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Watching the Trains Go By

A trackside view: see the railway as witnessed by the passenger, the enthusiast and the amateur cine-camera.

Sir John Betjeman, for one, wrote movingly about the glorious indulgence of watching trains go by. For others, the joy of this hobby was enhanced by a particular piece of equipment - hail the railway enthusiast with a cine camera! The decline of steam traction and the mass line closures of the 1950s and 60s coincided with the introduction of affordable film cameras, and many enthusiasts took to the rails to record scenes that would soon change beyond recognition. Their films, however crude or shaky, are now priceless history.

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Among the Rails of Wales
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Among the Rails of Wales

Amateur film195212 mins Location: Welshpool/Y Trallwng

Jim Fraser of Bristol, with great affection for his subject, introduces the viewer to the “quaint little railways and tramways” of Wales.

Trail of The Iron Horse
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Trail of The Iron Horse

Amateur film196637 mins Location: Maldon

Shy and testy retired signalman Wally Trigg chats to amateur filmmaker and railway enthusiast Chib Thorp, as Micky the Collie happily ambles along the overgrown railway line.

The Rocket
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The Rocket

Amateur film19294 minsSilent Location: Darlington

A full size replica of Robert Stephenson’s world famous locomotive, The Rocket, steams up a 1920s crowd at the North Road Works in Darlington.

Railway with a Heart of Gold
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Railway with a Heart of Gold

Documentary196515 mins Location: Talyllyn Railway

At the heart of the Talyllyn Railway are the volunteers – e.g. schoolboys, bus drivers, actors – whose commitment ensures the line’s continuance, despite the odd derailment.

A Special Event
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A Special Event

Amateur film19582 minsSilent

The West Sussex Downsman railtour visits Midhurst, eminent Victorians appear in Petersfield and part of the town's railway fabric is demolished just before its centenary

Railway Vicar
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Railway Vicar

Non-Fiction19787 mins Location: Royal Leamington Spa

Church bells, organs and choirs are all sounds you'd expect to hear at a church - but what about the sound of a steam locomotive at full tilt?

John Betjeman Goes by Train: King's Lynn to Hunstanton
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John Betjeman Goes by Train: King's Lynn to Hunstanton

Travelogue196210 mins

John Betjeman revels in the pleasures of travelling along the small branch line from King's Lynn to Hunstanton.

Open Day at Brighton Station
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Open Day at Brighton Station

Amateur film19743 minsSilent Location: Brighton

There's an impressive line-up of preserved steam at Brighton Station in this film from the early seventies

From Colleges to Courses
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From Colleges to Courses

Amateur film196712 minsSilent Location: Cambridge

A train journey beginning at the Cambridgeshire capital and terminating at the tiny station of Kennett, where the train staff enjoy a cup of tea.

The Selsey Tramway
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The Selsey Tramway

Amateur film19282 minsSilent Location: Chichester

This amazing footage captures a unique little railway at work during its declining years in the late 1920s

Carmarthen Railway Activities
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Carmarthen Railway Activities

Amateur film19501 minsSilent Location: Carmarthen/Caerfyrddin

A young boy, fascinated by town life after being brought up in a mining village, captures on film the comings-and-goings at Carmarthen Railway Station.

East Somerset Railway Open Day
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East Somerset Railway Open Day

News19761 mins Location: East Somerset Railway

The East Somerset Railway opens its cabs

Ffestiniog Railway - Rough Cut
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Ffestiniog Railway - Rough Cut

Amateur film195610 minsSilent Location: Ffestiniog Railway

Coach restoration, weed killing and Bessie Jones, wearer of Welsh costume, gathering visitors for tea at her station cottage at Tan-y-Bwlch on the Ffestiniog Railway.

Trains, the Deep Dyffryn Diddler and the East Moors Works Demolition
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Trains, the Deep Dyffryn Diddler and the East Moors Works Demolition

Home movie197917 minsSilent Location: St Fagans

Enthusiasts take their places in coal wagons for a tour of the NCB's internal rail network between Newport and Cardiff, the wagons hauled by both diesel and steam engines.

