Film ID: YFA 5625 Video of YFA_5625 Plant Display, Ponteland, June 1961 PLANT ON DISPLAY, PONTELAND, JUNE 1961 1961 Visitor TabsDescription This is one of a large collection of British Rail, and some pre- British Rail, films inherited by the track renewals company Fastline in 1996, and passed on to Fastline Photography when they folded in 2010. This film shows extensive demonstrations to a party of schoolchildren of very many kinds of modern track equipment, including a Morris Tracklayer and a Plassermatic Tamper, at Ponteland Goods depot, Northumberland. The film begins with a sign for a BR NER Exhibition, a working demonstration of tracklaying, earth removing and track maintenance machines, which is exhibited from the 30th May to the 8th June. Men and boys arrive, walking into Ponteland Goods depot, Northumberland and past a cinema coach. They group around to listen to a talk, and then we see the track relaying machines from above, near the station, and then individually up close. There is also a crane on the back of a lorry on jacks and various other items of gear. Inside one of the wagons a man operates a machine while watching a gauge. A single line track laying machine is demonstrated, and a diesel shunter is shown (no. 83). A lifting machine is shown with a plate that looks as if it might be for re-railing derailed wagons or coaches. Then we see a saw trolley and a tractor mounted compressor, another large machine and items of equipment as well as different sections of track. There is an electric Flash Butt Weld and a ballast compactor. A man drives a vehicle that runs on the inside of railway wagons. A trencher is demonstrated and various types of piping, metal and concrete, are shown along with a little portable shelter with a seat. Then there are demonstrations of many types of machines. These include various smaller items of equipment. Among the machines and items of equipment being shown operating or demonstrated are: a vibratory ballast, a weed spray trolley which is a coach fitted at the end and to the sides with hoses spraying out weed killer, a truck discharger, a lorry mounted excavator, hydraulic cranes, offloading concrete posts, a cable-duct piling machine hammering the posts into the ground with a large weight being pulled up and released by a crane, cable ducts, a power scythe and a hedge trimmer, a tractor excavator, a post hole driller, a lorry mounted hydraulic excavator, with excavator attachments, a dumper, with a swivelling driver’s seat, a boring rig, a drain borer, a tractor shovel (borer type) floodlights with generator, track lifting and levelling machine, a rail drill and rail saw, rail welding equipment, a saw bench; and finally a screwing machine. Title – Mechanisation. Title – The End Context Interest in the renewing of railway track might be confined to a select group, but the bewildering variety of equipment on show here cannot help but impress and fascinate. With just under two years to go to the Beeching Report of March 1963, which famously axed 5,000 miles of track, British Rail demonstrate how keen they were to renew and maintain what remained of the 19,000 route miles. This astonishing array of permanent way equipment gathered together and demonstrated here at Ponteland near Newcastle in 1961 is testimony to this. Some of the weird contraptions on show would surely have made great Dinky models. This is one of a large collection of British Rail, and some pre- British Rail, films inherited by the track renewals company Fastline in 1996, and passed on to Fastline Photography when they folded in 2010. Although undoubtedly the Beeching cuts marked a highly significant moment for British railways, already the 1950s had seen the disappearance of more than 3,000 miles of track. The Ponteland line into Newcastle itself closed in 1967. Yet British Rail were embarked on a programme of modernisation of the railway entailing the replacement or repair of 2,000 miles of track a year, using highly sophisticated equipment which could lay track at each site at the rate of one mile per day.