Dir: Lewin Fitzhammon
Starring: Actors unknown

The adventures of an Englishman journeying to Paris

This early black and white silent film understandably features some fascinating images despite its short length. From a historical viewpoint, it is of interest for the numerous tracking and panning shots. The camera moves around quite a bit, and in a variety of different settings, but from a railway viewpoint the film features something very rare. The entrance and platforms of London Charing Cross station are shown along with a shot of a departing train. The steam-hauled service is being worked by SER Stirling B1 Class 4-4-0 No.454 fitted with Holden oil-burning equipment. Only two engines, No’s.454 and 459 were fitted with Holden’s oil burning system in 1901 so the footage is unique. Although the conversions were a success it was deemed to be too expensive to be adopted generally and the equipment was removed from the locomotives in 1904, the year the film was made. It is thus very fortuitous that one should be captured on film and it is probably the rarest locomotive ever to be caught on camera. Not to be outdone, SECR Wainwright D Class 4-4-0 No.745 is in an adjacent platform and two other steam locos standing light can be seen in other platforms once the train has departed. The film also includes a shot of a boat train arriving at Dover Marine station behind another D Class locomotive. The early booking office scene was a set, filmed on the outdoor stage at Hurst Grove, Walton-on-Thames. The railway footage is available on Video 125’s Trains from the Arc’ DVD.

One of the first genuine railway shots to appear on film is this superb scene from London Charing Cross. Stirling B1 4-4-0 No.454 is on the right, the oil drums clearly visible on top of the tender. It is unbelievably fortuitous that one of the oil burning examples should be caught on film. Meanwhile, Wainwright D Class 4-4-0 No.745 is vying for attention on the left.
Having pulled clear of the camera two more tender locos are revealed to be standing in the platforms behind
A train arrives at Dover Marine. The beach is in the foreground and the locomotive, another D Class 4-4-0, is on the right. If one looks closely you can even see the lining out on the tender!