Trivia: Fictional Railways in Media

Sorcerer

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Wasn't sure where else to post this so I hope the mods will forgive me if I have chosen the wrong part of the forums. That said, can you name any examples of fictional railway lines, stations or services in any form of media, be that books, comics, films or television shows? An obvious example on my end would be pretty much the entire infrastructure in The Railway Series books by the Reverend W. Awdry, be that the North Western Railway, the Skarloey Railway or the Culdee Fell Railway. A less obvious example though would be something such as the fictional train service running from Switzerland to Montenegro that James Bond takes in Casino Royale (2006) operated by a ČD Class 680 Pendolino trainset that doesn't actually operate on the route in real life. I look forward to seeing all your examples.
 
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Gloster

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John Snell, best known for managing the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch, wrote a novel called Jennie about the life and death of a narrow-gauge line in north Wales. Jennie is a loco that is central to the story.
 

Galvanize

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Buggleskelly in “Oh Mr Porter”, set in Northern Ireland not far from the border with the Republic Of Ireland.

Nearby you had Bracken Junction and then the abandoned line through Pooker Hill.
 

Gloster

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There were, if I remember correctly, several fictional Underground stations in the works of Michael Gilbert. My recollection is of those in the Petrella books, but there may have been others.
 

Calthrop

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In Bhowani Junction by John Masters -- one of his series of historical novels with as setting, the span of the period of British rule in India: most of the leading characters are railway workers and their families, mostly "Anglo-Indians" of mixed race -- a community which was for long very prominent in rail-related work in India. The eponymous (fictional) Bhowani lies, from the context, clearly south of Delhi: the fictional "Delhi Deccan Railway" on which it is an important centre, is pretty strongly identifiable with the real-world Great Indian Peninsula Railway. Bhowani Junction is the final novel in the series: set at the end of British rule just after World War II.

Buggleskelly in “Oh Mr Porter”, set in Northern Ireland not far from the border with the Republic Of Ireland.

On the system, if I recall correctly, of the fictional "Southern Railway of Northern Ireland" -- a name irresistible to coin, I suppose, as an example of the legendarily bonkers Irish way of putting things -- and maybe something of a nod to the at the time film was made, real-world -- and highly efficient and serious -- Southern Railway which did its stuff in England.
 

Sorcerer

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Going back to the James Bond series, Vauxhall Cross is a fictional abandoned Piccadilly Line tube station used by the Q Branch of MI6 in Die Another Die to show off the Aston Martin. Though it's usage and name would seem to position it close to the SIS Headquarters, the entrance Bond uses is actually two kilometres away at the south-east end of Westminster Bridge.
 

EbbwJunction1

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The Great Northern and Southern Railway is the basis of the services in The Railway Children. The GWR Pannier 5775 (L89) has recently been repainted in the livery of the company, and is in the Exhibition Shed at Oxenhope.
 

Magdalia

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I am a big fan of the 1976 disaster movie The Cassandra Crossing. This is set on a fictional train journey from Geneva to Stockholm. The train is put into quarantine on a disused branch line in Germany, where the bridge called the Cassandra Crossing is located, though the Cassandra Crossing bridge in the film is actually the Viaduc du Garabit in France.
In Bhowani Junction by John Masters -- one of his series of historical novels with as setting, the span of the period of British rule in India: most of the leading characters are railway workers and their families, mostly "Anglo-Indians" of mixed race -- a community which was for long very prominent in rail-related work in India. The eponymous (fictional) Bhowani lies, from the context, clearly south of Delhi: the fictional "Delhi Deccan Railway" on which it is an important centre, is pretty strongly identifiable with the real-world Great Indian Peninsula Railway. Bhowani Junction is the final novel in the series: set at the end of British rule just after World War II.
I have a vague recollection of a serialisation of this on the radio, probably in the early 1970s. I ought to track down a copy of the book. There is a film version from 1956.

And there's a link between these two films as Ava Gardner featured in both.
 

61653 HTAFC

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If I recall correctly, there was a railway linking Chigley with Trumpton and Camberwick Green.

Denton, the fictional city where David Jason's detective Jack Frost worked, had a mainline station. Wakefield Westgate was used for filming.
 

