Dir: Albert E Hammond
Starring: Albert Hammond and Marjorie Perkins

Two designers discover a new formula for reducing coal consumption, but will they be able to prove their findings before their secret is stolen?

A de Havilland Gipsy Moth biplane, a car chase and a steam express train all feature in this pre-war 16mm silent thriller that stretches the ambition of the amateur filmmaker. Produced by the Nottingham Amateur Cine Society the significance of this movie lies in its quite complex use of all modes of transport, even if the ‘production’ is poor. Although the era of the silent had passed, the amateur film society probably found the use of sound too cost prohibitive. Technically, a sound clip is more complex to shoot and cut, but the use of 16mm film is more professional. There are some truly fantastic shots of the old Great Central Railway in and around Nottingham, with Nottingham Victoria station featuring prominently. In the background to the opening shot of the station frontage, a Nottingham Corporation tram can just be glimpsed passing (this is a rare glimpse as well because the city lost its original tram network in 1936). Though several locos are not identifiable, there are good shots of ex-GCR Robinson C4 Class 4-4-2s in the confines of the station. Loco No.5261 arrives with a train and No.5266 is seen in close up whilst in the platform. Other locos which feature include footage of a train crossing a viaduct in the capable hands of LNER B2 Class 4-6-0 No.5425 City of Manchester, one of only six built and a real rarity on film as the last had been withdrawn by the end of 1947. There is then a shot of LNER Ivatt C1 Class 4-4-2 No.4422 passing across an embankment and then at the end, several more trains passing, one of which is an interesting local passenger with four-wheel ventilated vans on the rear. Although the exact location of these shots is not known, railway footage is believed to have been taken in and around Bulwell Common. The story used the fictional Lancester & North East Coast Railway’s ‘Border Express’ for the trial of the special fuel, a mix of Coal and Aluminium, hence the title. The opening shots show the designers working on a beautiful scale-model of an LMS ‘Patriot’ 4-6-0. The film is said to have been shot in 1934 but in one scene a train pulls out of Nottingham Victoria behind LMS Class 5MT ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 No.5158. This is significant in the fact that it can tie down a date. The loco would have been brand new at the time of filming, being outshopped from Armstrong Whitworth in July of 1935. It is unnamed in the film but was named Glasgow Yeomanry on 22nd May 1936 thus narrowing down the filming to an 11 month period from 1935-36, but not 1934.

This is the beautiful scale-model of an LMS ‘Patriot’. Note the film’s title spelled out in letters in front of the model.
The model is being worked on
The frontage to Nottingham Victoria station with plenty of period motor cars. The tram is passing behind the centre pillar of the three.
Robinson C4 Class 4-4-2 No.5261 arrives into Nottingham Victoria
Robinson C4 No.5266 stands in the platform
This is the shot of ‘Black Five’ No.5158 leaving the station, significant because it ties the date of the film down to 1935/36.
Although the footage of the trains is poor and grainy, the rarity of the images is unsurpassed. This is a shot of an express passing through a cutting in the hands of an ex-GCR tender loco.
This is one of a number of shots taken of trains passing across an embankment, said to be in the Bulwell area. The loco is Ivatt C1 Class 4-4-2 No.4422 (is there any other loco whose number nearly matches its wheel arrangement!?)
This does not look like much of a shot but it is in fact an extremely rare glimpse of one of the six B2 Class 4-6-0s No.5425 City of Manchester. In the film, the locomotive is actually tracked for some distance as it crosses the viaduct.
The last shot is a going-away view of another train possibly in the hands of another C2.