Sunday, 22 August 2010

Scottish Highlands (1953)

Noted on the film list that Scottish Highlands enjoyed a (very brief) public video release - it was included in Along Nostalgic Lines Vol. 3 (produced by John Cocking Video / Salford Films).

Along Nostagic Lines are the rarest of all public video releases of BTF films. Five volumes were produced some time in the early 1990s but they were quickly withdrawn from sale with copyright / royalty issues with the British Railways Board suggested as the likely reason. The quality of the videos was poor due to the well worn and often faded film prints used and cheaply photocopied insert sleeves.

Hostellers (1965)

Revised the details for the BBC4 documentary on the Youth Hostelling Association:

BBC4's 'Nation on Film' also showed another hour long documentary called 'Youth Hostelling: The First 100 Years' telling the story of youth hostelling, which was founded in 1909 in Germany and was established in Britain in 1930, through fascinating archive films discovered in a storeroom at the Youth Hostel Association's headquarters in Derbyshire. The BTF production of 1965 - Hostellers - is featured and shows Ken Moody - the original 'star' of the film re-uniting with former BTF assistant editor and director of the film - Gloria Sachs - at the site on the canal at Selby in Yorkshire where the Sabrina was moored - the first floating Youth Hostel Hostel in Britain.

Online Ordering

Added direct links to purchase DVDs from Amazon. Hopefully this will add a few pennies to offset the cost of running the website and avoid emails from visitors asking where they can buy the discs from!

British Steam Railways

A complete listing of the VHS / DVDs produced for the extensive de Agostini produced series - British Steam Railways - has finally been achieved.

It would be great if anyone that has the DVDs could confirm what the original films' producers were other than BTF.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

TV Transmissions

Two more TV transmission dates added for Farmer Moving South on the BBC - 29th November 1952 and 23rd January 1953.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Way Ahead (1962-66)

The first films were known as Wyvern News (Issues Nos. 1 to 6) and were dedicated to reporting affairs on the London Midland Region of British Railways. National News (Issues Nos. 7 to 10) covered the whole railway network. The series was filmed in mono but became an increasingly high burden on the film unit's resources.
These are the contents discovered thus far (courtesy of BFI Film database and Film User magazine):-

Wyvern News Issue No.1
1: Success Story - Bedford-St. Pancras line is big business.
2: Ernie Barber - interview in cab with Senior Instructor
3: Wrestling - interview with Alex Wishart.
4: Blood Test for Locos - testing oils
5: Just the Ticket - bus stop trains.

Wyvern News Issue No.2
1: Derby Builds for Underground - Derby carriage and wagon works.
2: Saxby Story (Freight Debate) - interview by Huw Thomas with Mr Saxby.
3: Something in the Air - testing for dangerous fumes.
4: Profile of a Railwayman - Bob MacMurdie.

Wyvern News Issue No.3
1: Freight Story - Companies with big accounts with B.R. e.g. Fisons, I.C.I.
2: Fighting 'Flu - giving vaccine to workers.
3: Anti Freeze - gas joint heaters.
4: Breakthrough - motor trials.
5: LDC Meeting.
6: Party Time.
7: Profile of Railwayman.

Wyvern News Issue No.4
1: The New Locomotives - review of new diesel engines.
2: Clerk of the Weather - Bill Sharpe, station master.
3: Feeling the Draught - tests to stop draughts in new goods sheds.
4: Auto-matic Barriers - at Marston, Bedford.
5: Coal Control - Notts.

Wyvern News Issue No.5
1: Design - BR design panels at Design Centre
2: BR v TV - match at Cricklewood football ground between railway team and tv all stars.
3: Electronic Memory - people learning to type.
4: Electrifying Progress.
5: BR Boxing Finals - at Seymour Hall.

Wyvern News Issue No.6
1: Rail Railers - 50 vehicles seen from air.
2: New Stations for Old - Euston station.
3: the Ladies - stories of 8 female BR employees.
4: Wear and Tear - testing PVC-covered nylon.
5: BR Ambulance Trials - Dublin No.3 v St. Pancras Goods.

National News Issue Nos.1-3 (Way Ahead Nos.7-9)
Topics unknown.

National News Issue No.4 (Way Ahead No.10)
Featured items on freight, workshops, computers and Miss Rail News 1965/66.
It was one of 150 films entered for the 1966 National Industrial Awards Competition (viewed 23rd & 24th May). It was entered into Category F (Films on management and manpower training, intended for industrial rather than general audience.)

