I can do no better than quote from a review in the “Sunday Times”. …a beautiful piece of radio with the grasp and emotional power of a good film documentary. I wish I had more space to dwell on the facilities of this picture of British railways under the stress of war; the complicated interlocking organization, the superficial “flap” the fundamental calm. Little as I know about railways “Junction “X” rings true; furthermore it is grand entertainment and first rate propaganda for the man on the platform. Such a feature demands not one but several repeats”.
Set in 1944 in the run up to “D-Day” it portrays 12 hours in the life of one overstretched division of an overstretched network. There are no bombs raining down – there is but one bomb but that at a bad place and time. At the morning telephone conference with HQ and his fellow Divisional Superintendents Mr. Fairbank gets bad news which throws the Divisional Plan for the day – to clear a backlog of thousands of loaded wagons unable to move because of shortages of locomotives and crews – into chaos. Careful plans for trains of carriages, some of which are already in the move, to be at a certain port to collect disembarking troops are now superseded, as the troopship is docking elsewhere. Worse, an express freight train of bombs and shells destined for a third port, which had to be carefully threaded through the normal passenger service was now required to run four hours earlier as the ship it was loading had to take an earlier tide to meet a convoy.
At 10-30pm that evening both men on their weary way home after a 14 hour day meet on the station footbridge.
Gordon “All right now, sir… The road’s clear now sir”.
Firbank “Good man …Gordon… Gordon you are a good railwayman.
Gordon “Thank you sir
Only those who have been involved with railway operating will appreciate the significance of that, the biggest possible compliment.
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