Film: 5031

Railways | 1960 | Sound | Colour

Clip:

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Synopsis:

Short b/w piece on 1950s French railways of cars being transported by rail.
Steam train at Gare de Modane, with flags and a sign saying Automobiles for Italy. Guard waves the train off and various invited people watch the car transporter carriages pull away from the station. View from the front of the train as it enters a tunnel. View of the cars on the train at it exits the tunnel. Railway station sign for Bardonecchia, a station near Turin, Italy. The vehicles are driven off the train in Italy.

B&W clip from France 1950s showing women working on the railways, hard labour with picks and shovels. The women wear dresses, some with aprons over the top and smile at the camera. A locomotive is turned around on a turn table in a rail yard, operated by a woman. View overlooking the yard with various steam locos waiting.

Colour footage commences on safety on French electric railways SNCF 1960s.
Two rail workers walk along the tracks in conversation with each other. They approach men on red and white ladders, who are working on the overhead electric cables. They stop and chat to one of the men while he is up the ladder. They walk on, their shadows filmed on the track ahead of them.

More workers up ladders. A safety person oversees their work and blows a trumpet to signal for them to come down. The men come down the ladders and with the aid of others standing at the bottom, they start to move them away from the overhead lines.

A man enters a white room slowly and quietly, closing the door behind him. He approaches a single bed where another man is lying and leans towards him. Striped shadows from the blinds are cast on the wall behind them. The man lying in bed talks quietly before his head slips to one side. The visitor lifts his limp arm and looks sad. Close up of the visiting man’s face as his eyes close. His friend has died?

The man who has lost his friend looks depressed and as he stands on a balcony and gazes over the railway tracks wearing a white singlet. He turns and enters the bathroom where his wife is unravelling the electric cord on a hairdryer while sitting in the bath. He snatches it from her and leaves the room, while she shouts at him. He inspects the frayed electrical cord. Safety around electricity? Film goes back to the men on their red and white ladders, working on the overhead rail power cables. They talk and laugh as one man detaches a power line. They move a ladder along the track and replace connectors. View of the feet of two men as they walk along the tracks. A ladder is lifted and moved to another length of track, but the men touch the top of the ladder to a live section of cable. They are shocked and are thrown to the ground, before slowly getting up again or being helped to their feet. A ladder is placed up against a pole beside the track. A man works on the overhead lines. Another man shouts warnings to him and runs towards him, but it is too late as he grabs the live wire and lies dangling from his harness after being shocked. His dangling body is viewed from below as he hangs over the track. Two men walk the track, one holds and refers to a little red book. More rail electricians donning helmets and safety gear before climbing ladders to the lines.

An unusual overhead view of a man removing his coat and shirt in a changing room, before he enters a doctor’s surgery for a check up. He sits in front of the doctor’s desk looking glum. The doctor checks his reflexes and takes his blood pressure. The man is shown sitting with electrodes stuck over his head, in a somewhat stupefied state. The doctor talks to his patient back at his desk. The surgery nurse can be seen sitting at her own desk in the background.
The film returns to workers as they position their red and white ladders at Vosves railway station. Two men work on a power line standing on opposite sides of the ladder. A worried man standing below, dons his hard hat. Slow movement forward along the tracks with a clear view ahead, down the line. Another ladder and another man working at height on the power cable, a scenic river in the background. The man cleans connectors with a white cloth. Further along the track another ladder is being raised, but it almost makes two lines connect, nearly causing the electrocution of the other man working on the same line. A warning is shouted and the ladder is hastily pulled away from the cables. The man who had a narrow escape leans back in his harness before descending the ladder. A long pole is used to pull a cable out of harm’s way. The film ends abruptly at this point.


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