The Ffestiniog Railway
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The Ffestiniog Railway

Amateur film195716 minsSilent Location: Ffestiniog Railway

It’s all go to get the Ffestiniog Railway back on track after its 8 year closure (1946-1954). The Ffestiniog Railway Company, the new owner, is undertaking its restoration.

Holidays with Train Driving Lessons
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Holidays with Train Driving Lessons

Factual TV19794 mins Location: North Norfolk Railway

“It’s a living creature, not just a load of metal. It’s alive and warm - you’ve got to nurse it.” Tom fulfils his ambition to drive a steam locomotive.

Future Uncertain
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Future Uncertain

Amateur film19688 mins Location: King's Lynn

A whistle-stop venture from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton via rail, in the company of Chib Thorp, amateur filmmaker and rail enthusiast from Leigh on Sea.

Rails Into Ghost Town
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Rails Into Ghost Town

Amateur film196620 mins Location: Woodford Halse

Amateur filmmaker Chib Thorpe clutches his train bible – a British Railways timetable, accompanied by willing travellers, wife Edna and Micky the Border Collie.

Llanfair Railway
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Llanfair Railway

Home movie196011 minsSilent Location: Welshpool & Llanfair Light Rly

Beware the iron horse – locomotive 822 [The Earl] – lumbering through the streets of Welshpool, no barriers to keep it at bay, and emerging, ghost-like, from its shed at night!

Bousfield Personal Film 2: Colour Scrapbook
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Bousfield Personal Film 2: Colour Scrapbook

Amateur film193717 minsSilent Location: Dulwich

An aptly named scrapbook film featuring a train spotter's view of King's Cross around 1937, river journeys and Home Guard training

Glengarry Cinema Topical News No.5
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Glengarry Cinema Topical News No.5

Amateur film193015 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

Come to Liverpool to celebrate a century of railway history.

Steam Museum at Cadeby Vicarage
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Steam Museum at Cadeby Vicarage

Non-Fiction19735 mins Location: Cadeby

At a vicarage in Leicestershire a little bit of the old Great Western Railway lives on.

Last years of Victoria to Portsmouth expresses
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Last years of Victoria to Portsmouth expresses

Amateur film19773 minsSilent Location: Dorking

There's slam-door action aplenty in this film which chronicles the end of mid-Sussex expresses being routed through Dorking Station

Miniature Railway - Stapleford
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Miniature Railway - Stapleford

Non-Fiction19756 mins Location: Stapleford Park

At Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray Lord Gretton has fulfilled a dream in running his own railway.

Wrexham Central to Ellesmere Line 1962
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Wrexham Central to Ellesmere Line 1962

Amateur film196212 minsSilent Location: Wrexham/Wrecsam

The last passengers to travel the Wrexham Central to Ellesmere Line on 8/9/1962 are recorded by a railway and film enthusiast.

A Steam Train Returns to the Rails
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A Steam Train Returns to the Rails

Amateur film19883 mins Location: Belfast

Plumes of smoke join the clouds again as a steam train races across Northern Ireland. If steam trains retired in 1970 is this one is eighteen years late?

SS Mona's Isle V
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SS Mona's Isle V

Amateur film19783 minsSilent Location: Portadown

Amateur film maker A.H. Martin captures the SS Mona’s Isle V at work two years before the ship stars for Hugh Hudson in ‘Chariots of Fire’.

Hardboard Hotel
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Hardboard Hotel

Amateur film19703 minsSilent Location: Belfast

Feast your eyes on this buffet for transport lovers. Squeeze in a visit to the ‘hardboard hotel’ between your train and plane spotting.

