Top Platforms GB • 2017

Here’s a picture of the station platform at Rannoch Moor. The photo is included in a book of the 100 best railway stations in Britain, compiled by Simon Jenkins.

Rannoch is the high-point of the West Highland line between Glasgow and Mallaig…

The vernacular buildings of the 19C railway provide a very good way of discovering Victorian architecture…you sit on the train, get out, and look around…what could be better.

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Derelict Platforms • Spain • 2017

Here is a picture of the railway staion at Canfranc in Spain…nothing is as grand as ruins, and nothing is as disconcerting and anxious making as a derelict railway…

This station used to be one of the largest in Europe, with a platform 200 metres long! It’s grand and derelict…brilliant.


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Indian Railway • 2017

Here’s a terrific photograph of passengers on an Indian railway journey…they’re sitting on the roof!


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My Favourite Feature Films…

My friend and colleague, Jaap, asked me for a list of favourite films…luckily I am the sort of person who  makes lists…and I had this to hand…I’ve added a note of any post that I’ve already made about the films.


The Thirty Nine Steps (1935)


The Lady Vanishes (1938)

The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock on a Train)

Bringing up Baby (1938)

To have and Have Not (1944)

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

The Third Man (1949)

Once upon a Time in the West (1968)


Life and Nothing But (1989)

Europa (1991)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Casino (1995)

The Matrix (1999+)

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My Favourite Documentaries…(including some railway films)

My friend and colleague, Jaap, just asked me to compile a list of my favourite film documentaries on youtube. Here’s the list I posted to him…they’re not all railway films, but there are a few…I’ve made a note against the title of each film to warn anyone who isn’t that interested in trains…
The documentary form is about the only type of cinema in which Britain is recognise dinternationally as having made a real contribution…the potential of documentary was identified by Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays in the aftermath of WW1. The potential was enthusiastically embraced, in Britain, by Stephen Tallents of the Empire Marketing Board and, subsequently, the GPO.
I’ve written about this period of film and design history and worked with the Post Office Archive and Museum at Mount Pleasant in London.
That reminds me, they have their own underground railway!
My favourite film from this list is the GPO film, Night Mail, for its complete integration of image, movement, music and word…my second favourite is the French film, Pacific 231, by Jean Mitry…the opening sequence of this film is brilliant, with its machine-noise soundtrack antipating the kling-klang of Kraftwerk…
I’ve posted before about Pacific 231, here
and about Night Mail, here
The arrival of the Train at Le Ciotat (Lumiere) Includes a train!
Ce court-métrage fut filmé, comme son nom l’indique, à la gare de La Ciotat en cours d’année 1895 (la famille Lumière possédait une résidence secondaire dans…


 Man with a Movie Camera (USSR) Includes a train!
Man with a Movie Camera (Russian: Человек с киноаппаратом (Chelovek s kinoapparatom) is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no …
Night Mail (GPO) Includes a train!
This is a Documentary from 1937 about the night Mail train
Listen to Britain
Humphrey Jennings
National Archives and Records Administration LISTEN TO BRITAIN Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch. New York Office …
Pacific 231 (music and film) Includes a train!
Grey Gardens


Peter Greenaway
The Sea in their Blood
Peter Greenaway. The Sea in their Blood 1976/83 (aka The Coastline). Full length. Sorry about the sound quality.


Robinson in Space
2002 (in French)
Etre et Avoir
Être et avoi es un documental francés dirigido por Nicolas Philibert y estrenado en 2002. En el que se muestra la vida real de sus protagonistas. Se trata de…


Miners’ Hymns
The Miners’ Hymns – A film by Bill Morrison. The Miners’ Hymns is a inspired documentary depicting the ill-fated mining community in North East England. The …


The Big Freeze (lots of trains)
Snow (1963) – Geoffrey Jones | BFI Subscribe: Watch more on the BFI Player: ‘Snow’ is available to buy as …
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Michael and Me • 2011

Back in 2011, I bumped into Michael Portillo on the train at Folkestone…he was filming one of his journeys…they’re all on Box of Broadcasts…and also the later ones around Europe, and also the ones around the USA.

Actually, that’s me suitting behind him and wearing my beret!

I’ve posted before about these television films, here

Lewis and Clark, and Michael Portillo (BBC2TV)

Michael Portillo on BBCTV in Israel

Michael Portillo isn’t doing anything new…it was all done brilliantly in the 1950s and 1960s by John Betjeman…and subsequently by many others. I just noticed that, at the bottom of the post below, I describe Michael’s US train trip. Grr!

Trains and Television

John Betjeman was an important figure in the architectural conservation movement of the 1960s. He won the battle for St Pancras; but lost Euston…

Railway Propylaeum – The Euston Arch

The most interesting TV film made by Michael Portillo has been about his own family in Spain and the dramatic impact of the the bombing of Guernica, and the positive effect of Picasso’s great painting…all around the world.

I’ve posted about it, here

Michael’s mother, Cora, was instrumental in helping the Basque children refugees in Britain. That’s important.

BBCWalesTV made a special film about the Basque children who were found homes in wales. You can watch it on Box of Broadcasts.

Here are the details

I’ve posted elesewhere about the Spanish civil war, here


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Led Zeppelinn Concert Poster • 1975

Old-school concert poster for Led Zeppelin, circa 1975. Quite a nice steam loco too…

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Harry Dean Stanton

Here’s a picture of Harry Dean Stanton, walking the tracks…it’s from Paris, Texas (1984) by Wim Wenders.

The film was one of the great films of the 1980s…

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Polish Children’s Book • Locomotive • Tuwin

I’ve posted before about the Polish children’s story, The Locomotive by J Tuwin and with illustrations by Lewitt and Him.

It turns out that this book has been published, over and over, in various illustrated editions.

Here, with pictures by Jan Lenica

Here, with the loco by JM Scanzer

And here, with illustrations by M Gurowska


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British Rail Intercity 125 • Enamel Badge • 1970s


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