Moving Stories - Workshops and Performance

Workshop 4 - Joseph Rowntree School

Have you ever seen a cocktail bar, a hairdressers and a cinema on a train?   Seventy years ago the Flying Scotsman had all three!


Have a look at the poster and leaflets to investigate who might have travelled on these services. Who do you think the posters and leaflets were aimed at?


The 1930s are often referred to as 'The Golden Years' when the four railway companies were providing faster and more sophisticated travel, competing for the most glamorous public image. Artists were employed to create posters advertising excursions, holidays and cheap travel via the railway. Special offers were even made to businessmen who regularly used the services. As other forms of transport were also becoming popular, it was not enough for railway companies to simply offer style and luxury; they now had to compete for speed. Streamlined trains were introduced, such as Mallard and world records for speed were broken.


Although the public image of speed, comfort and style was promoted throughout the 1930s, the railway workers’ conditions were often far from glamorous with low grade jobs, such as shunting, remaining a very exhausting and dangerous job.


Year nine students from Joseph Rowntree School explored this exciting decade by: reading newspaper articles about Mallard’s speed record run of 126 mph; looking at posters to see who might have travelled on the luxurious trains; exploring maps of the Flying Scotsman’s route and examining objects such as a signalman’s lamp and shunting poles, to gain a better understanding of what it was like working on the railways during the Golden Years.


Have a look at the interactive to watch film footage, see more posters advertising the railway services and listen to people talk about working on the railways to help you create a picture of what life and work was like in the 1930s.


To investigate further, try and find some music from this period or explore how different the clothing was in the 1930s.

Document icon Learning article provided by: National Railway Museum | 
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