2hrs 38mins
Dir: Mark Robson
Starring: Ingrid Bergman and Robert Donat

An English missionary’s experience in China

This classic DeLuxe Color film tells the story of Gladys Aylward, evangelical Christian missionary to China, and is based on the 1957 book The Small Woman by Alan Burgess. However, although it is a beautiful and mostly true story it seems such a shame that Hollywood had to contrive such nonsense just to tell it. Shot almost entirely on location in Snowdonia, there are excellent opening scenes at London Liverpool Street station which include a good shot of Class N7/1 0-6-2T No.69665 arriving with a train. The studio-based railway journey to China starts off with a departure from Liverpool Street and the initial back-projection shows row upon row of 4-wheel box vans. A couple of Continental railway locomotives are then glimpsed before Bergman arrives into ‘Tientsin station’ on the Chinese border. This is actually the Longmoor Military Railway, with a fairly substantial mock-up station constructed in Longmoor Yard and one of the railway’s USATC S100 Class 0-6-0T’s disguised as a Chinese locomotive.

London Liverpool Street in 1958. And in colour too. A steam locomotive is visible on the far left.
Ex-LNER Class N7/1 0-6-2T No.69665 arrives into Liverpool Street bunker first
The passenger circulating area at Liverpool Street with BR Mark 1’s visible in the background in carmine and cream
A train pulls out of Liverpool Street at the start of Bergman’s journey to China
A train pulls into Tientsin station on the Chinese border, well a set recreation filmed in Longmoor yard with one of the LMR’s USATC S100 Class 0-6-0 tanks hauling the train!
This shot of the passengers disembarking in some form of organised chaos shows the blue and red-lined livery of the Longmoor locomotive still visible beneath the dirt