This silent film is a bit of a mystery. It is definitely NOT the famous documentary “Night Mail “but it covers the same subject. . For a film student it is a fascinating demonstration of how two different camera teams approached the same assignment
For the steam railway enthusiast it shows smart working at station platforms its best. The subject is the 8.30 LMS Scottish postal leaving Euston for The North . As this is a silent film it the visual shots that have the impact. Very good sequences on picking up mailbags at speed.
Featured is the Ramsey apparatus where mailbags can be exchanged between train and standard at full speed. On to Crewe “the main junction for the Midlands” for 11.44 in the middle of the night 500 sorted bags dropped off and a thousand bags loaded to be away again in 13 minutes representing “100 tons of letters”. This is a seriously misleading caption as that would suggest each mail bag weighed around 100 kilos whereas from the way they were being handled I would suggest they weighed no more than a tenth of that weight. Could this be an early attempt at captions before the film was approved by the clients? .
The train carried 39 postal workers to deal with half a million letters in the travelling post office. At 4.32 Carstairs Junction is reached where the train is to be divided and split in three destinations Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow. The final caption suggests that letters posted in London for the evening collection will be delivered the next morning by 7am! Seventy five years later the that level of service seems but a distant memory!! Black and White Silent 10 minutes.