THE RAKE’S PROGRESS

GB
1945
2hrs
Dir: Sidney Gilliat
Starring: Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer

The life of an upper-class cad in the 1930s

Near the end of this classic comedy drama there are scenes filmed on a GWR branch line that include a very rare shot of St. Agnes station, on the Chacewater to Newquay line, followed by several good tracking shots of a GWR 2-6-2T on a local train. The scene depicting Margaret Johnston leaving on the departing train may have used the real thing. In addition to these scenes there is one much earlier shot of a passing express filmed day-for-night, and though the locomotive at the head can not be identified, it is Southern in origin.

The smoke deflectors and disk headcodes tell us that this is a Southern Railway locomotive. It could be a ‘Lord Nelson’ a ‘King Arthur’ or anything in between, but whatever it is, it’s steaming poorly.
This delightful country station is St Agnes in Cornwall, closed in February 1963
A GWR 2-6-2 tank hauls its train through the countryside, bunker first
Another similar shot shows the train passing a house. The proximity of the building to the track suggests that it could be a crossing keeper’s cottage. Although unconfirmed, this is likely also to be somewhere in Cornwall.