This film is part of Free

All Change

Looking down the line on Durham station as the diesel age gathers pace on British railways.

Amateur film 1965 9 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Durham station plays the waiting game as Beeching’s report shakes up British railways in the 1960s. A rail enthusiast from Bede College turns his wistful eye on the old station, finding beauty and a poetry of obsolescence in signal gantries, glazed verandas, a water crane, coal mounds and cast iron stoves, worn steps with shiny nails, and a full bogie brake for an East Coast pigeon special. Out of time, the scrawled writing is on the wall: “Down with Diesel”.

Without bells, whistles or music, this amateur film follows in the wake of Beeching’s 1963 report. Once a symbol of British modernity, the railways were now stuck in a Victorian time warp. The recommended plans for modernisation in 1955 after years of neglect were not entirely welcome. Prime Minister Winston Churchill felt a big spend would be “bolstering up an obsolete form of transport”. In May 1964, Durham lost its branch services and became a main line through station only. Lovingly recorded in All Change, Thomas Posser’s old station building became the parcels depot. His up platform Victorian iron and glass veranda was replaced in 1972. Regular main line steam operations officially ended in 1968.