1hr 36mins
Dir: Philippa Lowthorpe
Starring: Rafe Spall and Kelly Macdonald

Four children plan an outdoor adventure whilst on holiday, and become embroiled in the world of espionage

Although this modern family adventure is based on Arthur Ransome’s book it deviates somewhat from the plot, though it was largely well-received and was quite a refreshing take on the age-old tale. It also features a lot more in the way of railway material than the 1974 original, with some excellent shots filmed on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway using ex-LMS Class 4F 0-6-0 No.43924. The opening sequence has a fairly lengthy scene filmed onboard the train. This starts at Keighley and ends at Oxenhope with some run-bys thrown in and, for good measure, a ‘secret agent’ clinging to the carriage side before dropping off and rolling away down a hillside! The railway footage interestingly includes a shot of the train crossing the closed Hewenden Viaduct in West Yorkshire. The train in this instance is not the only piece of CGI used in the film. One of the run-bys shows the train running through a mountain landscape as it arrives in the Lake District! In addition to this, there is a deleted comedy arrest scene filmed inside a Mk.1 restaurant buffet which includes shots of the 4F entering and leaving Mytholmes Tunnel.

This is the footbridge ramp at Keighley station
Passengers board the train at Keighley’s platform 4. The vintage coaches look nice and shiny.
Whilst here we see a similar scenario in the opposite direction
Ex-LMS Class 4F 0-6-0 No.43924 curves through a cutting on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The film was set in 1935 and despite its BR livery, the 4F is old enough for the story having been built by the LMS at Derby in 1920. The early BR Mk.1 coaches, however, where not built until the 1950’s.
The train crosses Hewenden Viaduct, on the Queensbury Line between Bradford and Keighley in West Yorkshire. The former Great Northern Railway route closed to passenger traffic in 1955, and to goods in 1963. The viaduct is a listed structure and the track bed across it now forms part of a cycleway and footpath. The use of CGI meant that in this brief instance, a steam-hauled service returned to the route!!
And the viaduct is not the only scene to be manipulated through computer graphics. Here, the Worth Valley Railway train has reached the Lake District, though the background hills of course are a CGI creation.
Rafe Spall clings to the side of a carriage as he tries to escape from his pursuers
4F No.43924 is seen from the ground
Rafe Spall has been found by his pursuers in this rather daring scene
This is the arrival scene filmed at Oxenhope station. Of all the films shot on the Keighley & Worth over the years, and there have been a lot, Oxenhope has never before appeared, as far as I am aware.
A train departs with dark shadowy figures shrouded in steam. Does it remind you of anything?
In a wonderful juxtapoistion, this shot shows the above shot actually being filmed! This glimpse of proceedings was taken from the DVD extra entitled Bringing A Classic Tale To Life.
There was a fairly lengthy deleted scene filmed inside this Mk.1 restaurant buffet
The deleted scene included this shot of 43924 entering…..
….and leaving Mytholmes Tunnel