Railways | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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Railway Building in France. 1950s.
Laying new track, ballasting, maintenance crews working on tracks, SNCF trains.
The film commences with a series of quick clips showing the railway pre-mechanisation. Men work on the rails with picks and shovels. Inspection of the rails carried out by a man pushed along a single track on a bicycle affair, whilst holding his umbrella – rather comical. Gangs of men working by hand with shovels. A row of men lift and move a long length of track. Sleepers are lifted by hand. Short clips of machines that now aid the more manual work of rail workers.
Cleaning Ballast. A series of mechanised equipment is shown in operation as it is used for cleaning ballast around the railway tracks. Starting with quite small machines and progressing to enormous machines that resemble a mobile factory.
Track Repair and Replacement. A gantry is used to raise sections of railway track that requires replacement. New track is assembled in railway yard and loaded onto a train for transportation to the installation site. Gang of workers fit the new replacement sections of track.
Gantries being used to lift old sections of railway track and move them for stacking on to the long loader. Levelling of ballast in order to receive the new track. Gantries lift new track sections and they are lowered into position before being butted up together. Overhead view of track being laid in sections. Men pushing gantries into position. The long loader departs with lengths of old track.
Rail Assembly yard. A rural station. A siding with a crane, where concrete sections of sleepers are moved into position. Two rail workers help guide the section into place before removing chains. Hand spikes are used to line up the concrete sections and men place the fixing in clips in position. Long row of sleepers all in alignment. 60 foot lengths of steel track are lowered by crane. A bolting machine is pushed along the line to attach the fittings. Bogeys or trolleys are pushed into place to transport the newly tracks. Gantries on guide rails with hydraulic jacks lift the track sections and stack them for transport. The long loader leaves the assembly yard with its load. The gantries also travel to the track laying site. A person looks over a wall at the load passing by. The replacement lengths of track travel to the installation site.
Further footage of sections of old track with wooden sleepers being removed and replaced with more modern concrete sleepers.
Railway track being moved to an installation site, passes through a small station or yard. A huge machine, a girder with combined generator, also travels along the rails. A man at the girder controls. A gantry arm extends from the girder, lifting sections of new track, which pass through the machine and are lowered at the other side, ready for installation. A faster method of track laying. Two men join two sections of track. The machine driver lifts the gantry and moves forward for placing of the next section. The previous process is repeated with views filmed from within the machine and overhead.
Spreading ballast along railway line. A long train of carts carrying ballast move along the track. Men control levers that spills ballast in between the tracks. Close up view of an auto-discharge wagon dropping ballast. An arbo truck used for loading and unloading ballast. A man at the truck’s controls operates the valves. Packing ballast. A machine called an auto-packer is used to level and compact ballast via vibration under the sleepers. Close up views of the machine’s arms in operation. Men with rakes tidy ballast around the track after the machine has moved past.
Fast moving French electric passenger train heads towards the camera and passes. Another train approaches at speed on the next line of track. View out the back of a train of empty track as the train hurtles forwards.
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