The LNER in Books, Film, and TV

LNER locations, locomotives, and rolling stock have appeared in a wide variety of fictional books, films, and TV. This page attempts to list all such occurrences, with short comments and major mistakes.

Documentaries are deliberately excluded. Due to a number of titles appearing in multiple formats and remakes, the titles are ordered in alphabetical order. This ensures that all versions of the same story are listed together (eg. The 39 Steps).

This page will always be a work in progress. Corrections, additions, and extra information should be posted on the LNER at the Movies thread in the LNER Encyclopedia forum. I will then copy changes and updates across at regular intervals.

The 39 Steps (1935)

Richard Donat; Dir. Alfred Hitchcock; loosely based on the book by John Buchan.

Richard Donat plays Hannay who escapes from London on the Flying Scotsman. This is seen leaving King's Cross hauled by A1/A3 Pacific No. 2595 Trigo. Hannay departs the train after pulling the chord in the vicinity of the Forth Bridge.

The book is set about 20 years earlier, immediately prior to the outbreak of World War 1. Hannay escapes via the West Coast Route to the Scottish Borders.

Mistake: The engine is initially an A1/A3 Pacific, which is correct for the route and time period, but it turns into a GWR 4-6-0 (No. 6000 King George V?) when seen leaving a tunnel.

Forth Bridge still from 1959 Kenneth More version of 'The 39 Steps' Forth Bridge still from 1959 Kenneth More version of 'The 39 Steps'

The 39 Steps (1959)

Kenneth More; Barry Jones; Dir. Ralph Thomas; remake of the 1935 version

There are some nice, atmospheric shots taken at Waverley as Hannay joins a northbound express hauled by an A4 Pacific. Featured A4s are: No. 60024 Kingfisher, No. 60012 Commonwealth of Australia, and No. 60027 Merlin. His attempt to persuade the Police that he is a newly-wed fails when his "wife" rebuts his advances, so he opens the compartment door and climbs along the outside of the train. An express hauled by A1 No. 60147 North Eastern on the up line nearly swipes him (don't try this at home, kids). The pursuing Police stop the train, which is by now in the cantilever section of the Forth Bridge.

Hannay eventually escapes through an inspection hatch in the four-foot and, scrambling over steelwork high above the Forth, makes his perilous way down to South Queensferry.

Agatha (1978)

Vanessa Redgrave; Dustin Hoffman; Dir. Michael Apted.

York station is disguised as Harrogate with A3 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman (also disguised as No. 4474 and No. 4480).

Billy Liar (1963)

Tom Courtenay; Julie Christie; Dr. John Schlesinger; based on a book by Keith Waterhouse.

Although most of the filming was in and around Bradford, Marlyebone stands in for Stradhoughton New Station (a thinly disguised Leeds City).

Carry on Regardless (1960)

Carry on team; Dir. Gerald Thomas.

Some shots on Forth Bridge with A4 Pacifics:

Scene at 50:52 of A4 Pacific No. 4491 (BR No. 60012) charging towards the screen at high speed. Film has been reversed, resulting in a backwards number.

Scene at 51:23 A4 traveling very fast, and in the split second you see it, there looks to be a plaque on the side. The number is probably 14 (Silver Link).

Scene 55:00 on the Forth Bridge, a super-imposed A3 Pacific travelling in the opposite direction.

Scene 55:11 A4 travelling away, but it is too far away to identify.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Ian Charleson, Ben Cross; Dir. Hugh Hudsen

York Station stands in for London Victoria.

Edge-on view of an Ivatt C1 Atlantic with its characteristic wide firebox.

Mistake: The stand-in for Cambridge is a very poor stand-in. Until recently, Cambridge station was unusual due to it being only on one side of the main tracks and there were no pedestrian bridges. The stand-in is a traditional design with platforms on both sides and a pedestrian bridge.

A Chorus of Disapproval (1988)

One of the main characters arrives at Scarborough by train near the start of the film.