1991 Produced VHS Compilation Newly Discovered

"Art, Architecture and Artifacts (BTF Classics Specials)" - Produced in 1991 and features "An Artist Looks at Churches", "Journey Into History" and "John Betjeman Goes by Train".

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Snow (1963)

(Screenonline): Snow was Geoffrey Jones' first film for British Transport Films (BTF) but it owes its existence to a happy twist of fate. In September 1962 Jones began his research for a film about design for the British Railways Board. Armed with a 16mm camera, he travelled throughout the country, shooting film 'notes' of anything he found particularly interesting.
Viewing the footage, Jones was struck by several images of black steam trains churning down the tracks against a glaring white backdrop, and hit upon the idea of making a new, separate film contrasting the comfort of the passengers with the often Herculean efforts of the workmen to keep the trains going in hazardous conditions. On January 31st, 1963 Jones met with BTF head Edgar Anstey. Realising that the film would have to be made quickly or delayed until the following winter, Anstey agreed straightaway and shooting commenced the very next day. Jones and his barebones crew proceeded to chase winter conditions across the country.
Unable to afford his first choice of music, 'Teen Beat' by American Jazz musician Sandy Nelson, Jones had British musician Johnny Hawksworth re-record the tune, expanding it to twice its original length by reducing it to half its original speed at the start and steadily accelerating the tempo over a period of eight minutes to a speed approximately twice as fast as the original. Daphne Oram of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop added various filters.
Viewing Snow can be a hypnotic experience. Jones begins the film with a slow military throb, with the railway station and tracks all but buried beneath a mountain of snow and ice. The pace increases with the workmen's clearing of the tracks, and while the trains barrel through the snow-covered countryside, the music accelerates. The percussive editing between trains and environment reaches a joyous crescendo with a rapid succession of pounding snow, churning pistons, fields of livestock and the ever-present tracks, ending in a wild flourish of percussion.
Snow received at least 14 major awards upon its release, as well an Oscar nomination in 1965. It has been screened around the world and remains a favourite of fans of Geoffrey Jones' work and British Transport Films. Most importantly, this film marked the first full realisation of Jones' signature style, which he would expand upon and refine in subsequent films like Rail (1966), Trinidad and Tobago (1964) and Locomotion (1975).

This film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

Rush Hour (1970)

This film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

Railways For Ever (1970)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - July 1971
An effectively sentimental look at the passing of the steam train, with John Betjeman serving as guide to the glories of railways past and some dazzling prospects for the future. Betjeman's enthusiasm, and an Edwardian music-hall song for accompaniment, give the piece a bright, middle-class holiday air - all rosy cheeks and optimism in the face of progress.

Southampton Into The Seventies (1970)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - May 1971
Made primarily to draw attention to the rapid expansion of the port of Southampton, this sponsored documentary intercuts scenes of ship repair and loading with a Port Consultative meeting and handling instruction at the Training School. The points are put across quite competently but with insufficient flair for the subject to be of much interest to the layman. And although Southampton may have progressed into the Seventies, the film's ending (ships sailing into the sunset) seems disconcertingly behind the times. (David McGillivray)

Fully Fitted Freight (1957)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - March 1960
(Joint review of 
Fully Fitted FreightGroundwork for Progress and A Future on Rail)
These three new British Transport documentaries indicate the current determination of many writers and directors, working on subjects somewhat lacking in immediate appeal, to humanise such topics by concentrating on the people behind the work rather than the job itself. But while all three suggest the problem posed by such an approach, none of them get very far towards a solution.
In Fully Fitted Freight, an account of the part played by freight trains in maintaining supplies all over the country, the effort at individualising the people shown descends to a false "mateyness" which is by now the sign of a Paul Le Saux commentary. Heavily overdone regional accents, an insistence on nicknames, and a taste for embarrassing puns add up to an alarming condescension, and the variety of styles employed seems the result of something like desperation.

