The Best Train Themed Films and Tip Videos To Watch Over the 2020 Christmas Break

Classic Christmas TV: It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard and Love Actually.

They’re my watch films during the holidays but if you have some more spare time between now and the New Year these are my eight fave train films and YouTube model railway tip vids to watch over a festive drink or two.

The all time classic films to watch while your Christmas tree train carries the presents to lucky people in your household.

Trains Films & TV

The Titfield Thunderbolt 

If you’re a heritage train nut like me this 1953 film is a must see (the Thunderbolt loco seem in the film was none other than the Lion, one of the earliest British locomotives) but it’s also a charming, hugely, entertaining comedy in its own right.

Fun facts, the writer was a neighbour of famous one Richard Beeching, chairman of British Railways and author of the The Reshaping of British Railways which resulted in 4,000 route miles of railways being cut for cost and efficiency.

It’s available via Amazon Prime.

The Lady Vanishes

Just read the reviews.

The Guardian call the film “one of the greatest train movies from the genre’s golden era“, and a contender for the “title of best comedy thriller ever made” and it consistently ranks among the best British films of all time.

Made in 1938, it’s a British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and although black and white captures the attention all the way through with suspense and action set almost entirely in and around a train.

Interesting fact: although receiving two Golden Globes and being nominated five times for an Academy Award for Best Director, the Lady Vanishes was the only film for which Hitchcock received an award for his directing.

Available on Amazon Prime.

Railways: The Making of a Nation

A fascinating documentary on how Britain’s rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and continuing through to modern times. Along with trains, I’m a bit of a sociology geek and this scores points on both interests.

Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways

I watched this when it was first broadcast in 2013 and enjoyed it so much I’ve regularly watched since. Dan Snow’s series looks at the developments around the railways themselves as opposed to their impact on society that The Making of a Nation covered. My favourite is episode 1 which looks at the early years of railways and the technological developments.

Available from the BBC. Link here.

Mince Pies and Model Railways

When everyone else is sleeping, or watching THEIR choice of festive film, the days between and New Year are a great time to get some quality time on the layout but before disappearing grab your headphones and stick these YouTube videos on for some inspiring tips.

Top Tops To Save Time

Making a Scene from Everard Junction

Track Laying from Moorway South

Model Train Wheel Servicing from OO Sams Trains

I’ll be covering wheel cleaning in a post coming up so come back soon if this is a subject you’re interested in.

Hope you enjoy these model railway tips, railway documentary programmes and train films. Which is your favourite?

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.  
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.
  1. Hi Andy

    I’m thinking of setting up a Hornby oo model railway in my garage, can you advise if I will have any problems regarding cold temperatures in winter. Thanks Barry.

    • Hi Barry! Good to hear from you again! It’s certainly a possibility but I know lots of modellers who have great layouts in garages and sheds (which will have similar issues) without problem. I’d insulate it and have a water proof layer of paint on the inside walls and perhaps have an electric heater for the coldest winter days. Andy

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