The oldest working standard gauge steam locomotive in Britain has twice featured on the silver screen!
Back in 2000, just one year after returning to steam, Furness Railway Number 20 lined up alongside Oscar-winner Gwynneth Paltrow in her movie "Possession".
This part literary mystery, part love story, set in both modern times and the Victorian era, is based on the novel by A. S. Byatt. "Possession" stars Gwynneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam, Jennifer Ehle - and, of course, Furness Railway Number 20!
It was filmed at various locations around the UK, and needed a suitable train sequence for the film. Furness Railway Number 20 was the only choice to haul the vintage train, which was assembled on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Filming took place over a week, with the main shoot on Monday September 18th 2000.
Recording took place at a variety of locations between Pickering and Goathland (location for the ITV1 drama Heartbeat), and the final shoot involved the train being followed down the valley by a camera crew in a helicopter. (This sequence didn't make the final cut in the movie, perhaps because of a lost wig! Our Chairman, Tim Owen, who was on the footplate at the time, lost his costume wig when it was blown off by the downdraught from the helicopter...!)
The locomotive performed without a hitch, and earned much praise from the location team.
This was the first filming contract for the engine, but it was also the first film work for the two men who led Number 20's restoration.
Furness Railway Trust Chairman Tim Owen, and Locomotive chief Alan Middleton both spent an hour in make-up in order to work on the locomotive during filming.
"I looked about 95 by the time they'd finished", Tim remarked afterwards. He's pictured here with FRT Life Member and North Yorkshire Moors Railway driver Jon Wilkinson who drove the locomotive on both days - along with some of the film extras.
Overall the Trust is very pleased with the way things have gone. Tim says "this was a new departure for us, and we had to make sure that nothing went wrong. As it was, the engine performed perfectly, and the railway sequences in the finished movie are smashing!"
The locomotive remained on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the October 6th - 8th 2000 "Shildon 175" gala weekend, marking the 175th anniversary of the world's first public railway, the Stockton and Darlington Railway in north-east England. Furness Railway Number 20 was the star turn at this event, hauling packed trains on all three days.
İFurness Railway Trust