A Future on Rail (1957)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - March 1960
(Joint review of 
Fully Fitted FreightGroundwork for Progress and A Future on Rail)
These three new British Transport documentaries indicate the current determination of many writers and directors, working on subjects somewhat lacking in immediate appeal, to humanise such topics by concentrating on the people behind the work rather than the job itself. But while all three suggest the problem posed by such an approach, none of them get very far towards a solution.
A Future on Rail, the shortest and best of the three productions, is a recruiting film which offers widespread modernisation as a bait for railway employees. "The day isn't far off", it concludes, "when there'll be quite a few wishing they'd joined in while they had the chance". Apart from being the most unfortunately mistimed film to appear for years, this production is considerably more disciplined than the other two, and Paul Le Saux's breeziness is for once reasonably restrained. But the lack of real creative imagination becomes apparent when the film shows an engine driver being won over, despite himself, to the benefits of working on diesels during his first run. A potentially rewarding sequence is treated so flatly that the opportunity for real humanism is quite lost.
(Robin Carmody notes: "mistimed" reference refers to the announcement in early 1960 that the modernisation plan was going to go much further than previously planned, and that certain lines would not survive: certainly Macmillan made a speech to the Commons around that time where he pretty much made it clear that something like Beeching would probably have to happen. I can understand the point about Le Saux's style - it has dated badly, though I think the tendencies that alienate and grate with most people today would only really have had those effects on leftist intellectuals, i.e. most MFB contributors, 50 years ago.)

Groundwork For Progress (1959)

Director: Bill Mason
Photography: Ron Bicker
Editor: Cynthia Barkley
Music: David Wooldridge
Commentary: Bill Mason
Narration: Anthony Marsh, Arthur Bush
Producer: Stewart McAllister

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - March 1960
(Joint review of 
Fully Fitted FreightGroundwork for Progress and A Future on Rail)
These three new British Transport documentaries indicate the current determination of many writers and directors, working on subjects somewhat lacking in immediate appeal, to humanise such topics by concentrating on the people behind the work rather than the job itself. But while all three suggest the problem posed by such an approach, none of them get very far towards a solution.
Groundwork for Progress is a straightforward survey of the preparatory work involved in laying new lines, with some impressive sequences showing the deliberate buckling in a laboratory of what looks like a hundred yards of railway line, and the scientific testing of strain and movement on different sections of a bridge. Each man shown is named, and the commentary is frequently left to the worker concerned with each operation. But the effect is merely to increase the film's choppiness.

A Day With SELNEC (1972)

Richard Worswick attended a screening of this film at the Greater Manchester film night on Thursday 25th February 2010. The event itself was organised by the GMPTE and the North West Film Archive to mark the 40th year of the PTE, and the opening of the newly expanded People's History Museum, and was quite a corporate affair with a few speeches and food and drink. Many top officials from the GMPTE and local councillors were present, along with some Northern Rail directors - and a few seats for members of the public.
The film print was in nice clean condition with no apparent colour fading. It was a real memory jerker for those who knew the transport scene around Manchester 40 years ago. There were some interesting shots in the computer room where, amongst other things, the scheduling was done. The computer was the size of a room, and all the staff walked around in white coats.
The copyright holder is GMPTE, and a print of the film is held at the North West Film Archive in Manchester - their synopsis is as follows:

"A film about the work of SELNEC (South East Lancashire and North East Cheshire Passenger Transport Authority), and its provision of bus and rail services in the area. Shots include buses in suburban streets, views of Salford, Brooklands train station, and people boarding trains and buses. Training scenes include bus drivers in a classroom, a bus undergoing tests on a skid pan, and a driver training session on the road. There are numerous scenes in and around Piccadilly bus station, and Piccadilly Gardens, plus shots of the airport and scenes shot at night. There are also views of Piccadilly train station and footage taken of, and from, trains in that area."

East Anglian Holiday (1954)

An extract from this film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

Holiday (1957)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - March 1958
The success of this film must, one supposes, be credited largely to Ralph Sheldon, whose imaginative and creative editing are responsible for most of its very considerable zest and wit. 'Holiday' is a candid camera view of some aspects of holiday life in Blackpool, and sets out for a more intimate and humble view than that of, say, a Butlin commercial. There is little written dialogue, the sound track being mostly provided by the Chris Barber band. Music and action are integrated with an affectionate sense of the comic and ludicrous, so that the Bathing Beauties parade to a jazz march, a sunburnt woman soothes her frizzled shoulders to the strains of the blues and divers hit the water of the swimming pool coincidentally with the breaks in 'High Society'. Such a light, unpretentious, warm view of frolicking humanity does considerable credit to British Transport Films, who are often associated with a less informal kind of glossy travelogue.

