Dirs: Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat
Starring: Patricia Roc and Eric Portman
Experiences of a wartime family
This propaganda film showing life in a wartime aircraft factory in documentary detail contains a number of railway shots throughout the story. The two major ones are both LMS. The first shows a ‘Royal Scot’ Class 6P 4-6-0 arriving at an unknown station, called ‘Stockford’ in the film, whilst the second is a good shot of actual wartime workers making their way along the platforms of Cold Meece station with Stanier Class 4P 2-cylinder 2-6-4T No.2490 reversing. Cold Meece railway station was a short-lived station built during the Second World War by the LMS to serve ROF Swynnerton. The Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) already had an extensive rail network served from the West Coast main line between Crewe and Stafford but the LMS chose to build a new branch line running to the site from the North Staffordshire Railway line between Stone and Norton Bridge, so as not to conflict with the extensive freight requirements that already ran on the current branch. The new branch line, which was double track throughout, ran for just under two miles from Swinnerton Junction to Cold Meece station (note Swinnerton in this instance was spelt with an ‘i’). The station had four lengthy platforms and although advertised in the working timetable, it was a non-public station and had no freight facilities. The station opened on 10th August 1941 and the factory closed in May 1958. Although the last scheduled train ran in June 1958, the station did not officially close until 3rd August 1959 with a life of almost eighteen years. There is also a second brief shot of crowds leaving Cold Meece, and the smokebox of a locomotive is just passing out of shot. There are other railway scenes early on in the film, but most are indistinct. At the beginning, there is a montage sequence that has an unidentified express mixed in with footage of buses and an establishing shot of London Waterloo station with what appears to be an SR 2-6-0 at the buffer stops alongside a pre-war EMU. There are then shots of an express pulling away from a station and a steam train crossing a bridge but as both are filmed at night it is impossible to discern the locomotives or locations. There is then one final shot of a passing express. This is a lot clearer and it is hauled by an LNER Class B17 4-6-0. The station departure scenes and carriage interiors are sets and there is also some model work, the ‘steam train’ pulling away from a ‘station’ and the freight wagons within a factory yard are not the real thing.