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Southern Railway

This stunning film by Eric J. Sparks, features a variety of steam and electric action for fans of the Southern Railway - from luxury Pullmans to humble shunters at Brighton works

Amateur film 1937 40 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This amazing production by Eric Sparks features a panoply of Southern Railway action filmed when electrification was beginning to make an impact on the region’s railways. There are steam locomotives aplenty at various locations - working between Brighton and Bognor Regis. Colour sequences show the famous de-luxe Brighton Belle trains arriving and departing followed by amazing shots of engines at Brighton Works. We also see signalmen coping with rail and road traffic.

This film compilation by Eric Sparks, which comes courtesy of Robert Bamberough, is a stunning record of a railway in transition - from steam to modern electric working. Sparks certainly enjoyed privileged access to many areas of the then Southern Railway, including Brighton Works, where he filmed locomotives and rolling stock, as well as a number of footplate rides on both steam and electric trains. He also captured amazing footage from traditional signalboxes, where cars can be seen dodging level-crossing gates, to modern boxes like that at the entrance to Brighton Station. Sparks even managed to film the replacement of an old bridge, using a pair of powerful steam cranes, across the River Arun.