This film is part of Free

Let's Go to Birmingham

Paddington to Birmingham in five and a half minutes! A sped up journey filmed from the front of the train.

Documentary 1962 5 mins


In 1952 the BBC produced a short novelty film under the title London to Brighton in Four Minutes. Filmed from the front of a train at two frames per second and then run at the standard 24, it gave the illusion of a spectacularly high-speed journey. This technique proved so popular with audiences that it was copied many times by other film units. Let’s Go to Birmingham was British Transport Films’ first attempt.

To the accompaniment of Johann Strauss’s Perpetuum Mobile, the film speeds the viewer from Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill in five and a half minutes – at about 960mph! Inside the train, passengers eat and drink, sleep or read, oblivious to the giddy speed at which they seem to travel. Shot from the cab of one of British Railway’s new 90mph Diesel Luxury Express Blue Pullmans, this film is a wonderful time capsule from the steam-to-diesel crossover period, as seen from the driver’s view.