Film - Miles of Progress: the Electrification of the East Coast Main Line (ECML)

part of archive:
GEC Traction Archive
GEC Traction Limited

Corporate film produced for British Rail, by Cinécosse, and presented by Martin Young.

Miles of Progress: the electrification of the ECML, also subtitled The High Road North, reviews the on-going ECML electrification project which started two years earlier. The film is the follow up of the film Going electric which introduced the beginning of the project.

The film comes back to the successful and important steps of the projects through footage of electrification works and official celebrations on the ECML between 1985 and 1987. Martin Young explains how the project is ahead of schedule and the promises offered for passengers with electrified lines and the Electra Class 91 Intercity 225 for which the construction started.

Some footage shows construction works on the lines, workers raising steel mass supports and overhead power lines, bridges being raised or rebuilt, construction depot in Peterborough, Doncaster and Newcastle. Also the most recent Millerhill depot in Edinburgh, which allows starting electrification work going South towards England.

The film also focuses on tracks and signalling and the new fibre optic link that will be carrying signals between London and Edinburgh. This sequence includes archival black and white footage of signalling in York.

The ECML project director (Don Heath) evokes the question of design for the overhead lines and how they were designed to fit with the landscapes and towns they would go across.

A sequence focuses on the construction of the new Intercity 225 Class 91 Electra, to be completed by 1991, using footage of the units under construction and a wooden mock-up of a locomotive.

The film also tells about the safety measure taken towards the public. The British Transport Police is filmed visiting a school to inform children about the danger of the railway and electric lines, showing the British Transport Film 'Robbie' to the children.

Finally, the film concludes with the new timescale as the project is ahead of schedule: Peterborough to be completed by May 1987, Doncaster and Leeds by October 1988 and York to Edinburgh by May 1991.


13 mins video on VHS cassette
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