This film is part of Free

Walton St. Xing - New

A time when milk floats were commonly seen on our roads, along with Ariel motorcycles, helmets with leather ear coverings and the local corner shop was advertised on a hoarding.

Industry sponsored film 1963 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


At first glance this appears as a rather mundane film of a level crossing having its old style gates being replaced by more modern ones. But in reality it is a wonderful look at the kinds of traffic that occupied our roads in the early 1960s. As autumn gives way to winter, motorcycles and motorcycle riding gear typical of the time, and with advertising hoardings in the background, the film marvellously evokes the atmosphere of the time.

The 1960s were a high point in the modernisation of the railways, when even the Tories, with 13 continuous years in power, kept it in public ownership. As part of this swinging gates on level crossings were replaced with electronically operated boom gates, and soon after by automated half barriers. Here the wheel operated gates are replaced by hydraulic gates, which were quite rare, and, apparently, this was also the first UK installation of road traffic lights at a railway level crossing. Level crossings were often situated next to a signal box, and most of these have gone, including the one at Walton Street. But as level crossings account for 25% of all railroad fatalities, they too are being phased out.