Film: 284

Railways | 1970 | Sound | Colour

Synopsis:

A short film apparently made to promote British Rail's Inter-City train services for continental (particularly French) visitors. It contains good footage of British Rail trains and staff in the 1970s, views of the passing countryside, and a few memorable passengers.

Red light fills the screen, which narrows into a red spotlight, as the camera withdraws. A green spotlight expands to fill the screen, as the camera moves in on it; the sound of a train's horn is heard. The view through some bushes towards a cathedral with one main pointed spire (possibly Salisbury) rising above a town. A view from track-level of an Inter-City train passing across the picture, then away from us. The train passes leftwards across the screen, the word 'JOURNEY' also passes across the screen, and a pair of 'Inter-City' titles pass like trains in different directions.

The camera looks down from above at an engine moving from top to bottom of the picture. The place names on a Departures board flick over. As the camera moves along a track, the film title in several languages moves from bottom to top on the screen; these titles alternate with shots of places flicking over on the Departures board. A train moves towards us, appearing first at the bottom left of the picture. A brief clip of the top of the Departures board for the 10 o'clock train to Manchester. Carriages speed across the screen.

Brief shots of the Houses of Parliament, Lincoln Cathedral, and a view across a flower bed towards an old wall and another cathedral in the distance. A train moves fast towards us through a bridge. Brief shots of a bronze sculpture of eagles in varying stages of flight, surrounded by modern buildings, a modern shopping centre, and the centre of Edinburgh. A train approaches from bottom left across the screen. Brief shots of a seaside resort, Durham Cathedral and the college quadrangles of either Oxford or Cambridge, before the latter is reduced to photograph size and surrounded by a number of other 'snaps'. Three rows of images of Inter-City trains pass across the screen, then come to a stop.

The camera moves close up to the 'Inter-City' sign on the side of a train. An engine (5A28) moves towards us through a train-wash machine. A view from inside the train of the machine's revolving brush passing across the outside window. A hoover is seen from above along the aisle between the seats inside the train; the camera moves up to show a woman applying the attached suction tube to some of the seats. A black woman makes up the bed in a sleeper compartment. A toilet door opens inwards, as the first cleaner attends to the towel dispenser. The other woman leaves a towel on a bar in the sleeping compartment.

One of the catering staff walks towards us along a corridor, carrying a tray of sliced ham or perhaps pork pie; he turns right and is seen laying down the tray beside some other trays of food; the camera moves rightwards along the row of prepared food, showing another pair of hands at work. A view from inside of a man in a British Rail (BR) cap labelled 'Reservations' smoothing down an orange sticker, saying 'RESERVED - Golden Rail', on the outside of a carriage window; the camera moves in on the sticker.

A view down into the main concourse at Euston Station. A man in a suit walks towards us and the camera looks up at him, as he looks up to the (unseen) Departures board. Services to Manchester, Glasgow and Rugby appear on the board. The man looks down at his wristwatch. A close-up of the watch showing about ten to twelve. The man walks away from us through a door into a ticket office.

A member of the BR catering staff dries glasses in the buffet car; the camera moves backwards to show the barman at work. The reflection of the man in the suit moves leftwards along the outside windows of the carriages. He steps onto the train through a door facing us, then walks beyond the left of the picture. A side-on shot of a long-haired, bespectacled vicar arranging chess pieces on a board; another, older vicar, wearing a hat, appears in the window behind, acknowledges his colleague, and walks past. A group of teenagers in Chelsea Football Club scarves and hats, with a teddy bear mascot, find seats in the carriage. The elder vicar is now seen, from a position below him, putting his case up on the luggage rack, then sitting down behind the chess board; he says 'Good Morning', as he lifts up his Pawn. The younger vicar smiles back.

A modern clock suspended from the ceiling shows '11.59'. A man in a control room walks towards us, flicks some switches and picks up a phone. A train driver leans out of the engine window, with his back to us. The long hand on a clock moves to show twelve o'clock. A BR man blows a whistle; the camera moves back to show that we have been looking at his reflection. The driver, still looking out of the window, moves his head back in and looks right across the picture. A red light goes out and a green one appears above it. The elder vicar moves his Pawn forward. A lever is pushed. A side-on view of the driver, as the train begins to move rightwards. The view through the driver's front window of the track ahead.

Jigsaw pieces are tipped out of a shallow box onto a table surface. A mother and three children sit around a table in a First Class carriage, as the children start to work on the jigsaw. A waiter with a tray of drinks comes towards us and is followed to the left, where he places the tray in front of a woman wearing glasses, and opens a bottle for her. A close-up of a boy in a red checked shirt working on the jigsaw. His younger sister at the jigsaw. A woman in a hat rummages through a hat of a flowery pattern, and takes out a copy of La Stampa and some other items. A side-on view of the driver. The previous woman takes postcards from her bag. A close-up of a postcard saying 'Greetings from LONDON'; other cards from Canterbury, Stratford-upon-Avon and Bournemouth are added to the pile.

