More excellent marketing from British Rail: why face the hell of the airport or stress of the motorway when you can sit back and relax on a comfortable, speedy Intercity 125?
This is probably British Rail's most famous advertising campaign, appearing in a couple of versions (originally ending 'British Rail', the advert was still in use as Sectorisation came along and BR dissolved its regions in favour of 'Sectors' – Provincial, Intercity, London and South East and Freight, hence the 'Intercity' tag line with only a little double-headed arrow). Like much of British Rail's marketing, it now produces a smile of recognition and warmth, not least for presenting the inside of the Mk III coaches so well. They've been refurbished since??privatisation, with view-blocking high seats (in case there's an accident – it'd be better if you're killed instantly by hitting your face on the seat than slightly more slowly by being thrown into the carriage) that no longer coincide with the windows (who wants to look out of the window when travelling when you could be reading the dire on-board advertising magazine) and a reduction in legroom (because, hey, we need to see if all modes of travel can give you a deep-vein??thrombosis).
Nevertheless, despite the shysters who now run the railways, the central part of the advert remains true: there's no better way of travelling than by train.
Ooh, this is wonderful! Even if you're not a railfan, this advert should make you leap on to a train and take a journey somewhere – anywhere – just for fun, because it features the most sexy, most??sexual, star of the twentieth century: behold Hattie Jacques getting an 'Awayday' ticket from Sevenoaks to Charing Cross to do lunch with??Jackie Stewart*
Be still my beating heart!
* Warning – link plays music at you, in a crime against teh internets.
It’s 1970 and Waterloo station is grubby and dark-looking and allows the free-flow of people. Thank heavens Railtrack/Network Rail improved it, so it’s now bright and shiny and makes sure that when it’s busy there’s a serious risk of people being crushed to death against the retail booths carelessly dribbled across the concourse! Ah, progress.
Also, it’s 1970 and thus five years since British Rail introduced “Rail Blue” livery for the trains. As you can see, a good half of the slam-door Southern region deathtraps are still in Southern Railway green. Nowadays, thanks to vinyl wraps, we can relivery trains as they pass from franchise to franchise to franchise in a never-ending, dizzying merry-go-round of our money in only a few hours. We just don’t bother very often. I’ve been on a Northern Spirit painted, Arriva Trains Northern debranded, Northern Rail over-branded West Yorkshire PTE-financed train with Intercity ‘No Smoking’ stickers in the windows and default Regional Railways North East posters quite recently; what the ordinary passenger is meant to make of this thrusting display of deck-chair rearranging by successive incompetent governments is anybody’s guess.
A lovely 1988 corporate advert for the full spectrum of services offered by British Rail, made even better by using Auden's Night Mail poem originally written for one of BR's predecessor companies, the LMS.
When the lying liars of the last Tory government (you may recognise them – they’re often the same lying liars in the present Tory government) decided to smash the world’s most economically efficient railway company into 137 pieces for reasons of ideology and vindictiveness, one of the lies they told was that British Rail had been poor at marketing the railway.
So here’s proof that, while BR did have its faults, poor marketing was never one of them.
So I discovered the video camera function on my phone, pointed it out of the window and now take you on a journey from Menin to Wervik (edited for sanity reasons) so you too can pretend you’ve been to Belgium too! See what I do for my readers?
As a bonus, I’ve included the return working of the train passing near Zillibeke at the end.