Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fully Fitted Freight (1957)

A documentary on how the railways moved freight in the 1950s, complete with period touches of "Women: Know your place" in the commentary.

As the BFI page on the film says:
At the time, the film would have been seen as a triumphant demonstration of the efficiency and efficacy of British Railways' freight services, and the commentary implies that the system was so vital to the running of the economy that it would probably need to expand indefinitely to keep up with consumer demand. 
However, hindsight reveals that the freight express's days were numbered even then. Many services were axed following the 1963 Beeching Report, and Bristol's huge Midland Road goods depot, where the early part of the film was shot, was closed in 1967.


David Sandbrook said...

This film should be seen as an historical snapshot of the UK in the 1950's. It can be viewed from a number of different perspectives - Railway modellers, social historians, economic and industrial historians, those who like to look back with nostalgia and those who relish any thing about railways. It may be a bit sanitised, just as other fly on the wall doco's are, the grime of working on the railways is there, the occasional shot of a dilapidated building but also on view is the investment made to upgrade and drag the goods and freight service of British Railways up to date. This is how things worked in Britain. Very enjoyable and I wanted more.

David Sandbrook said...

Oh and by the way, it was released just a few years before the Beeching Report that saw the demise of many British Railways services and emasculation to a point that it would be unrecognisable.