse-drawn tram closed in 1957 after 104 years of service by horse’s all named Dick. There were so many people packed onto the final tram that Dick’s legs gave way. To spare the horse many passengers walked back to town. They reportedly sang, “Last tram to Fintona junction...if you miss this one you’ll never get another one” to the tune of ‘Last Train to San Fernando’. It was the second last horse-drawn tram in the UK. You can visit the tramcar in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.