An extract from this film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

Any Man's Kingdom (1956)

An extract from this film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

England of Elizabeth (1957)

The late David Watkin - Oscar-winning Cinematographer - reminisced about his time filming The England of Elizabeth.
“Edgar promised Ritchie, who was getting restless, a break to direct and so I took over The England of Elizabeth with John Taylor again. It is nice to have one’s name on the same picture as Vaughan Williams although on the only occasion when I should have met the great man I was sent off to get a shot of a train at Woking. Par for the course (I don’t play golf but learned this expression from my electricians who all do), but VW was one of my heroes. It is part of the price one pays for going up in the world; if I’d still been chauffeuring people to music recordings I’d have seen him. It appears to have been quite a session as at one point the old man, who was no lightweight, tipped too far back in his chair and was only saved from disaster by Edgar making a dive and grabbing him.
Somebody that I did meet on the film was the founding father of documentary himself. John Grierson was married to John Taylor’s sister and we drove down to their farm, Tog Hill in Wiltshire, to shoot a fiery beacon for the Spanish Armada. I remember sitting in a very spacious room, a converted barn I think, with a staircase at one end at the top of which was a door. Grierson came in through this door talking, descended the stairs talking, shook hands, sat down opposite and continued talking for about an hour and a half then retired up the stairs talking and disappeared through the door.
My first ever lit interior turned out quietly enough to be the nave of King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. There was a fair sprinkling of deans, proctors etc but their attention was soon diverted away from me by the sight of Arthur Green and Fat Mac (Donald) of Mole Richardson proceeding down the aisle arm in arm as bride and groom, Arthur making a very camp bride as I remember.
Another aspect of John was that of the naturalist and I remember one halcyon day during The England of Elizabeth, on a remote sea shore on the west coast, John, in no hurry about shooting, wandering at low tide and looking into rock pools, described a traditional way to catch lobsters by poking a stick into their lairs; because lobsters combine stupidity with stubbornness, they never let go once they have laid hold, and are pulled out of the water supplying their own hook as it were. It is called diddling, with the first “i” pronounced long.”

A Dream of Norway (1960)

Director/Cameraman: Ronald Craigen
Editor: Ian Woolf
Musical Director: John Hollingsworth (conducting Edvard Grieg's Variations on an old Norwegian Romance
Commentary: Paul Le Saux
Distributor: New Realm

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - October 1961
As the 'Leda' carries Norwegian holiday-makers from Newcastle to Bergen, the camera reaches forward to the scenery of Western Norway - fjord and mountain road, glacier and waterfall - and back to the ship as it finishes its journey.
A brief but enterprising travelogue, 'Dream of Norway' is evocative rather than informative, assembling some fine shots of Norwegian scenery against a background of Grieg Variations. The commentary, however, is rather self-consciously poetic, with its "mirth-making maidens" and "forests dabbling their roots"; the often precise and imaginative description is marred by such whimsies.

Off The Beaten Track (1960)

Director: Syd Sharples
Cameramen: Ron Bicker, Jack West, Phil Law
Editor: Gloria Sachs

Music: Elisabeth Lutyens
Commentary: Paul Le Saux
Executive Producer: Edgar Anstey
Associate Producers: John Legard, Ian Ferguson

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - July 1961
Though touching upon the part played by railways in catering for trippers, and allowing for some well chosen and photographed shots of beauty spots, this short is mainly concerned with the facilities provided by Youth Hostels all over the country. The subject is agreeably if unremarkably handled in all its aspects.

What A Day (1960)

Director: James Ritchie
Editor: Hugh Raggett
Music: Edwin Astley
Commentary: J. B. Boothroyd

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - January 1961
This is an advertisement for the facilities offered by British Railways for various forms of party travel. It covers a women's outing to the Scottish lochs, a cyclists' trip to Norwich for flat cycling country, a schoolchildren's conducted tour of Southampton Docks and a trip to Boulogne. There is also mention of special excursions for photographic competitors and railway enthusiasts. The latter are catered for by brief shots of historic old engines of the former Caledonian Railway and Highland Railway in their original liveries. It is an unambitious production, quite pleasantly done but let down by weak humour and an unsatisfactory commentary.

