Elizabethan Express (1954)
20 minutes

From King's Cross Station, London to Waverley Station, Edinburgh, is 393 miles. The Elizabethan, a summertime express does this journey in 6.5 hours non-stop - the longest daily non-stop in the world to be timed at over 60 mph.
This film is about one of these runs, and the men behind the service: the people who planned it in the first place; the men who maintain the engines; the men who build the coaches; the men who see that the track will stand the strain of 450 tons at speeds of more than 90 mph; the men who make sure that the train has a clear run. And there are the guard, the kitchen staff, the buffet staff, and the two sets of enginemen.
This film captures the speed and excitement of one of those runs and, in verse by Paul le Saux, the characters of those taking part.

Producer: Edgar Anstey
Director: Tony Thompson
Photography: James Ritchie, Ronald Craigen, Robert Paynter
Unit Manager: Jim Garrett
Assistant Technicians: W.D. Williams, Cyril Moorhead, Ken Cooper, Paul Khan, Alice Ross, Pat Holmes
Editor: William J. MacLean
Writer: Paul le Saux
Narration: Howard Marion Crawford, Alan Wheatley
Music Composition: Clifton Parker
Conductor: Muir Mathieson

Additional information (courtesy Xpress Books): The non-stop ran from 1928 until 1939 as the (summer) Flying Scotsman and then from 1949 to 1952 as the Capitals Limited and from 1953 until 1962 as the Elizabethan. There was a proposal to continue the non-stop with Deltics but the LDC's were unhappy at having to ride in the rear cab for half the journey and having to changeover by walking through the engine compartment whlst the loco was running.

It is interesting to see that the Elizabethan/Capitals Limited was not proof from having its scheduled altered when it suited. In 1949 the down non-stop was booked to cover the distance in eight hours exactly, twenty minutes being knocked of the timing the following year.

Actual screen shots reproduced by kind permission
of the British Film Institute.
Stills from the 1954 BTF Catalogue.

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