Elizabethan Express

Elizabethan Express

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Elizabethan Express

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Description:
Elizabethan Express is a 1954 British Transport Film that follows The Elizabethan, a non-stop British Railways service from London to Edinburgh along the East Coast Main Line. Although originally intended as an advertising short, it now acts as a nostalgic record of the halcyon years of steam on British Railways and the ex-LNER Class A4.

It was directed by Tony Thompson, with a tongue-in-cheek poetic commentary written by Paul Le Saux. It is also notable for its music by Clifton Parker, who also wrote the score for Blue Pullman and several other British Transport Films. He was later to write the music for the 1959 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps, which also features an A4.

Background

The Elizabethan was a daily non-stop service in celebration of the new 'Elizabethan' era of the early 1950s. Departure from both ends was in mid-morning, for a teatime arrival. It ran only during the summer months, including in 1953 and 1954. It was able to make the 393-mile journey from London to Edinburgh non-stop by using LNER Class A4 steam locomotives equipped with a corridor tender, enabling a change of crew en route. It also required drivers to take up as much water as possible at the troughs, since the journey called for over 11,000 gallons of it.

The journey time of 6 hours 30 minutes gave an end-to-end average speed of just over 60 mph, regarded as a...
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