Film ID: YFA 5623 Video of YFA_5623 Snow and Flood SNOW AND FLOOD 1947 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. This film shows the huge blizzards on the South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway running through Stainmore in the winter of 1947. The closed line is being cleared by gangs of men with shovels, snow ploughs and rail-mounted Rolls Royce Derwent jet engines blasting the snow. It also shows severe flooding on the railway at Barlby near Selby. The film begins on board a moving train looking out at fields covered in deep snow. It passes a snow plough attached to the front of a train on the next line and continues, showing a path cleared next to the railway line. The whole surrounding landscape is deep in snow. The train approaches a large gang of men clearing a path next to the line. They stop and watch the train pass before resuming their work. The train comes to a halt in front of a great wall of snow hiding the track, with men trying to clear it with shovels. On one side is a 35 foot snow wall, on the other side is another wall made up of the shovelled snow. The line of men shovelling stretches into the distance. Further ahead the snow drift entirely covers the line. The heavily clothed men continue shovelling, though many are taking a rest. The snow plough arrives and clears the remaining snow. Another locomotive, with a carriage on one end and a guard van on the other, moves along the track. A fire has been lit next to the track, presumably to help clear the snow. Another train arrives with Rolls Royce Derwent jet engines attached to the front, each focused on the rail, clearing the line by blasting the snow. A man walks alongside signalling to the driver to go steady. As the train passes the men continue to work on the next track. Again the snow plough arrives, with a loco on each end, and clears the snow off the adjacent line leaving the men shovelling behind. The train continues on its journey through the snow. It passes Barras station completely engulfed in high snow drifts. The next section of the film shows fields next to Fletchers Sauce works at Barlby near Selby, completely flooded. The railway line ahead is also completely covered in water, and there are barrels floating on the water. In the distance can be seen the Olympian oil and cake mills at Barlby. A plane flies overhead. With the water level now below some of the line, a gang of workmen are clearing the track of washed up ballast and debris. The line up ahead is still immersed in water. Looking the other way the railway lines are clear. The men continue with their clearing up operations right next to the sauce works, checking the gauge of the track. A train arrives delivering new ballast, unloaded directly onto the track underneath, followed by a passenger train, and the film comes to an end. Context Like a scene from Dr Zhivago, this train struggles through spectacular blizzards as gangs of men armed with shovels attempt to clear the 30 foot high snow drifts over the Pennines. This film shows the blizzards on the LNER line running through Westmorland and Durham, over Stainmore, up 1,380 ft., in the winter of 1947. From on board a train we pass groups of heavily clad men, looking exhausted and almost defeated, against the huge walls of snow. Help is on hand with Rolls Royce Derwent Mk 1 jet engines attached to the front of a loco, blasting the snow from off the line. While at Barlby the line is deep under water after melting snow has caused large floods. 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. Even with military help the line was closed for February and March. February 1947 was the coldest on record and snow fell every day somewhere in the country for 55 days straight. This line was especially vulnerable to blizzards, being so high up and exposed to the west. It was not uncommon for the line to be blocked by snow drifts as it passed through some of the deep cuts, such as at Bleathgill and Rookby Scarth. The line, formerly the South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway, was opened in 1861 and closed in 1965.