Murder on the Victorian Railway

Murder on the Victorian Railway


Blameless banker and upright citizen Thomas Briggs secured a sad little niche in history as the victim of the first murder committed on a British train. This documentary (first shown in 2014), using court testimony, statements and newspaper accounts spoken by actors, pieces together the police investigation that led to the hanging of a young German tailor.

It’s an absorbing crime story dappled by elements of social history and anyone who enjoyed The Suspicions of Mr Whicher will be rapt by the details of the inquiry, led by an ambitious young Scotland Yard detective. Mr Briggs was beaten, robbed of his watch chain then thrown from his first-class carriage on the North London Railway on to the track near Hackney Wick in London on 9 July 1864. His murder transfixed a population still coming to terms with the arrival of the railways.


Drama-documentary examining the death of banker Thomas Briggs in July 1864, which was the first murder to be committed on a British train. The film uses testimonies from court transcripts, memoirs, letters and newspaper reports to tell the story of the crime through those connected to it, including engine driver Alfred Ekin - who found the body - and Richard Tanner, the detective in charge of the investigation. It also explores the huge public outcry and debate it provoked. Narrated by Toby Jones.