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The Night Ferry was introduced on 5th October 1936 by the Southern Railway and the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord. Following nationalisations on both sides of La Manche it was operated by British Railways and SNCF until its final trip in 1980.


The train used stock built especially for the British loading gauge by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Uniquely for Anglo-French traffic, the coaches were actually carried across the Channel by ferry, chained to four parallel tracks. The complexity of this operation made the train a poor timekeeper.

It was the only service of the Southern Railway to be regularly double-headed, with a Bulleid Pacific and E1 or L class 4-4-0 locomotives.

This 1953 BR poster (artwork by Barber) describes the timetable. It left Victoria (usually platform 2) at 21:00, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord at 09:00 the next morning.

The train features in the 1965 classic spy film, The Ipcress File. Harry Palmer tries to escape the country on The Night Ferry after an American agent is found dead in his flat.


Keywords: Southern Railway; Night Ferry; poster; cross-Channel; Chemin de Fer du Nord; 1953; Barber; Ipcress File; Victoria Station; Gare du Nord; London; Londres; Paris; British Railways; Harry Palmer; timetable

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