Carnforth StationTom Grieve, Cinema Editor
Carnforth Station is no ordinary railway station. The pivotal setting for much of film director David Lean’s iconic Brief Encounter, the station has embraced its place in cinema history to become a tourist attraction unlike any other. Stand on Platform 1 with its vintage suitcases and railway posters and you can cast yourself back to 1945…to a time when steam trains stopped here, when Lean pointed his camera at stars Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Film would have been whirring and the big movie lights would have emitted some warmth on the winter nights.
Lovingly restored in 2003, the station has been careful to preserve as much of that atmosphere as possible. Staffed by volunteers, today there is a refreshment room and Heritage Centre where there are exhibits which outline the life of David Lean, and the films — which include The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965) — he directed. Visitors can also watch Brief Encounter in a vintage mini cinema, complete with tip up seats, or pay a visit to the on-site gift shop, which is stocked with enough themed merchandise to almost feel like an exhibition in itself.