Film ID:
YFA 6287



Visitor Tabs


Part of the Fastline Collection, this film was made in the mid-1940s at Hulands Quarry near Bowes and Barnard Castle in County Durham. The film shows the various stages of work at the limestone quarry and ballast production from iron furnace slag at Lackenby used on railway tracks.

Title: Stone Ballasting

Titles:Stone Ballasting Part One The Limestone Quarry at Hulands Produces About 40,000 Tons of Stone Ballast Each Year Together with Chippings for Packing and Other Purposes. The Quarry is Situated in the Heart of the Pennines near Barnard Castle Amidst Delightful River and Moorland Scenery

The film begins in colour. There are shots of river from multiple angles.

There is a panning wide-angle shot of fields stretching into the distance on all sides. A railway track cuts through the fields.

A shot is taken from a moving train. The countryside rushes past the camera at high speed. The train crosses a bridge over the River Tees, Barnard Castle in the distance.

Cattle stand next to an entrance sign that reads: ‘LNER HULANDS QUARRY’.

[black and white film]

Mine trolley tracks run through Hulands limestone quarry. The camera proceeds to pan around the quarry to show its huge size, men working the quarry walls and near rail tracks.

A digger moves stones around the quarry. The digger is labelled ‘L.N.E.R the Engineer York’.

A shot is then taken from the perspective of a mine trolley. There are several trolleys in front that are full of stones. Men begin to tip the stones from the trucks at a designated point on the track.

Closer shots follow of the limestone seams at the quarry, dynamite holes visible on the rock face.

A man uses a pneumatic drill to break down stones at the top of the quarry rock face.

A man makes a hole with a large metal rod and another quarry worker fills it with mineral pellets from a cannister.

[colour film]

A man then bends wire and attaches an explosive to the end of it. The device is  put down the hole.

[black and white film]

Close-up of more mineral added, and the hole rammed once again. The three men work to complete the task.


A man then blows a horn to warn that blasting is about to take place.

[colour film]

The quarry workers quickly run away from the rockface and towards the camera.

[black and white film]

A man uses a flag to stop traffic on the road.

[colour film]

The fuse for the explosive is lit in close-up.

Men run away from the explosion site and hide in a makeshift shed.

There is a close-up shot of the lit fuse.

A man watches the explosion site with a telescope.

The explosion is then triggered, and a large section of stone is blown to pieces by the explosive charge. [slightly out of focus]

[black and white film]

More shots of the explosion follow.

Men now inspect the site of the explosion.

[colour film]

A man drills into the rock.

Another explosive charge is then laid in one of the larger rocks and the fuse prepared. In wide-shot, there are several small-scale explosions in the quarry. The camera pans in the direction of each explosion as it happens.

[black and white film]

A man breaks stone with a large hammer and puts it in a mine trolley. A man is also drilling rocks as others around him lift stones and put them in the trolley.

Full trolleys are shunted back along the track to the quarry yard.

Tags are handed through a hatch to a man in a building at the quarry, who also takes weight measurements. A worker tips the hoppers of stone into a machine, which then crushes the rock. Shot of large metal drums revolving.

Interior shots follow of a forge.Two blacksmiths work on some metal rods.

Title: Lackenby Slag Plant

A man pushes a truck full of stone up a track incline. Trucksthat are chained together are winched up a ramp and then tipped out by hand into another machine, which breaks them down into ballast. The hoppers move on a conveyor to a silo building where the ballast is dropped into North Eastern railway trucks [9797] bound for Lackenby Slag Plant. A steam engine [LNER 105] then hauls the trucks out of the yard. A man checks weights inside an office at the yrad as the trucks leave.

A gang of railway workers supervise as stone ballast for the rail track flows from the trucks as it is slowly driven along the line.  There are numerous close-ups of the stones flying out of the containers and onto the ground.

General view of the newly ballasted track leading from Lackenby Slag Plant.

After this, a steam train [Engine No. 2711] speeds along the track pulling passenger carriages.

Portrait shot of a worker looking with curiosity towards camera.

A gang of railway workers are working on the train tracks. Close-up of the track levered above the ballast, and ballast shovelled beneath. Portrait shot of a supervisor in a suit. The level of the track is checked.

[colour film]

Another steam train travels past the camera and under a bridge.

Title: The End

[ Limestone extraction at Hulands dates from the 1850s. Planning permission was first granted for its continued use as a quarry by the North Riding of Yorkshire Joint Planning Board Scheme in 1947. This is one of a large collection of films created by the Photographic Unit of the Chief Civil Engineer of the LNER in York, and his successors on British Railways. The films were inherited by the track renewals company Fastline in 1996, and when Fastline was sold to Jarvis in 1999 the films were sold on to Andrew Dow and Richard Hall who took over the running of Fastline Photographic Ltd in 2010. ]