The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) is the regional film archive for the South West of England. Established in 1993, SWFTA's core collection comprises of the combined programme libraries of Westward Television and TSW (Television South West). The archive also cares for a significant number of donated film collections, both amateur and professional, dating back to the early 1900s.
This film is part of Free
The Country Railway
David St John Thomas talks about his book The Country Railway
News 1976 5 mins
From the collection of:
Westward TV reporter John Doyle visits Buckfastleigh to interview David St John Thomas about his book the Country Railway. David talks about the introduction of the first machines to travel faster than any animal and depicts the race to open new lines that then become part of the landscape they serve. The Country Railway is a history of the people who conceive, build and run the railways but also a portrayal of the railways' role of bringing in and taking away people and goods.
David was raised in Devon during WWII and his first job was as a reporter for the Western Morning News in Plymouth specialising in transport and holiday stories. He worked with the Dartington Hall Trust producing reports on rural transport. He wrote his first book in 1959 and set up the publishing house David and Charles. The Country Railway, first published in 1976 and redesigned since, is thought to be one of the most widely read books about railways with thousands of copies sold.
Railways on Film
Documentary 1970 7 mins
Sir John Betjeman reminisces about the phasing out of the mainline steam operation.
Comedy 1899 2 mins Silent
A snatched kiss in a railway tunnel, played by real-life married couple GA Smith and Laura Bayley
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1967 4 mins
Yo-yo, Pogo and Splat (guess which one's the lemon head?) feature in this innovative stop-motion railway safety film
Documentary 1963 51 mins Location: Settle
Not just a chance to see locomotives steaming over viaducts, with the axe hanging over both, here we have the full glory of the Settle to Carlisle line, and its place in rural life.
Amateur film 1963 26 mins Silent Location: Aberdeen
Train enthusiast David Gordon, Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, films a stunning array of steam engines as they whistle through the colourful Scottish countryside in the 1960s.
Documentary 1961 35 mins Location: Waterloo Sta
The daily rhythms and dramas of Waterloo station are captured in John Schlesinger’s influential early film.
Recollections of Our Summer Holiday at Babbacombe South Devon August 1931 Recollections of Our Summer Holiday at Babbacombe South Devon August 1931
Amateur film 1931 10 mins Silent Location: Babbacombe
Bowling along country lanes in the family's Austin motor car plus dancing on the beach: the delights of a holiday in Devon
The Inauguration of the Dart Valley Railway by Lord Beeching The Inauguration of the Dart Valley Railway by Lord Beeching
News 1969 1 mins Silent Location: Buckfastleigh
Lord Beeching inaugurates a privately run Dart Valley Railway
News 1977 3 mins Location: Buckfastleigh
Pam is the new police constable in the village of Buckfastleigh
Amateur film 1975 33 mins Silent Location: Rainhill
Come and see Rocket 150, and visit a selection of railway locations, past and preserved.
News 1977 1 mins Silent Location: Buckfastleigh
The Dart Valley Railway operates a quaint steam service on the Primrose Line
Inside Film 2021 47 mins
Writer and activist So Mayer joins filmmaker and critic Alexandra Hidalgo to discuss the work of acclaimed French director and artist Agnès Varda.
Detective drama 1944 19 mins
You too can solve the case of the stolen boy, courtesy of this film from 1944.
Public Information Filler 1946 3 mins Location: Woodford
Sorry kids – your parents might never let you out of the house again after watching this bleak 1940s road safety film
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.