Film ID: YFA 5620 Video of YFA_5620 Renewal of Crossings at East End of Newcastle Station RENEWAL OF CROSSINGS AT EAST END OF NEWCASTLE STATION 1949 Visitor TabsDescription This film, part of the Fastline Collection, shows the laying of a large complex set of diamond crossings to the east of Newcastle Station in October 1948. The film begins showing a very large and complex cross section of railway track in a railway yard. Following this, there is a large group of workmen gathered next to a railway line where some of the large sections of timber foundation has already been laid. Each part has been numbered and is next to the crossover. Some of the men are flattening the ground and others carrying sleepers. One man is using an upright measuring stick. A crane lowers another section into place. Men line up the new section with that already laid. In the background a large advertising hoarding in front of the castle exclaims, “Shop at Binns’, Newcastle, Sunderland, South Shields”. More smaller sections are lowered by crane, manoeuvred into place by workmen onto the timber foundation which matches the shape of the track. The track is then attached to the foundation. More sections are put into place as the newly laid track begins to resemble as it was laid out in the yard. Now the remaining sections connecting the crossover to the main line are laid. In the background can be seen Tyne Bridge. The last pieces are finally fitted and the finished work is shown, an A4 Gresley, with streamlined casing, passes over the line pulling a passenger train. Context It’s 1949, and the recently formed British Rail has set itself the target of renewing 1,484 miles of track. Here we see probably the most complex project, the replacing of a large set of diamond crossings to the east of Newcastle Station in October. But before this the diamond crossings have been put together at the yard at Hadfield’s of Sheffield. 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 section of railway crossing was already considered to be one of the wonders of the railway world when it was relaid in 1912 – for the first time using manganese castings made by Hadfield’s of Sheffield. Unlike conventional rails with built up crossings, these were grooved like tramlines, with diamonds. Work was done again on this in 1938, while the 1949 renewal lasted until the late 1970s. In 1949 BR began introducing flat-bottomed Vignoles rails, estimated to last 25 years.