It is 1951, and the 8.45 from Bristol to Paddington is preparing to leave. Albert, the driver - whose father and grandfather before him worked on the railway - says goodbye to his wife with mixed feelings. Their seeming inability to have a child has overshadowed their happy marriage. Jenny, clumsy but loveable, longs to make a success of her job in the restaurant car, where she attracts the interest of Marvin, the steward. The passengers - some regulars on the line, others making a rare visit to London - settle down for the journey. Some talk and get to know each other, some while away the journey working or sleeping. But as they near their destination, disaster strikes...