D6130

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On the system, if I recall correctly, of the fictional "Southern Railway of Northern Ireland" -- a name irresistible to coin, I suppose, as an example of the legendarily bonkers Irish way of putting things -- and maybe something of a nod to the at the time film was made, real-world -- and highly efficient and serious -- Southern Railway which did its stuff in England.
Ironically, the film was shot on a disused branch line of the highly-efficient Southern Railway in England; the Basingstoke and Alton line, on which Cliddesden station took the part of Buggleskelly.
I have a vague recollection of a serialisation of this on the radio, probably in the early 1970s. I ought to track down a copy of the book. There is a film version from 1956.
The film 'Bhowani Junction' was shot on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire....as was 'The Great St Trinians Train Robbery' ten years later. The former featured class 8F 2-8-0s and Austerity 2-10-0s dressed-up with cow catchers and big headlights to represent Indian locos. The latter featured a pair of Austerity 0-6-0 saddletanks and a 3H (later class 205) DEMU.

The 1953 Ealing comedy 'The Titfield Thunderbolt' was filmed on the ex-GWR Camerton and Limpley Stoke line in North Somerset, which had closed a couple of years earlier. It featured the preserved Liverpool & Manchester Railway loco 'Lion' from 1830 and Titfield station was in reality Monkton Combe. The opening sequence showed the decrepit branch line train ambling under the Somerset & Dorset's Midford viaduct and the triumphal grand finale featured Bristol Temple Meads masquerading as 'Mallingford'.
 

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The late John Huntley produced a couple of books about railways on film, TV, etc. I think the last was the 1993 Railways on Screen which attempted to list all such appearances. Each entry has a few details about the film and a summing up of the railway interest.
 

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The 1970s children's TV series 'The Flockton Flyer' concerned a preserved line which ran from 'Flockton' to 'Lane End'. I think it was filmed on the West Somerset Railway and mainly featured pannier tank 6412.
 

Calthrop

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I am a big fan of the 1976 disaster movie The Cassandra Crossing. This is set on a fictional train journey from Geneva to Stockholm. The train is put into quarantine on a disused branch line in Germany, where the bridge called the Cassandra Crossing is located, though the Cassandra Crossing bridge in the film is actually the Viaduc du Garabit in France.

I have a vague recollection of a serialisation of this on the radio, probably in the early 1970s. I ought to track down a copy of the book. There is a film version from 1956.

And there's a link between these two films as Ava Gardner featured in both.
Ironically, the film was shot on a disused branch line of the highly-efficient Southern Railway in England; the Basingstoke and Alton line, on which Cliddesden station took the part of Buggleskelly.


The film 'Bhowani Junction' was shot on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire....as was 'The Great St Trinians Train Robbery' ten years later. The former featured class 8F 2-8-0s and Austerity 2-10-0s dressed-up with cow catchers and big headlights to represent Indian locos.

Anyone so computer-inept as myself tends to have the trouble from hell, with RailUKforums' quoting mechanism -- the slightest mis-step tends to plunge one right into chaos. As above (contrary to what is seemingly being said there): "I am a big..." to "in both" is quoted from @Magdalia's post. "Ironically ..." to "Indian locos", is quoted from @D6130's subsequent one (attributed above, to @Magdalia).

Answering @Magdalia -- concerning Bhowani Junction and "I ought to track down a copy of the book": I'd reckon it, a grand read. I enjoyed all of Masters's "Raj era" novels: Bhowani Junction admittedly the most, with its railway background. I confess also to liking Bhowani Junction for the fact that it isn't the glamour-boy who ultimately gets the girl; but the ordinary, average, slightly twittish guy.

Answering @D6130 re the film "Bhowani Junction": I admit to being a terrible purist and snob -- but my reaction to location and loco-type cast re shooting of the film, as described -- is, frankly, "Oh, dear God" -- and a resolve never to see the film !

Will you take radio programmes? "Parsley Sidings", not the funniest ever BBC comedy. I have no idea where it's supposed to be set.

There's a thread on "General Discussion", commencing 17 / 12 / 2018, about this very programme and where it might have been set; from context, one gathers, north of London and essentially on the LMS system -- though one poster on that thread nominates as a possibility, Woodford Halse. I opined on the thread, that the name -- and approximate location? -- maybe suggested by the real-life Parsley Hay station: on the Rocester -- Ashbourne -- Buxton line (passenger service withdrawn 1954): point of divergence of that line, and the Cromford & High Peak freight-only route.