Every Valley (1957)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - January 1958
This is an attempt to show the effect of modern means of transport on a small Welsh valley community, once entirely occupied by mining, now given the opportunity of varied occupations and studies in the nearby town. The message is never pressed hard, rather implied by the intelligent and sympathetic assembly of pictures of people about their daily business and recreation, by the modest, well-written, well-read commentary and by the alternately witty and touching juxtaposition of choruses from Handel's 'Messiah', performed by the local choral society. (The sequence in which people busy themselves with their evening pastimes - sewing circles, night schools and billiards - while the choir sings "We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray" is especially charming). The opening, with shots of the old mining village and its rows of houses, and of disused machinery lying in the valley is remarkably evocative.
This is apparently one of British Transport Films' more modest productions. Nevertheless it represents a very interesting departure from their more familiar type of production.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Manhandling (1962)

The complete film may be viewed online at YouTube courtesy of the BFI:-

The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953)

The complete film may be viewed online at the London Tranport Musem Website:-
The Elephant WIll Never Forget

London on the Move (1970)

The complete film may be viewed online at the London Tranport Musem Website:-
London on the Move

AFC (Automatic Fare Collection) and You (1969)

The complete film may be viewed online at the London Tranport Musem Website:-
AFC (Automatic Fare Collection) and You

Our Canteens (1951)

The complete film may be viewed online at the London Tranport Musem Website:-
Our Canteens

All That Mighty Heart (1963)

The complete film may be viewed online at the London Tranport Musem Website:-
All That Mighty Heart

Care of St. Christopher's (1959)

The late David Watkin - Oscar-winning Cinematographer - reminisced about his time filming Care of St. Christophers.

"Happily I was now able in small measure to repay some of my debt to Jimmy Ritchie. The next film for me after THE ENGLAND OF ELIZABETH was his first picture as a director, and it turned out to be a very charming one. It was about a railway orphanage in Derby run by a lady who reminded you of Margaret Rutherford. She truly understood us all, children and grown-ups alike, and loved the children as they did her. I had never found myself in such a happy place and when I said so to Jim it must have stayed in his mind because THE HAPPY PLACE became the working title (though it finished up as CARE OF St CHRISTOPHER’S). She encouraged the children to keep their own pets,”It’s very good for them to manage things entirely on their own and I try never to interfere. There was a boy who kept pigeons, a bright nice boy. After a time he started to sell them to people outside – nothing wrong in that at all but then they started to come back – pigeons do you see, and then he would sell them again. I thought well if people are foolish enough …. but in the end I had to put a stop to it.”
Every evening we took the children up to bed. They would take a flying leap into your arms to be carried to the dormitory. The confidence and love they poured out was such a gift to the spirit, but it was also heartbreaking – especially as I knew it was the only time it would ever happen to me. Frank Brice used to call her Mrs Fizackerly. I don’t know her real name but she was a great woman. She had an inimitable voice, but of course that couldn’t be allowed, and it is the usual numbing voice-over that is on the film. The film ends with a superbly lit corridor shot.
David responded enthusiastically to the anarchic and unpredictable nature of children, encouraging their freedom of spirit, and something of this can be sensed in CARE OF ST.CHRISTOPHERS, beginning with waking in the dormitory and going off to school, through to night time ablutions. No solemn moments are allowed as parents cuddle and lark in the grounds of the House. The film stresses the nature of the family at St.Christopher’s, how each child has his/her own talents and problems. It is a compelling moment when the younger of two brothers spots the camera on him. What a Grandparent David would have made, and how poignant his reflections on how this would never be.

Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (1955)

The late David Watkin - Oscar-winning Cinematographer - reminisced about his time filming Snowdrift at Bleath Gill.