The Citadel (1938)

Most of the railway footage is of GWR trains in South Welsh valleys, but there is a shot of a J15 pulling into an unidentified station.

Clockwise (1986)

John Cleese

Hull Paragon (masquerading as Norwich?). Appears near the start of the film where John Cleese gets on the wrong train.

Dr Finlay's Casebook - TV series (original version)

An early episode features J36 No. 65345 painted in NBR livery, pulling in to Tannochbrae.

The Flying Scotsman (1930)

Moore Marriott; Ray Millard; Pauline Johnson; Dir. Castleton Knight.

A1 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman at a number of East Coast Main Line locations and Hertford Loop.

For Them That Trespass (1948)

Stephen Murray, Patricia Plunkett. Dir. Cavalcanti.

Scenes at Welwyn Tunnel.

The Gentle Sex (1943)

SR Class N15 No. 771 Sir Saramore turns into B17 No. 2848 Arsenal en route. The shot of Arsenal is reportedly re-used in a variety of films.

Get Carter (1971)

Michael Caine, Britt Eckland. Dir. Mike Hodges

Features a Deltic-headed express from London to Newcastle, including various shots along the route and the final arrival in Newcastle station.

The Great St. Trinians Train Robbery (1966)

Frankie Howerd, George Cole. Dir. Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder.

Features two WD Austerity Saddletanks, one of which has been modified with dummy sidetanks. Both are War Department locomtoives that never served with either the LNER or BR. However, WD196 Errol Lonsdale masquerades as ex-LNER J94 No. 68011. The film was filmed on the Longmoor Military Railway.

The Harry Potter Films (2001-)

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman

Platform 9 3/4 is located at Kings Cross of course. The line to Hogwarts Castle is mainly filmed along the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig. Glenfinnan Viaduct features prominently in many of the films. Goathland Station (on the modern North Yorkshire Moors Railway) appears as Hogsmeade Station in the first film (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone).

Mistake: J.K.Rowling intended Platform 9 3/4 to be located in the famous (original GNR) part of the station usually reserved for long distance express services. However, the real platforms 9 & 10 are located in the smaller suburban/commuter part of the station to the west. The films locate Platform 9 3/4 in the intended part of the station.

Happy Ever After (1954)

David Niven, Yvonne de Carlo, George Cole. Dir. Mario Zampa.

Buntingford branch with J15 No. 65464.

Holiday Camp (1947)

Jack Warner. Dir Ken Annakin.

Whitby to Scarborough LNER train hauled by a tank engine arrives at Sandsend The main parts of the film were shot at Butlin's Filey, which had its own station on the landward side, Sandsend was probably chosen because it was at the seaside.

The Holly and the Ivy (1952)

Features Liverpool Street station and at least one F6.

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1959)

Ingrid Bergman, Curd Jurgens. Dir. Mark Robson.

The opening titles are shown over a backdrop of Liverpool Street station viewed from the city end. During this sequence, Bergmann alights from a suburban train hauled by N7 No. 69665.

Mistake: A lot of the rolling stock has BR numbers despite the film being set in the 1930s.

The Ipcress File (1965)

Michael Caine, Nigel Green. Dir. Sidney J. Furie.

The opening scenes were filmed in Marylebone station.

It Always Rains On Sunday (1947)

John McCallum, Jack Warner. Dir. Robert Hamer.

Temple Mills with J39 0-6-0, J69 0-6-0T, 8591 and 8607.

I Was Monty�s Double (1958)

John Mills, Cecil Parker. Dir. John Guillermin.

B17 No. 61606 arrives Liverpool Street.

Knight Without Armour (1937)

Robert Donat, Marlene Dietrich. Dir. Jacques Feyder.

J15 0-6-0 Nos. 7835 & 7541 at Longmoor and Denham. Both were sold by the LNER in September 1936 and disguised as Russian locomotives for filming.