I've never been an "Archers" fan; but have gathered that that programme's Ambridge was at one time, the terminus of a branch line from Hollerton Junction: closed in the first half of the 1960s under Beeching -- the controversy over that matter having featured on the show at the time, with its policy of bringing in genuine relevant current-affairs matters, as well as the characters' personal lives.
 

Magdalia

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Anyone so computer-inept as myself tends to have the trouble from hell, with RailUKforums' quoting mechanism -- the slightest mis-step tends to plunge one right into chaos. As above (contrary to what is seemingly being said there): "I am a big..." to "in both" is quoted from @Magdalia's post. "Ironically ..." to "Indian locos", is quoted from @D6130's subsequent one (attributed above, to @Magdalia).
You have my sympathy, I also struggle with this! Two things I've discovered that help me are the undo button and that when I highlight the required text a little dialog box pops up that allows me to select quote.

The film 'Bhowani Junction' was shot on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire
Getting back to the topic, this reminds me of another film, which I've not seen, where the action purports to take place in Asia. That's The Virgin Soldiers, a 1969 film based on a 1966 book by Leslie Thomas. This includes a train crash where scenes shot in Malaya/Malaysia are spliced in with scenes filmed on the disused railway at Bartlow near Haverhill, using Black 5 loco 44871 and some ex LMS coaches. The full story can be found on the disused stations website. While I think I've got the hang of quoting forum messages, I'm still a complete incompetent at quoting from external sources, so I won't even try!
 

Ianigsy

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If I recall correctly, there was a railway linking Chigley with Trumpton and Camberwick Green.

To quote Half Man Half Biscuit:

Time flies by when you’re a driver of a train
Speeding out of Trumpton with a cargo of cocaine
I get high when I’m the pilot of a plane
Touching down in Camberwick I’m stoned out of my brain

Under bridges, over bridges, to our destination
Careful with that spliff Eugene, it causes condensation
 

Sorcerer

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Will you take radio programmes? "Parsley Sidings", not the funniest ever BBC comedy. I have no idea where it's supposed to be set.
Yes, radio programmes are good for this thread too in case anyone else wants to cite them as examples. As are video games on the off chance anyone can come up with them. The first example I can think of is the Brown Streak Railroad system in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
 

181

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There must be quite a lot in children's literature, for example:

The Little Red Engne ran on a branch line from Taddlecombe to Dumble: https://booksforkeeps.co.uk/article/classics-in-short-no-22-the-story-of-the-little-red-engine/ (although I'd forgotten the names until I looked it up).

The Horn of Mortal Danger -- secret civilization underneath London where the Railwaymen are bitter enemies of the Canallers.

Come Midnight Monday -- Autralian teenagers try to save a threatened narrow-gauge line (it's the book that I remember, but the Wikipedia page is about the television series which I hadn't previously heard of).

Mr. Bubbus and the Apple Green Engine featured a fictional railway, but I remember very little of it other than the title, and the Internet, while confirming its existence, doesn't add much.

The Train in The Magic Roundabout seemed to get around without any visible rails, so maybe that doesn't count as a fictional railway.

TV sitcom Lame Ducks was filmed at Staverton on the SDR.

Unfortunately this doesn't qualify because Staverton station is a real station and the South Devon Railway is a real railway.
But wouldn't it count if the SDR was being used as a filming location to depict somewhere fictional? Otherwise Oh, Mr. Porter wouldn't count either.

Similarly God's Wonderful Railway wouldn't count because it was set on the real Severn Valley Railway with the real station names, but Oh, Dr. Beeching would.

Wikipedia has a category called Fiction About Rail Transport, but I'm sure it doesn't list everything.
 

Sorcerer

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But wouldn't it count if the SDR was being used as a filming location to depict somewhere fictional? Otherwise Oh, Mr. Porter wouldn't count either.
The topic in question is about fictional railways, railway stations or railway services etc., so having not seen Lame Ducks it would depend whether or not the fictional location itself was a fictional railway station in the universe canon. If it was just used as a filming location it doesn't really count.

Similarly God's Wonderful Railway wouldn't count because it was set on the real Severn Valley Railway with the real station names, but Oh, Dr. Beeching would.
This would most definitely not count because, as you said, it was set on a real railway with real station names. If there was a fictional station or even a fictional service somewhere along the line it would count.
 

Calthrop

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There must be quite a lot in children's literature, for example:

The Little Red Engne ran on a branch line from Taddlecombe to Dumble: https://booksforkeeps.co.uk/article/classics-in-short-no-22-the-story-of-the-little-red-engine/ (although I'd forgotten the names until I looked it up).

