The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Looking down the line on Durham station as the diesel age gathers pace on British railways.
From the collection of:
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.