A view through the driver's window, with the driver himself visible with his back to us at the left. A close-up of his hand on a lever. A male hippy in a wide-brimmed hat holds blue wool around his hands; the camera moves right to show a long-haired woman in an even wider hat winding the other end of the wool around her hands. A view along the receding track. A woman in pilot-shaped mirror glasses smiles faintly. A close up of The Times crossword, already filled in with place and other names relevant to the film, as the word 'MATCH' is added. Three of the teenage football supporters look at a programme saying 'Cup Final'. The camera moves in on the almost completed jigsaw of the Tower of London.

The view through the driver's window. A woman's face looks leftwards in the picture. A country view passes across the screen. The man in the suit looks rightwards. A country view passes, including a lake and boats. A side-on view of the hippy couple sitting next to each other now, looking leftwards. A view from the train towards a large house. The elder vicar looks up thoughtfully from the chessboard towards the window at the left. A passing country scene. The vicar, one finger resting against his jaw, raises his eyebrows quizzically, then turns back towards the chessboard. A close-up of his Knight being moved to take his opponent's Rook. A close-up of the final jigsaw piece being put in place, the camera moving back to show the full picture of the Tower of London.

The camera moves out on two raised glasses of sparkling wine, to show a young, bespectacled man and the woman who was seen earlier wearing glasses and receiving a drink, sitting either side of a table on which stands an ice-bucket containing an opened bottle. A fairly elderly woman wearing a hat pours tea from a teapot, with some sandwiches in front of her. A young couple hold one glass of milk between them, each drinking through a straw. A close-up of the mascot in Chelsea colours; the camera moves right to show first a long-haired boy, then a girl drinking from tin cans. The man in the suit eats soup on the left side of a table opposite a woman. A BR waiter comes towards us with an iced birthday cake, which he places on a table to the right. One of the three children seen earlier, a young girl, is seen behind the cake, as its four candles are lit.

The view from the driver's window, as the train approaches a tunnel; he flicks the switch for the lights as the train enters. The cake momentarily glows in the dark. The younger vicar pushes down his glasses and squints. The camera moves down to the chessboard, as his Pawn is seen taking his opponent's Bishop. The elder vicar rests his head against his right hand and thinks. The light at the end of the tunnel; the driver flicks off the lights' switch as the train emerges.

The three children blow out the candles on the cake; the camera moves up to the country view through the window. A knife cuts into the cake, which bears a BR logo. A view from a distance of the train moving across; the camera moves in on it rapidly. We move along the aisle in one carriage, looking down at the passengers on the left: the two clergymen playing chess, the young couple discussing a document, and the hippy couple knitting at either end of the same stretch of wool; the camera turns round, looks down at what has been knitted, then focuses on the woman.

The view through the driver's window, but without the driver being visible, more across than along the track, as another train approaches from the opposite direction. Carriages move fast across the screen. The view through a carriage window, but blacked out to leave only the BR logo. A view from down beside the track of the train moving rightwards. The young couple continue their discussion. A copy of The Times (with headlines about the expulsion of the Rhodesians from the Munich Olympic Games, a bomb in Ulster, Idi Amin and President Brezhnev, suggesting 1972) is lowered to show the man in the suit, now wearing glasses, which he removes to look out of the window, to the right of the picture. Bales of hay stand in a field. The woman in mirror glasses looks out. A view of a large lake, perhaps part of the Lake District. The elderly woman in a hat looks out. More of the lake and surrounding hills. A side-on view of one of the teenage girls in Chelsea colours. A football ground is passed. The group of Chelsea supporters point and laugh.

The two vicars, the younger looking towards us, put the chess pieces away in a briefcase. The teenage girl in a Chelsea baseball cap looks leftwards. A BR wine glass is laid down. The view from the front of the train, as it approaches a station. A side-on view of the man in the suit looking out. The view from the front, as the train enters the station. A track-level view of the engine 1A62 approaching us. The man in the suit stands up and reaches for his attaché case. He walks away from us along the platform. An official BR bag is seen being carried leftwards, then the 'Inter-City' name on a train is focused on. The man in the suit is followed as he walks across to the right.

Finally, we move rightwards along a list of BR services, a view of the man in the suit walking right past Lisbeth Buchler Furs, a list of more BR services, the man now in casual clothes walking through Trafalgar Square, the man in a suit again walking past some sash windows, a list of more BR services, a view across to the South Bank and the Festival Hall at night, and a number of small lights comprising the BR symbol.


To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 284.