"David Watkin was an unacknowledged assistant on this film. The film is 10minutes, largely devoted to the single task of freeing a goods engine and carriages from snowdrifts using a mechanised snow plough and gangs of diggers, mainly by the light of the Moon and huge Tilly lamps.
“Ken Fairbairn was a nice man. Known as “Twitcher” because of a tendency to be hyper-anxious whenever you were sorting out the necessary things for the shot to be useable. He was also small in stature, resulting in most of his set-ups being done on the baby-legs, which was a bit trying. He wrote his own scripts for the most part; one that I did for him about the lost luggage office was called A DESPERATE CASE. Another about incoherent station announcements had a similarly apt title to begin with: GET LOST! But Edgar made him change it. A phone call about about 9.30 one freezing evening asked would I collect some camera gear with Bob Payntor and travel up to Barnard Castle in Yorkshire. There we bundled ourselves inside a snow-plough and set off to rescue a train stuck in a snowdrift at a place near Stainmore Summit called Bleath Gill. The snow-plough was a massive steel prow-like structure stuck on the front of an ordinary guard’s van propelled by a couple of engines. It was cosy enough inside with a nice stove and a mad-looking guard – cosy that is until it began to fill with smoke and the mad-looking guard threw in a couple of detonators “to clear the flue”. Reaching a quick decision between being frozen or blown up I hung as far out of the window as possible, and after a massive explosion the stove, thus brought into line, glowed splendidly for the rest of the journey.
The first revelation about snow-ploughs is that it is unsubtle to charge bull-headed at a drift since the plough would then get itself equally stuck after about ten yards. Instead a gang of men with shovels dig three foot wide trenches at similar intervals across the track so that when the plough finally gets a run at it there is quite a good shot of snow flying in all directions. The lighting for the gangers, and now us, was a collection of the largest Tilly lamps ever seen (with reflectors the size of a 2K) and it fell to me to set these at intervals beside the line and then traipse back and forth keeping them pumped up (just like Frank Brice on NIGHT MAIL except instead of running about a field I was wading though snow up to my ears). It took the rest of the night and the whole of the following day to finally dig the thing out – an uncongenial task, and not only to us. At a subsequent showing of the film in the area, one of the railway officials involved commented that “If it hadn’t been for the fucking film people we’d have just left her to thaw out.”

An Artist Looks At Churches (1959)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - April 1961 (maybe its release was delayed for two years? - RC)
A documentary which looks briefly at church architecture in England from the Middle Ages to the present day. A commentary, written and spoken by John Piper, points out the changes and developments which took place between each period, and gives something of the background which led to them.
This is a good subject, but unfortunately marred by having too little time to say anything significant. The rapid progression from one style of architecture to another in the film gives a good idea of development as a whole - from eighteenth century classical grace, for example, to the nineteenth century preoccupation with the Gothic as a sop to its own materialism. But there is only room for one church to represent each period, and often only for one or two features to represent each church. Consequently one comes away with an impression of certain trends (if, that is to say, so few examples can be truly representative) but also with a feeling of superficiality. John Piper's rather poetic, well-delivered commentary helps to mitigate this failing, as does some very sensitive photography of these works of art in their English settings.

Seaspeed Hovercraft (1980)

It was suggested on the website that Seaspeed Hovercraft was just a renaming of The Seaspeed Express, but Robin Carmody pointed out that it was a completely different film - reduced in length though clearly derived from the earlier title. It therefore warranted its own unique entry on the film list.

Seaspeed Hovercraft (1980)
8 minutes - Colour

Director: David Lochner
Photography: Trevor Roe, Ronald Craigen
Editor: John Legard
Producer: James Ritchie

An impressionistic look at the hovercraft journey across the channel with no commentary, using the same footage shot for 'The Seaspeed Express'.

Blue Pullman (1960)

Review in Monthly Film Bulletin - August 1960
It is difficult for a railway enthusiast to view the subject matter of this fascinating account of the new Manchester- St Pancras diesel Pullman train dispassionately. It opens with some intriguingly presented sequences of the train's trials, with boffins aboard and all manner of testing going on. Then, after scenes of the amenities and services provided by this business man's first class express, comes the lengthy, beautifully photographed and exciting final sequence of the train in action with many excellent shots from the air and from the driver's cab. It is a pity that the producers, for some inexplicable reason, appear reluctant to show the train starting and stopping properly: the arival at St Pancras in particular is sadly botched and comes as a let down after the vivid presentation of the Blue Pullman in motion. A very nicely made score by Clifton Parker, stylish editing and a commendable inclination to let the visuals speak for themselves: how pleasant indeed not to have an incessantly chattering commentator and, indeed, to have descriptive comments kept to a mininum.

2010 Diary Dates

The Autumn season of film shows by Rob Foxon will soon be upon us and the Diary page now has the dates for Rob's excellent film shows from 1st September until the end of the year.

Hello World!

To help regular visitors keep up with changes and additions to the British Transport Film website, this blog has been launched. Don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for instant notification of updates.

We hope you enjoy this new resource for devotees of British Transport Films.