This film is part of Free

Elizabethan Express

Relive the summertime express between Kings Cross and Waverley, which covered 393 miles in just 6 hours non-stop.

Travelogue 1954 20 mins


From Kings Cross Station, London, to Waverley Station, Edinburgh is 393 miles. The Elizabethan, a summertime express, covered the journey in 6 hours non-stop, at the time the longest non-stop journey in the world to be timed at over 60 mph. This film captures the speed and excitement of one of those runs, recalling the glamour of the great days of steam, as well as the hard work of the men who maintained the service. The exciting footplate photography is a fine tribute to the top link drivers of Gresley’s mighty A4 locomotives.

Despite its classic status within the railway fraternity, the film proved controversial for its use of a rhyming commentary by Paul Le Saux, which was perhaps trying to emulate WH Auden’s famous recitation on Night Mail (1936). However, its 914 cinema bookings in 1954 and its numerous re-releases are testimony to the film’s lasting popularity.