This film is part of Free


Geoffrey Jones's extraordinary accelerating montage celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, scored by Steeleye Span.

Documentary 1975 16 mins


In 1974 Geoffrey Jones was asked to submit proposals for a film to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and, having already been commissioned by Edgar Anstey to report in detail on the whole of BR’s film archive, he jumped at the chance. Anstey asked for three treatments of different durations. A 15 minute version was chosen, since the film was to be part of a travelling exhibition and a greater length would have meant unacceptable queues.

Again, a pilot film was made using library footage, much of it from one of BTF’s earlier productions Giants of Steam, cut to a music track that Geoffrey had arranged himself and electronically processed. A successful screening to a panel of BR officials clinched the support needed to get the film off the ground. Locomotion features over 400 separate images woven together with a strong continual accelerando arranged by Donal Fraser and performed by members of Steeleye Span. It combines traditional instrumental and compositional techniques with state-of-the-art, electronic synthesis. There then followed a period of hiatus until Geoffrey was appointed producer/director at the Thorn/EMI Video Productions Ltd. The company only lasted a few years, but during this time he made a pilot film, Season’s Project, with Donald Fraser and the English Chamber Orchestra still yet to be completed. In 2003 Geoffrey Jones received a grant from the Arts Council of Wales, enabling him to create A Chair-a-Plane Kwela and A Chair-a-Plane Flamenco from material he had shot nearly 50 years earlier. He refers to these two resulting films as ‘notes in the use of digital editing’. Geoffrey Jones has opened our eyes to the rhythm of film.