Beech Hurst Miniature Railway Under Construction
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Beech Hurst Miniature Railway Under Construction

Amateur film197427 minsSilent Location: Haywards Heath

Join these ardent amateur navvies as they attempt to double the size of the Beech Hurst Miniature Railway

Moving Motorways: The Spoil Train to Belfast
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Moving Motorways: The Spoil Train to Belfast

Amateur film196710 minsSilent Location: Magheramorne

Celebrate the final years of steam by chasing the Spoil Train across Antrim, as yesterday’s quarry waste becomes today’s busiest motorway.

King’s Wimbledon Presentation, Wimbledon
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King’s Wimbledon Presentation, Wimbledon

Amateur film19351 minsSilent Location: Wimbledon

Short extract from a home movie featuring children from King’s College School, Wimbledon, visiting the station and seeing the King’s Wimbledon locomotive.

A Railway Miscellany
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A Railway Miscellany

Amateur film197011 minsSilent Location: Rainhill

Railways great and small, past, present and preserved - a snapshot of rail in Britain in the 1970s.

West London Line
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West London Line

Amateur film196116 minsSilent Location: Old Oak Common

A variety of hard working Great Western motive power is on display in this impressive and atmospheric film shot during the twilight years of steam in West London

Steam Smoke & Sentiment
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Steam Smoke & Sentiment

Amateur film198216 mins Location: Bluebell Railway

Steam, smoke, grime and oil add to the atmosphere of this award winning film about a day in the life of the Bluebell Railway

Operation Bluebell
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Operation Bluebell

Amateur film19607 mins Location: Bluebell Railway

Enjoy this charming film from Trevor White which charts the birth of the Bluebell Railway - from the germ of an idea into a fully functioning steam railway

Bluebell Railway through the years
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Bluebell Railway through the years

Amateur film197032 minsSilent Location: Bluebell Railway

Twenty years of the Bluebell Railway are chronicled in this film - featuring open days, journeys on low-loaders, the Golden Arrow Pullman service and even Stephenson's Rocket

NYMR News No. 1
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NYMR News No. 1

Non-Fiction19734 mins Location: Pickering

No money incentives required for the dedicated volunteers bringing the defunct Whitby to Pickering up to speed for re-opening, and for the arrival of the iconic Flying Scotsman.

NYMR News No. 2
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NYMR News No. 2

Non-Fiction19749 mins Location: Grosmont

Rails are lifted, fishplates fitted and keys hammered into place, as another Sir Nigel Gresley, saved from the scrapyard, gets a second life on the North Yorkshire Moors.

NYMR News No. 3
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NYMR News No. 3

Non-Fiction197522 mins Location: Pickering

A railway year to remember, with celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Stockton to Darlington line, the opening of the National Railway Museum and steam engines aplenty.

NYMR News No. 4
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NYMR News No. 4

Non-Fiction197614 mins Location: Grosmont

Beeching may have had his way in devastating the railway network, but thankfully many railway enthusiasts were on hand to save at least some lines, as here on the North York Moors.

NYMR News No. 5
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NYMR News No. 5

Non-Fiction197710 mins Location: Pickering

All aboard the Silver Jubilee special in the company of Leon Brittan as it wends its way across the North York Moors pulled by a steam loco with the famous name of George Stephenson.

Steam Again in Devon
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Steam Again in Devon

Amateur film19731 minsSilent Location: Torbay

Steam Again in Devon - the Iconic Flying Scotsman

David and Goliath
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David and Goliath

Non-Fiction19261 minsSilent

A gleaming giant of steam and its cute Lilliputian cousin are an even match in this newsreel battle of the trains

Once upon a Line
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Once upon a Line

Documentary194710 mins

Model husbands prove that size isn't everything as they get steamed up over Lilliput locomotives

Rowntrees Kit Kat: Model Train: 82997
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Rowntrees Kit Kat: Model Train: 82997

19571 mins

Tri-ang model railways are a lure for children and big kids, but Kit Kat gets the grown-ups' attention

Railway Scenes - Wilmslow
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Railway Scenes - Wilmslow

Amateur film195916 minsSilent Location: Wilmslow

From diesel to electrification - a miscellany of railway footage in Cheshire.

