Title ID 8399Collection ID1189
TitleTrain Entering and Exiting Tunnel
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Transport
KeywordsTrains Transport Railways
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionCecil Hepworth
DirectorCecil Hepworth
FormatBlack & White Silent
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film by Cecil Hepworth shot from the front of a train as it enters and leaves a tunnel in 1899.


The film opens with a stationary shot of a train exiting a tunnel, moving towards the camera. The camera starts to inch forward along the tracks, the footage shot from the front of another train to show the driver's point of view. The train and camera enter the dark tunnel. The film closes as the train emerges, shot from the driver's point of view once more.

Contextual information

The central scene of George Albert Smith's The Kiss in the Tunnel (1899) was spliced into Hepworth's Train Entering and Exiting a Tunnel (1899) to create a sense of continuity and sequential narrative.

"Phantom rides" were films shot from moving trains, presenting the viewer with the point of view of the driver at the front of the train, moving forwards while sitting in their seats. The train itself was invisible, unseen to the audience. The Haverstraw Tunnel (1897) was American film's first phantom ride. The concept was adopted by British cinema in the next two years. A phantom ride through a tunnel provides an exiting experience in itself. For Smith, the phantom ride also provided the opportunity to present narrative action, splicing a studio scene set inside the train between its movement into blackness and emergence from the other side.

Related titles

Related resources


Hepworth, Cecil. Came the Dawn: Memories of a Film Pioneer n.p. London: Phoenix House

Date: 1951 Autobiography by Cecil Hepworth.

Barnes, John. The Beginnings of the Cinema in England 1894-1901. Five Volumes, n.p. University of Exeter Press

Date: 1996-1998 All five volumes of John Barnes’s archaeological study of early cinema charts its development between 1894 and 1901. Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography with his brother William in the 1960s. The collection provided primary material for Barnes’s study of early cinema.

Low, Rachael. The History of the British Film 1906-1914. n.p. London: Allen and Unwin

Date: 1973 Volumes 1-4 contain material on Hepworth and his films.

Gifford, Denis. “Fitz: The Old Man of the Screen.” in Charles Barr (ed.) All Our Yesterdays

Date: 1986


BFI National Archive, British Film Institute, London

Holds copies of many Hepworth films.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

BFI National Archive copy kept on file SASE 950000.


BFI Screenonline: Cecil Hepworth

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Lewin Fitzhamon

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Percy Stow

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: Cecil Hepworth

Provides biographical overview and further reading.

Hepworth Films

Website dedicated to the life and work of Cecil Hepworth, includes information on his ‘film stars’, such as Alma Taylor and Chrissie White.