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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Blue PullmanBlue Pullman

Industry sponsored film196024 mins

A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.

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Farewell to SteamFarewell to Steam

Amateur film19663 minsSilent Location: Hampshire

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

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Track TestingTrack Testing

19768 minsSilent

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

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Training Diesel DriversTraining Diesel Drivers

News19626 mins Location: Derby

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

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Inter-city MagicInter-city Magic

Documentary19771 minsSilent

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

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A Future on RailA Future on Rail

Industry sponsored film19579 mins

A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.

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Inter-city 1250Inter-city 1250

Travelogue19825 mins

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

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Making of WokingMaking of Woking

Amateur film198515 mins Location: Woking

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.

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Woman Train DriverWoman Train Driver

Current affairs19803 mins Location: West Somerset Railway

Amy enters traditional male preserve of train driving

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Anglia ElectrificationAnglia Electrification

Sponsored film198219 mins Location: Norwich

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!”

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Great Western PortsGreat Western Ports

Industry sponsored film192986 minsSilent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd

"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).

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Last Goods Train from SheringhamLast Goods Train from Sheringham

Amateur film19646 minsSilent Location: Sheringham

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.

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The Introduction of the InterCity 125 to TruroThe Introduction of the InterCity 125 to Truro

Current affairs19801 minsSilent Location: Truro

The Mayor of Truro John Farndon at the launch of British Rail’s new InterCity 125 high-speed train

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Cambridge - St IvesCambridge - St Ives

Amateur film19688 minsSilent Location: Cambridge

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

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Threat of ClosureThreat of Closure

Amateur film196810 minsSilent Location: Aldeburgh

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.

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Amateur film19703 minsSilent Location: Belfast

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

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Neville Chamberlain Opens New Railway StationNeville Chamberlain Opens New Railway Station

Non-Fiction19264 minsSilent Location: Welwyn Garden City

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

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Any More For Birdbrook?Any More For Birdbrook?

Amateur film196121 mins Location: Yeldhams

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.

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Wires over the BorderWires over the Border

Industry sponsored film197418 mins

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

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

Amateur film196518 minsSilent Location: Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain

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.

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Owen Humberstone Prosser - Ebbw ValeOwen Humberstone Prosser - Ebbw Vale

Amateur film195916 minsSilent Location: Crumlin

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.

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The West Somerset Railway Company Part IThe West Somerset Railway Company Part I

Current affairs19764 mins Location: West Somerset Railway

The West Somerset Railway Company attempts to revive the line

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The West Somerset Railway Company Part 2The West Somerset Railway Company Part 2

Current affairs19766 mins Location: West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway in reshuffle

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The West Somerset Railway Company Part 3The West Somerset Railway Company Part 3

Current affairs19783 mins Location: Taunton

West Somerset Railway forestalls closure

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Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961

Industry sponsored film196119 minsSilent Location: Ponteland

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.

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The Long DragThe Long Drag

Documentary196351 mins Location: Settle

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.

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Your New RailwayYour New Railway

News196720 mins Location: Birmingham

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.

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Margam Marshalling Yard - the system of automatic controlMargam Marshalling Yard - the system of automatic control

Industry sponsored film196120 mins Location: Margam

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.

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Great Central RailwayGreat Central Railway

News19625 mins Location: Chesterfield

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

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Shrub Hill Railway StationShrub Hill Railway Station

News19725 mins Location: Shrub Hill Sta

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.

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Railway CateringRailway Catering

News19796 mins

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.

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Consall VillageConsall Village

News19655 mins Location: Consallforge

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

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Kineton Signal BoxKineton Signal Box

News19654 mins Location: Kineton

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?

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To Build an Island's FutureTo Build an Island's Future

Promotional19547 mins Location: Loughborough

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

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Sale of Railway FittingsSale of Railway Fittings

News19645 mins Location: Derby

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

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The End Of A LineThe End Of A Line

Amateur film196210 minsSilent Location: Coniston

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

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On Line into the NinetiesOn Line into the Nineties

Documentary198726 mins Location: Norwich

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.

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The Swansong of SteamThe Swansong of Steam

Amateur film197017 minsSilent Location: Ardee

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.

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Anglia Reports - Railways Transport SpecialAnglia Reports - Railways Transport Special

Documentary198224 mins Location: Norwich

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?”

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Lostwithiel Railway Station in disrepairLostwithiel Railway Station in disrepair

Current affairs19761 minsSilent Location: Lostwithiel

Lostwithiel Station in British Railways waiting room

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Southern RailwaySouthern Railway

Amateur film193740 minsSilent

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

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Southern Electric Brighton Belle PullmanSouthern Electric Brighton Belle Pullman

Amateur film19679 minsSilent

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

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The Last Horse-Drawn Tram in IrelandThe Last Horse-Drawn Tram in Ireland

Amateur film195422 minsSilent Location: Mullan

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.

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Rush HourRush Hour

Documentary19703 mins

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

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The Last Train to Blaenau 22.1.61The Last Train to Blaenau 22.1.61

Amateur film19617 minsSilent Location: Bala/Y Bala

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

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Belief in the FutureBelief in the Future

Training film/TV programme197614 mins

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

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In Case of FireIn Case of Fire

Non-Fiction19311 mins

In case of fire, call Mr Morris’ baby fire engine, demonstrated here in the grounds of Cowley works.

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Locomotive JubileeLocomotive Jubilee

Documentary19626 mins

Prince Phillip drives a Warship loco at an exhibition of locomotive development held at Marylebone Station.

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Railways TodayRailways Today

Documentary194716 mins

Is nationalisation the answer to Britain's post-war railway problems? The Labour government thinks so.

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Using TopsUsing Tops

Industry sponsored film197819 mins

British Rail freight movement made fascinating - and fun.

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Who Voted for This? - The Nationalisation of the RailwaysWho Voted for This? - The Nationalisation of the Railways

Campaigning film19481 mins

Little lad Sam innocently sets the scene for some stern political pronouncements on rail nationalisation

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Camwell Personal Film no. 129: Shropshire and Montgomeryshire RailwayCamwell Personal Film no. 129: Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway

Amateur film19623 minsSilent

Stephenson Locomotive Society members visit the former Colonel Stephen’s railway for a Last Day special.

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Camwell Personal Film No. 61: Reopening of Welshpool & Llanfair RailwayCamwell Personal Film No. 61: Reopening of Welshpool & Llanfair Railway

Amateur film19632 minsSilent

The Earl and Countess are in the limelight as the Welshpool and Llanfair railway is declared open as a preserved railway.

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Camwell Personal Film No. 62: Welshpool Raven Square RailwayCamwell Personal Film No. 62: Welshpool Raven Square Railway

Amateur film19631 minsSilent

A short colour glimpse of preserved Welshpool steam on the ‘other’ side of Raven Square.

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Camwell Personal Film No. 44: August Bank Holiday 1959Camwell Personal Film No. 44: August Bank Holiday 1959

Amateur film19593 minsSilent

A whistle-stop trip along Great Eastern lines as we take in many closed and long-lamented stations.

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The George Bennie Railplane System of TransportThe George Bennie Railplane System of Transport

193023 minsSilent

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

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Fully Fitted FreightFully Fitted Freight

Industry sponsored film195720 mins

Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.

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Documentary19728 mins

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

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Overture: One-Two-FiveOverture: One-Two-Five

Industry sponsored film19787 mins

A high speed Inter-City train is the star of this impressionist film in which picture and music are brought together to hail the arrival of 125mph regular passenger services.