Push and Pull
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Push and Pull

Non-Fiction19687 mins Location: Keighley

The age of steam lingers on as the `Worth Valley Railway Re-Opening Special' pulls into Keighley station, and hardly an anorak in sight.

Mid Wales Express and Sir Haydn
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Mid Wales Express and Sir Haydn

Home movie19847 minsSilent Location: Bitterne

The Mid Wales Express is on tour with star attraction ‘Sir Haydn’, a Talyllyn Railway locomotive, the aim being to promote Wales as an ideal location for industry and tourism.

Cader Idris & Talyllyn
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Cader Idris & Talyllyn

Amateur film195714 minsSilent Location: Dolgoch

Down Talyllyn way, 22/5/1957, with the Rev W V Awdry of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ fame and other Talyllyn Railway notables. J Adams films the BBC filming ‘Now’ series footage.

Summer Service Only
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Summer Service Only

Documentary195713 minsSilent Location: Talyllyn Railway

P B Whitehouse, an authority on railways, extols the virtues of “the little railway” – the Talyllyn - that runs from Rhydyronen to Abergynolwyn and beyond.

Talyllyn Railway Royal Visit 1982
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Talyllyn Railway Royal Visit 1982

Home movie19826 minsSilent Location: Talyllyn Railway

Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, take a one-station trip on one of the country’s little trains, Charles riding in the cab from Pendre to Rhydyronen.

The Fathew Flyer
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The Fathew Flyer

Amateur film19796 mins Location: Dolgoch

Alan Willmott cranks up the speed on this Talyllyn Railway Special so that those visitors who wish to “do” Wales in a day can pack more in!

Miniature Railway
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Miniature Railway

Non-Fiction19262 minsSilent

Giants attack steam train! Oh, hold on, it’s a miniature railway.

Camwell Personal Film No. 47: Wales and Scotland
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Camwell Personal Film No. 47: Wales and Scotland

Amateur film196012 minsSilent

A journey through the Valleys on the LNWR line from Nantybwch to Risca and the SLS/RCTS Scottish Rail Tour Week.

Camwell Personal Film No. 59: Diesel brake-van Tour
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Camwell Personal Film No. 59: Diesel brake-van Tour

Amateur film19622 minsSilent

From Ipswich depot to Hadleigh station in a brake van: there's standing room only on this Ramblers special.

Camwell Personal Film No. 54: Special Last Train Kidderminster to Woofferton Junction
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Camwell Personal Film No. 54: Special Last Train Kidderminster to Woofferton Junction

Amateur film196112 minsSilent

Whirlwind tour across England and into Wales through the lens of renowned railway enthusiast William Arthur 'Cam' Camwell

Camwell Personal Film No. 133: Paddington
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Camwell Personal Film No. 133: Paddington

Amateur film19643 minsSilent Location: Paddington Sta

Panniers and Prairies work valiantly to prepare coaching stock for the West of England expresses.

Camwell Personal Film No. 106: Crewe Sorting Sidings North
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Camwell Personal Film No. 106: Crewe Sorting Sidings North

Amateur film19653 minsSilent

The wires may be up but there are plenty of steam locomotives in the Crewe area - Patriots, Black 5s and Britannias galore!

Camwell Personal Film No. 15: Blc Visit to Cadbury
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Camwell Personal Film No. 15: Blc Visit to Cadbury

Amateur film195523 minsSilent

A reel of Midlands-based locomotive rail tours including a visit to the Cadbury’s shunter depot.

The One-forty-five
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The One-forty-five

Drama19626 mins

A man, troubled and trapped in a deserted station, misses the only train...

British Rail - Awayday to the Seaside
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British Rail - Awayday to the Seaside

Advert19761 mins

See through the eyes of a seagull who bemoans how easy it is for humans to have a day out at 'his' seaside.