Film ID:
NEFA 22105



Visitor Tabs


This amateur film by R. J. Purves records a journey on the Alnwick and Coldstream line of the North Eastern Railway and work taking place on the tracks, probably outside York station. The filmmaker’s father is pictured with railway workers and engineers so may have worked for British Rail.

Title: Odds and Ends

A signalman operates signals and points at a control board in a signal box. A group portrait follows of employees of the railways (?) probably taken outside a country station building.

A steam train heads along a track towards and past camera. Travelling shot from the train, which slows down as it heads into a small station. A signal stands beside the line.

A man in a flat cap, wearing round spectacles, waits at the open door of a buffet carriage of a stationary train (No. 2305), smoking a cigarette in a holder.

Title: On The Alnwick and Coldstream Line

Four well-dressed elderly men in smart suits, one in a knickerbocker suit, hop off a passenger steam locomotive. Group portrait of the men, smoking, chatting and joking together. Two pick flowers beside the line for their buttonholes, grinning at camera. They walk out through a picket fence gate in a jovial mood.

Traveling shot from the front of a train as it speeds through a short tunnel and out along a single line track in the Northumbrian countryside.

A brief sequence follows of a ceremony attended by a small crowd of men and women. A man digs up a small wedge of grass and soil beside a bush. The guests clap. Two men start to make a speech.

Overhead view of a network of crossed rail tracks leading into York railway station. An A4 Pacific steam train speeds out of the station.

A large gang of railway workers are labouring on the tracks near the Leeman Road and Waterworks box outside the station. Other men in bowler hats and overcoats (possibly railway engineers or supervisors) talk together on site, one with a camera slung over his shoulder. A steam crane on a track lifts steel girders on site. Closer shot of the crane mechanism working. The band of workers (many wearing flat caps) are heaving on a lever attached to machinery working on the railway track. General view of engineering work taking place on site. Close-up of one worker operating a saw on a rail track.

Low track side shot of a train passing. Work continues on the laying of new track at the site. A gang of old and young men work together to maneuver a steel track into place. One of the men continues to saw rail tracks as two of his colleagues watch, then notice the camera.

General view of a steam train passing through the work site, York Minster visible in the background.

Engineers work on two signals next to a rail track out in the countryside. A close-up follows of the two engineers at the top of the signal. A man turns a handle of a machine (in a signal box?). Rail track points switch. Another shot follows of the man winding the handle of a machine. Semaphore signal arms move up on a track side signal.

Portrait shot of two men (railway engineers?) in bowler hats and suits chatting. Portrait shot of a younger man in a broad check jacket who smiles and speaks to the filmmaker.  

The scene now shifts with a traveling shot beside docks, a large ship at a quayside lined with cranes. A Shell-Mex barge sits beside the ship. A shot follows from the high line of a railway track in a city looking towards a modern 30s style corporate building. [Locations are not identified but probably somewehere on the London to Edinburgh line.]

A brief sequence follows of mechanized looms in operation.