Film: 5543

Railways | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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SNCF Railways in France.
Film showing the dangers of electricity in industrial situations, first aid techniques for electrocution and how French railways are safely using electricity. 1950s.

An electric train is stopped at a rail platform. A luggage train is driven along the platform with push bikes loaded into it. A man in a suit boards the train. Sudden rush of people boarding the train, carrying suitcases. View from inside the train of passengers getting on. The train leaves. Inside one of the compartments two rows of passengers sit facing each other. Views of the passing towns out the window. A young lady points to a power station as the train passes. Other people in the compartment strike up a conversation. View of the overhead power cables, as filmed from the roof of the train. Various exterior views of a power station. Back on the train the conversation between passengers continues, interspersed with rural, countryside views out of the window. A man points out the window to an electricity sub-station that the train is passing. Forest and lake views. A dam across the lake. A car drives across the top of the dam wall. High power electricity pylons. Driver’s point of view as the train heads along the tracks. Overhead view of cables.
A man walks along the corridor down the carriage. Inside the compartment, the passengers get up to leave. Tables of passengers are served by a white coated waiter in the dining car of the train. Conversation between a table of four people seated in the dining car. The waiter hovers, when a man starts to draw on the table cloth. There now follows some diagrams and commentary explaining about the dangers of electricity. Back in the dining car the waiter clears plates from a table. More diagrams about electricity danger. The conversation continues at one table in the dining car.
Workers at an electricity station. Examples of dangerous situations are shown, where a worker can be electrocuted. Kids on a railway bridge look over to the tracks below. Sign for Danger de Mort (Danger of Death). A rail worker climbs to the top of a stationary carriage and gets electrocuted when he touches the overhead wires. Another worker tampers with connectors in a train and is also in danger. A lose electricity wire hangs across a rural road. A van stops and the driver gets out to move the cable, thus electrocuting himself. At a power sub-station a worker hangs danger signs on metal enclosures around the facility. He carries a ladder into one of the fenced areas and climbs to some overhead connectors and you guessed it – he electrocutes himself. Close up views of injuries caused by electric shock, burns and scars plus a missing finger and arm. Facial burns and terrible burnt legs of someone lying on a gurney. Two men argue at a control panel and one is thrown back with a shock. In a work shop someone is shocked. A man using a power drill is electrocuted when he drills into an electrical connection. He rubs his arm. A woman stirs a saucepan on the stove and glances over to the dripping tap. She shocks herself when she reaches to turn the metal tap off.
A woman enters the bathroom and removes her robe, which she leaves on a stool. In the bath, the woman has washed her hair and now plugs in a hair dryer on the stool beside the bath. She collapses from electric shock. The dryer falls to the floor and he arm hangs limply over the bath.
At night and seemingly back on the train, a blind is pulled down and two men go to sleep in their seats. One man has a nightmare and feels he is trapped in electric wire. He struggles in his sleep before waking with a start and wakening the other passengers.
A worker at a sub-station goes to the aid of someone who has been injured. He puts a ladder up and carries the person down to the ground. Another worker comes running to their assistance and spreads a blanket on the ground. Together they roll the injured man onto the blanket. The man is strapped into a vest and his torso is raised and lowered repeatedly using a lever. Diagram of the rib cage and chest. Chest compressions are demonstrated with a man lying on the ground. The device used earlier is demonstrated beside a railway line. 1950s style semi-automated compression machine. Another first aid technique is shown where an injured man is laid on his front and compression or stretching is done on the person’s lower back. The airway is checked to be clear and kept open to aid breathing. The machine is shown with its various functions. A doctor puts an oxygen mask on a patient lying in a bed. Outside a power sub-station a man lies strapped to a board, like a see saw, while another man rocks him from an upright position to upside down. In a medical room and doctor gives a patient an injection while he is lying down, seemingly unconscious. He them does chest massaging. Iodine is applied to the chest and a further injection given into the heart?
Back on the train the passengers continue to talk to each other having been woken by the man having a nightmare. One man peaks behind the curtain over the window. Documents headed Fatal Accidents in French are laid on a table one by one. Workers in a rail yard now carry out tests and maintenance in safety. One man climbs into a firebox with an electric lamp. Another uses a long safety pole when checking signals. A man disconnects the wires on top of the train, from the electric supply before touching any switches. Back in the rail carriage travelling through the night, the people resume their sleeping. The train is now in the station and people get off and walk down an empty platform.

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