The Ladykillers (1955)

Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom; Dir. Alexander Mackendrick; Ealing Studios

Virtually all the action occurs in the vicinity of Kings Cross. The house is located over Copenhagen Tunnel. A mockup of the house was used for these shots, but the front of the house is a real house located further south near St. Pancras. There are lots of shots of A3s, V2s, N2s, etc as would be expected in the vicinity of Kings Cross in the 1950s.

The Main in the White Suit (1951)

Alec Guinness. Dir. Alexander Mackendrick; Ealing Studios

Near the end of the film, Stratton (Guinness) attempts to escape town by rail. These scenes were filmed at Brimsdown near Enfield, and includes a Thompson B1.

Number Seventeen (1932)

John Stuart, Anne Gray. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock.

Kings Cross area, Hertford Loop, Doncaster with J15 0-6-0 No. 2547

Oh Mister Porter (1937)

Will Hay, Moore Marriott, Graham Moffat. Dir. Marcel Varnel.

A4 Pacific Silver Link at Kings Cross.

Operation Bullshine (1959)

Donald Sinden, Barbara Murray. Dir. Gilbert Gunn.

Buntingford branch with J15 0-6-0.

Otley (1968)

Tom Courtenay, Romy Schneider, Alan Badel. Dir. Dick Clement.

Many shots along the GCR's London Extension, during the period that it was being closed by BR, including (?) Quainton Road.

Overlord (1975)

Includes a double-headed J20 tank train, and a D16 hauling a heavily laden train.

Over the Moon (1939)

Merle Oberon,Rex Harrison. Dir. Thornton Freeland.

Includes colour footage of B17 No. 2867 Bradford at speed near Denham.

Poirot (1989 onwards)

David Suchet, Hugh Fraser

Animated title sequence includes a silver-liveried A4 Pacific alongside RMS Queen Mary and an Imperial Airways HP 42, to indicate 1930s glamour. Hull Paragon has appeared in the series, dressed up as a Southern Railway terminus.

Postmans Knock (1961)

Spike Milligan, Barbara Shelley. Dir. Robert Lynn.

Buntingford branch with J15 0-6-0 No. 65460.

The Railway Children (1970)

Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Agutter, Bernard Cribbens. Dir. Lionel Jeffries.

Features N2 0-6-2T No. 4744, which was based on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway at the time of filming.

The Railway Children (2000)

Jenny Agutter, Gregor Fisher; Dir. Catherine Moreshead.

Filmed on the Bluebell Railway, but ex-NBR J36 0-6-0 Maude makes a number of appearances.

The Rainbow Jacket (1954)

Kay Walsh, Bill Owen. Dir. Basil Dearden.

Newmarket with Thompson B1. A D16/3 is also featured.

The Sea Shall Not have Them (1954)

Dirk Bogarde, Michael Redgrave. Dir. Lewis Gilbert.

Felixstowe with F6 2-4-2T.

The Silent Passenger (1935)

John Loder, Peter Haddon. Dir. Reginald Denham.

Based at Liverpool Street and Stratford, although Liverpool Street was also used for the Stratford scenes. Features D16/3 No. 8788 and N7/2 No. 2616.

C1 No. 4406 from 'This Above All'

This Above All (1942)

Film is about an aristocratic WAAF who becomes involved with a deserter. Although mostly based on the south coast, there are many railway scenes which appear to be further north. One includes Atlantic C1 No. 4406 leaving a large terminus, possibly Kings Cross.

Time Gentleman Please! (1952)

Entire film is short in Thaxted, including a notable panning shot of the station and yard entirely deserted.

The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)

Stanley Holloway; Dir. Charles Chrichton; Ealing Studios.

Filmed in Somerset and mainly featuring ex-GWR and ex-SR types; however the regular (14xx hauled) train's coach is from the Wisbech and Upwell. Two of this type were built - the other one survives in preservation.

Further Information Required

This page will always be a work in progress. Corrections, additions, and extra information should be posted on the LNER at the Movies thread in the LNER Encyclopedia forum. I will then copy changes and updates across at regular intervals.