Dir: Omid Nooshin
Starring: Dougray Scott and Kara Tointon
A small group of everyday passengers trapped on a speeding train battle their warped driver who has a dark plan for everyone onboard
This modern-day suspense thriller centres around a train driver who is hell bent on murder suicide, and takes place on a fictitious train running between London and Tunbridge Wells. The identity of the driver and his motivations for committing a murder-suicide are left unknown throughout. The film was generally well received, with some good ‘cause and effect’ scenarios, though the completed movie doesn’t quite work and it lacks serious bite with several weak characters and even weaker links. The film was set onboard two Class 421 4 CIG EMU carriages, vehicle numbers 76747 (a DTC) and 62385 (an MBSO), from unit 1399, and painted in mock Connex livery. Despite being part of an electric train, artistic licence was taken and the carriages were portrayed as diesel powered for the purpose of the story line. The film is presumably set when ‘slam door’ trains were still in service. The two Class 421 carriages were delivered to Shepperton Studios and mounted on off-set hydraulic rams. Instead of using the more common technique of green screen to create the illusion of movement outside the train’s windows, Nooshin designed a six-screen system of rear projection, maintaining a near 360 degree view, something only now viable with digital projectors. Some sequences, however, required a more complex combination of techniques. The ‘train surfing’ scene towards the end of the film was shot in four different locations over six months, the main bulk on Shepperton’s ‘H’ Stage, pick-ups on Pinewood’s Bond Stage, and on the Bluebell Railway, who are owners of a similar Class 423 4 VEP unit, along with background plates shot from a freight train. The Last Passenger production team visited the Kent & East Sussex Railway in November 2011 to shoot the carriage fire scenes at the end of the film. The level crossing crash scene was filmed using CGI, but the location used was Milford, in Surrey, a bit of a distance from the Hastings route on which the train was supposedly running. Milford station also appears in a later scene, masquerading as ‘Crowhurst’. The train displays Headcode 74, which on the South Eastern section would be either a Charing Cross-Gravesend or Maidstone West via Bexleyheath service, or a Victoria-Dover Western Docks via Herne Hill and Chatham service. However, in the tunnel scene, passengers trapped on the train cannot alight due to the narrowness of the tunnels preventing the doors from opening. This is clearly aimed at replicating the restricted width tunnels on the Hastings line, although they are now single track and this would not have been a problem for the passengers. Guildford station was used for several scenes and the opening credits feature a cab ride at night on the Great Western mainline passing through stations in the following order: Reading, Taplow, Twyford, Goring & Streatley, Maidenhead and Slough. HST sets pass in this sequence and a Class 165 ‘Turbo’ is seen at Reading, in the old east facing bay platform 6. There are plenty of other night scenes in the film that show the train moving around various locations, but the train is entirely a CGI creation as it is a three-car unit. The large station in which the runaway train passes through remains, as yet, unidentified. Due to the complexity of the scenes, only those that largely show the train in identifiable locations will be shown below.