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The Fall and Rise of Britain's Railways [DVD]

 Exempt   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: £19.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Fall and Rise of Britain's Railways [DVD] + Glory Days of British Steam [DVD] + The Lost Railways [DVD]
Price For All Three: £30.61

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Simply Media
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Oct 2008
  • Run Time: 400 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CV18RU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,303 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Documentary telling the story of how the railways of Great Britain met and overcame the challenges of the post-industrial era. The film traces the history of Britain's railways from the legacy of WWII, through the years of neglect and under-investment and the trauma of Beeching's cuts to a period of hope and growth epitomised by the Intercity 125.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Railway Epic 6 April 2009
This is an absolute peach of a documentary on a scale of epic proportions. Over six hours on 3 disks of wondrous footage that covers the history of British railways from the earliest steam examples right up to the introduction of the 125's on the Western Region.

A comforting commentary by Jeremy English compliments a continuous sequence of extraordinary images. What struck me was the scope and liberty in the film as the narration swoops over each chronological event in the history of Britain's railways, then dives down into fascinating detail on such captivating subjects as the potted history of locomotive design, the working life of an engine driver or the political context of decisions being taken at the time.

But it's the long languorous images of locomotion that will last with me for ever, especially those in astonishing colour that not only capture the railways in their splendour & but also, harrowingly, in the darkest days of the sixties. This is an extraordinary documentary of breadth and intelligence that educates, enlightens and fascinates in equal measure and encapsulates a Britain & an industry that has long since passed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rise and fall 27 Feb 2011
this dvd is 6hrs 20mins of absolute interest to anyone interested in british railways past and present,the music in the back ground was amazing[Mahler]it was just in tune, really with what was happening to the old steam locos at their end,it really makes you feel so sad.the only gripe i had was and it might be just me,the commentry although pretty clear,seemed to be a little fast you had to listen carefully not to miss a single word,but a great watch and great value.five ***** rating
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased 2 May 2011
Very pleased with the set of dvds, a lot of information and a lot of film that I have never seen before. A few shots that I have on other dvds but that is to be expected when there are so many available. The set of three is very good value. Highly recommend them to any one interested in railways of Britain.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good History of the Railways 28 Feb 2011
Well produced and interesting history of the British railway network after WW1. Occasionally the commentary and overly intrusive music can be irritating but still well worth the money.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Verified Purchase
This eight-episode documentary on the history of Britain's rail system between the 1920s and 1980s was bought blind, but I am so glad I did. It is a truly fascinating series.

Each episode lasts about fifty minutes and takes us chronologically through the changes that took place. The titles of each episode give a flavour of the story: 1. `The Inheritance of War'; 2. `Nationalisation'; 3. `The Railway Crisis'; 4. `The Modernisation Schemes'; 5. `The New Railway'; 6. `Retrenchment'; 7. `Elimination of Steam'; and 8. `The Corporate Era'.

The narration by Jeremy English (from a script by James Foster) is well-presented but there is perhaps too much to take in at times. But the detail is welcome. It's not just locomotive numbers and classes. In addition, there is much about dieselisation, signalling, routes, shunting, accidents, freight, and working conditions. By no means is this a work of nostalgia, but rather a serious attempt to place the railways within the economic and social life of the country in the twentieth century.

The filming consists of non-stop archive film, including newsreels and official films of the time. All parts of Great Britain are covered, but what the series lacks is the presence of any maps that might have aided elucidation of the changes of routes, especially around the Beeching era. I felt there could also have been more time spent placing events in Britain within the wider European context. (For example, did France and Germany also have a Beeching moment?)

Without a hint of any dumbing-down, this is an intelligent series with much meat on the bone for rail enthusiasts. But is the title justified? Did Britain's railways really rise? Did they really decline?
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