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British Railways Operations
on 15 February 2011
The third release by BFI in the British Transport Films (BTF) collection concentrates on the mechanics of operating stations, rail maintenance, running goods trains, train driving and passengers. The films include:
Operation London Bridge about the rationalisation and reorganisation of the tracks around London Bridge station around 1972.
Wires Over the Border is the subject of the extension of the West Coast mainline electrification to Glasgow in the ealy 1970s. (Colour)
Groundwork for Progress on British Railways civil engineering department in the late 1950s (Black & White)
Making Tracks covers a Sunday track replacement operation in mid 1950s (Black & White)
E for Experimental is about the Advanced Passenger Train (APT-E)that pioneered tilting train technolgy to allow 155 mph running. The APT was eventually cancelled without ever been put into service. (Colour)
Modelling for the Future shows a scale model of the channnel tunnel terminus as envisaged in 1961 nearly 30 years before it actually opened. (Colour)
Britannia - A Bridge describes the reconstruction of the Stephenson rail bridge across the Menai Strait to Anglesey after the 1970 fire. (Colour)
Terminus - Shows one day at Waterloo Station with passengers and behind the scenes. Directed by John Schlesinger. (1961 Black & White)
Fully Fitted Freight - Follows the creation, route and end point of a long distance goods train. All wagons are fitted with vacuum brakes to enable high speed running. (Black & White)
Farmer Moving South - A whole farm including cattle, pigs and poultry, transfers by rail from Yorkshire to Sussex (1952 Black & White)
I am a Litter Basket - Short amusing film designed to encourage the use of station litter baskets in an age before they were (nearly) all removed. (1959 Black & White)
The Third Sam - Sam, a newly trained electric loco driver has a inexplicable emergency train stop. The first side of his personality doesn't care and does nothing. The second Sam panics hilariously. The third Sam calmly investigates and cures the problem. Stanley Holloway narrates. (1962 Black & White)
People Like Us - Customer service at a big station. Uses footage from Terminus.
A Future on the Rail - Recruitment film. Short but interesting. (late 1950s Black & White)
Generally a fascinating variety of tasks are shown with a good balance between early (1950s) and late (1970s) items. The best items are Operation London Bridge, Groundwork for Progress, E for Experimental, Terminus, Fully Fitted Freight, Farmer Moving South and I am a Litter basket but the others have their interest for railway history enthusiasts.