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By Peter Thorpe on

James Bond 007 lets the train take the strain

There are over 1.5 million photographs in our collection but it's not all trains—there are many road vehicles too.

It’s no surprise that so many cars crop up in relation to the railways, 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.

James Bond Aston Martin DB5 being loaded onto the Daytime Anglo Scottish Car Carrier at the Caledonian Road loading bay. (Liverpool St PM227)
James Bond Aston Martin at Caledonian Road Loading bay (Liverpool St PM231)

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.

7 comments on “James Bond 007 lets the train take the strain

  1. Lovely set of photos, thanks. At the Monkwearmouth Station museum Sidings building, there is a similar recently restored rail vehicle complete with contemporary 1964 Rover 110 saloon car inside – on loan from the National Motor Museum. Its worth noting that many European rail companies still run these type of services


  2. This vehicle was used as the “road car” in Goldfinger, and the gadgets were only added later by Aston Martin, for the opening scene of Thunderball. It was bought for £12,000 from AM by American DJ and criminologist Jerry Lewis in 1969.

    He sold it at auction in 2010 for £2.9M, the proceeds going to his charitable foundation.

  3. This is what we need, now – an extension to the Le Shuttle. Forget Folkatone to Calais, how about Stevenage (north of London) to Chateleroux, south of Paris?

  4. We actually still have a Motorail like service in Finland. It connects the three principal cities in the south of the country (Helsinki, Turku, Tampere) to the northern city of Oulu and several stations in Lapland. The wagons are attached to the overnight sleeper services, and so it is usual to buy a combined car+berth ticket. As a result, the sleeper trains are typically 14 vehicles behind one electric locomotive.

    The service seems to be popular and profitable enough that when the land occupied by the Helsinki terminal was required for a new building project, a new terminal was built at Pasila, the next station up. So currently the sleepers pull into Pasila yard after taking on passengers at Pasila station, and the car wagons are attached there. Previously, the car wagons were shunted into the platform before the rest of the train.

  5. Yes, the DB5 was sold for 2,9 millions. But the vehicle initially was estimated at 3,5 millions. Nevertheless, a nice increase in value…..

    1. Yes, I saw that auction and the auctioneer completely ruined it by accepting a bogus bid, which seemed to totally throw him off his stride, Embarrassing to watch at the time. The auctioneer went to pieces and never really recovered the situation which spoilt the flow and the selling of that DB5

  6. In Germany car-trains still exit. Recently my parents drove to Spain and took a overnight car-train (DB Autoreisezug) from Frankfurt to the south of France. Not cheap but comfortable.

    Thanks for the old pics of the Bond Aston Martin and the train!

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