There are over 1.5 million photographs in our collection and there are quite a lot of images of road vehicles amongst them. That isn’t a surprise, as railway companies have always operated large numbers of vehicles for purposes such as local delivery of goods.
However I can’t think of any others that feature such a glamorous vehicle than the one in this set of photographs.
These photos are part of a set of images taken by the British Rail Eastern Region Public Relations & Publicity Department in August 1965 to promote the Anglo Scottish Car Carrier service. They feature the iconic Aston Martin DB5 from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, complete with bulletproof screen, machine guns and other gadgets. (Although it would have been pretty inadvisable to operate most of these gadgets whilst on board the train – especially the ejector seat!)
British Railways started its car carrier services in 1955, as part of a strategy to reduce the impact from the growing use of private motor cars for long distance travel. Travellers could load their cars on at various loading bays, and then be transported in comfort in attached carriages and arrive refreshed at their destination with their car without having to drive hundreds of miles. It was a quite useful service at a time when the motorway network was at an early stage of development.
Car Carrier services were available on a range of routes, and on some, overnight sleeper services were also provided. There was even a Manchester to Boulogne service via Dover (ideal for secret agents heading on foreign assignments!). Later these services were marketed as ‘Motorail’ and BR continued to run them until the mid 1990s when they finally ceased operation.