Film: 786

Railways | 1930 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Brief documentary compilation charting the rapid expansion and technical advancement of the world wide railway system, from its beginnings to the 1930's.

Contemporary locomotive entering tunnel. Camera strapped to front of engine as it passes through tunnel. Title frame with said steam locomotive rushing head long towards screen.
'During the last century great headway has been made… in constructing railroads and locomotives, a masterpiece of mechanics… thanks to steam employed as a motive power.'
Side on animation effect shot of locomotive's cylinder and piston gathering speed and power. Merging shot as piston fades to reveal greater detail of engine through further animation effect. Tracking shot of locomotive moving at high speed, continuing with it's main boiler and engine directly across screen, left to right. Locomotive moving through station and railway yard.
'In 1829 George Stephenson constructed a machine to which he applied the tubular heating system invented by Marc Seguin.'
Replica of Stephenson's 'Rocket' leaving rail shed with one carriage. Rear view shot of 'Rocket' steaming away with attentive crowd to right hand side standing between tracks. 'Rocket' running parallel to modern engine LNER 2578, in comparison shot. Engine 'Tom Thumb' 1829 approaching and passing with rail station in background. The 'Galloway' 1837 passing left to right, indicative of rapid development of locomotion. American 'iron horse' engine 'Mason' 1856, taken from film of the 1927 Iron Horse Centennial on the Baltimore and Ohio. Size and overall design of 'Mason' to be noted when compared with previous engines. Distinctly early engine with two overhead piston frames and watching crowd passing under bridge. A second early engine with open top carriage and one passenger passing under said bridge plus crowd. Headlong shot of four varying engines and designs steaming towards camera mounted on bridge. PLM 4-6-2 streamlined locomotive of French railways on central track speeding towards camera.
'Modern machines are…' (remainder of this intertitle not visible)
Selection of shots of PLM 4-6-2 travelling through countryside include a side on tracking shot and an aerial one, with aircraft shadow clearly visible along field. Further head on shot of engine slowing and then rapidly accelerating.
'Near Paris there is a unique locomotive test bench… in an industrial laboratory entirely devoted to the study and analysis of the performance of steam engines.'
Film moves to the test bed centre of Vitry running LNER Gresley 'P2' 2-8-2 No 2001 'Cock o' the North' on trials in 1934.
'The best method of transporting heavy goods is by means of the railway.'
Railway yard, possibly at a port, with loaded engine and cargo departing to left of screen. Images of same engine rushing through countryside delivering to the masses. Railway crossing closing, two cars approaching from far side, one makes it across. Engine passing, gates lifting. Five white goods trucks with indistinct engine entering goods yard and railhead.
'Signals…'
Several shots of signals working and an engine passing through.
'… and points play an important part in railway service.'
'They are worked by electricity.'
Three signalman, in traditional dress, working a main junction.
'In many districts electrification of the lines is being carried out very rapidly.'
Early electrical rail-car raising its conducting frame and leaving rail yard. Same engine coming to a sharp stop with camera on track.
'A new method of transport - ''The Auto-Rail'' .'
Aerial shot of solo French Michelin auto-rail car passing through countryside.
'This form of locomotion combines all the advantages of road and rail.'
Shot of driver in cab and illustration of speed and comfort for passengers.
'For lines which run at high altitudes, locomotives are equipped with snow-ploughs.'
Engine passing through snow-bound passage with use of snow plough shown.
'Much skill and technical knowledge goes into the construction of the railway.'
'Tunnels.' Vertiginous shots of tunnels through mountain passes and engine steaming out of one.
'Bridges.'
Images of varyingly technically advanced structures, each with an engine crossing, spanning vast obstacles; deep valleys and ravines, and wide rivers and lakes. Several of the structures have timber trestles.
'The difficulties to be surmounted are greater than in any other sphere.'
'Viaducts.'
Various shots of huge stone viaducts.
'Total length of railroads throughout the world: 900,000 miles.'
Brief selection of railheads, junctions, and stations.
'Whole trains can now cross the sea by means of… train ferry boats.'
Ferry at port dockside, with rail tracks on deck being aligned to take on an engine and carriages. Train embarking and ferry leaving.
'The narrow gauge railway track has the rails laid at a distance varying between 23" - 39".'
Colonial scene, possibly India, showing narrow gauge track as
'… an economical line for local use.'
Small steam engines moving cotton and timber.
Five converging tracks each with an engine moving to the same point bottom centre of the screen.
'The End.'


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