1hr 27mins
Dir: Walter Forde
Starring: Gordon Harker and Alastair Sim

Inspector Hornleigh and Sergeant Bingham join the army in an effort to uncover a ring of German spies

This was the third and final film adaptation of the Inspector Hornleigh stories and it is the one that includes the most railway scenes. The traitor in the film makes his escape aboard a mail train, hence the US title of the film, Mail Train, but due to wartime restrictions most of the railway journey takes place in a studio set. However, a few stock shots are added and most of these appear to have been obtained from the 1936 GPO documentary Night Mail (qv). There is a good shot of unrebuilt LMS ‘Patriot’ Class 5XP 4-6-0 No.5513 arriving at Crewe with a mail train and a close up of the cab at departure (the 5XP power classification is visible). The night shots of passing trains meanwhile appear to show a Continental loco, though there is one of a travelling post office picking up lineside mail, again from the Night Mail documentary.

Unrebuilt LMS ‘Patriot’ No.5513 arrives at Crewe with a mail train
A mail train hauled by a ‘Royal Scot’ is about to pick up a mailbag on the move. This was always an impressive sight but equally impressive is the monstrous telegraph pole alongside which, despite missing some insulators, looks to be a lineman’s nightmare.