Night Mail
May 19, 2016

Night Mail is a must-watch vintage short film for all train fans. This 1936 documentary film is about a London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) mail train from London to Scotland, produced by the GPO Film Unit. A poem by English poet W. H. Auden was specially written for it and you can hear it in the closing few minutes of the film, along with music composed by Benjamin Britten. The locomotive used in the film was the Royal Scot 6115 Scots Guardsman, built in 1927.

The rhythm of Auden’s poem imitates the beat of the train’s wheels as they clatter over the track sections, beginning slowly but picking up speed so that the narrator speaks at a breathless pace. But as the train slows towards its destination the final verse is taken at a more gentle pace.

Watch this classic documentary film here:


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