This film is part of Free

Renewal of Crossings at East End of Newcastle Station

A rather aesthetically pleasing railway jigsaw puzzle gets solved by gangs of workmen in raincoats as they assemble, for the time, the largest railway crossing in the world.

Industry sponsored film 1949 11 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Its 1949, and the recently formed British Rail has set itself the target of renewing 1,484 miles of track. Here we see probably the most complex project, the replacing of a large set of diamond crossings to the east of Newcastle Station in October. But before this the diamond crossings have been put together at the yard at Hadfield’s of Sheffield.

This is one of a large collection of British Rail, and some pre- British Rail, films inherited by the track renewals company Fastline in 1996, and passed on to Fastline Photography when they folded in 2010. This section of railway crossing was already considered to be one of the wonders of the railway world when it was relaid in 1912 – for the first time using manganese castings made by Hadfield’s of Sheffield. Unlike conventional rails with built up crossings, these were grooved like tramlines, with diamonds. Work was done again on this in 1938, while the 1949 renewal lasted until the late 1970s. In 1949 BR began introducing flat-bottomed Vignoles rails, estimated to last 25 years.