The Horn of Mortal Danger -- secret civilization underneath London where the Railwaymen are bitter enemies of the Canallers.

Come Midnight Monday -- Autralian teenagers try to save a threatened narrow-gauge line (it's the book that I remember, but the Wikipedia page is about the television series which I hadn't previously heard of).

Mr. Bubbus and the Apple Green Engine featured a fictional railway, but I remember very little of it other than the title, and the Internet, while confirming its existence, doesn't add much.

All hitherto unknown to me -- has me feeling that perhaps I had a deprived childhood :frown: ...

In the library at my preparatory school, over sixty years ago: there was a fairish amount of railway material (the headmaster, though in many ways an unlikeable character, was a railway enthusiast). I recall (less clearly than I would wish) one particular book -- an anthology of numerous rail-related short stories; alas, I have no memory of book's title, or any other details about it which might help in rediscovering it. I delighted in many of the stories therein -- recall a variety of fictional lines / railway companies dreamed-up by the assorted authors. There comes to mind therein: a tale of mild bucolic roguery and carryings-on, on the "London and Home Counties Railway" 's Wandle Valley branch from Templeton Junction to Barnstead. Another, concerning 1950s British Railways doings: a rural West Country branch, clearly ex-GWR, to a place called Lambertsbury; the line scheduled for closure as uneconomic -- but enlightened persons within the BR managerial structure, have a change of heart which prompts them to keep it running as potential tourist-bait and "earnest of goodwill" to local users (this, if anything, would seem the ultimate in "cloud-cuckoo-land" !).

Another story in this book -- titled TPO ("Travelling Post Office"): Scottish setting: on a "might-have-been" route which for purposes of the story, "is" -- alternative way from the south to Inverness, via the Great Glen and the shores of Loch Ness. Set on an overnight mail train on this line, with the postal sorters scratching their heads over various not-very-literate, and deliberately cryptic, addresses on sundry items. Interruption occurs, in the shape of an inept and quickly-thwarted attempt at robbery. And yet another; a tale from the numerous published, set in the shortly-pre-World War I and -succeeding-round-of-the-Irish "Troubles", era: Irish Resident Magistrate humorous short stories by Somerville and Ross. Later in life, I tried more of these tales by these authors; and found that for my tastes, a little of them went a very long way. The particular story in the anthology in question charmed me, though; involving as it did: the frustrating and exasperating experiences of an English visitor to Ireland, on a rather traumatic overnight rail journey on the fictionally pre-1925, "Munster & Connaught Railway": operated -- as one might guess re general perceptions of that stretch of Ireland -- with less-than-exemplary competence and efficiency.

I would give a lot -- maybe not to the extremes of melodrama -- to be able have a copy of that book nowadays in my possession.
 

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All hitherto unknown to me -- has me feeling that perhaps I had a deprived childhood :frown: ...
I think three of those four hadn't yet been written when you were of an age to be among the target readership (and if you feel deprived by having been born too soon, I think the real railway system of your formative years probably makes up for it :smile:).

There comes to mind therein: a tale of mild bucolic roguery and carryings-on, on the "London and Home Counties Railway" 's Wandle Valley branch from Templeton Junction to Barnstead
I think I've found that one here: https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.93820/2015.93820.The-Second-Century-Of-Humour_djvu.txt. I Googled the station names that you mentioned, and that was the one page that came up. It appears to be the full text of a different (mostly not railway-themed) anthology incuding the story that you mention -- A Chain of Circumstance by W. A. Darlington, beginning about a third of the way down the page. (I think it's been scanned from a printed copy, hence the numerous apparent typos).
 

Merthyr Imp

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I haven't looked this up to check the details, but at the beginning of the Arthur Ransome children's story 'Swallowdale' there's a brief description of the 'Swallows' arriving by train at the lake ahead of their latest adventure.

As the lake in the 'Swallows & Amazons' stories is a composite of Lake Windermere and Coniston Water the branch line they travel on can't be said to be either the Windermere or Coniston lines so must be fictional.
 

Western Sunset

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Fal Vale Junction, down in Cornwall in "The Ghost Train". The bridge being the one at Barmouth. Also the fictitious station in the Miss Marple "4.50 from Paddington". There was also a station in one of the Avengers (with John Steed and Mrs Peel) set on the then recently electrified WCML.
 
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