Carnforth Station – November Winner
Did you guess where Otto visited on the 1st November? We thought this was an easy one, and although everyone who entered was correct, although we didn’t have as many answers as previous entries! The answer was of course Carnforth Railway Station (or Carnforth Station/ Carnforth Train Station).
About Carnforth Station
So what did Otto learn whilst waiting to catch a train to his next secret location? Well, Carnforth railway station serves the town of Carnforth in Lancashire, England. The building was designed by architect William Tite and was famously used as a location in the 1945 film Brief Encounter. It is now operated by TransPennine Express.
Carnforth railway station was opened in 1846 and originally had a single platform as a second-class station. It became a junction in 1857 when it was adjoined to the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway as its terminus. Soon afterwards, the Furness Railway began operating to Carnforth.
The station was enlarged during the 1870s and in 1880 was able to receive trains from the Midland Railway following the commissioning of a new south-to-east direct curve to the Furness and Midland Joint Railway (creating a triangular junction in the process). Meanwhile, the L&CR had been taken over by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and Carnforth was under joint management by Furness, Midland and LNWR. Station personnel wore a uniform with the initials CJS for Carnforth: Joint Station.
A major rebuilding project, including a new 300 yard platform (currently used by all northbound services), took place in 1938 with government funding – this brought the total number of platforms in use at the station to six. In 1944, the Government approved the rebuilding of Carnforth MPD into a major regional railway depot.
The West Coast Main Line platforms were closed in May 1970, following the withdrawal of local stopping passenger services between Lancaster and Carlisle two years earlier. The platform walls facing the fast lines were demolished, cut back and fenced off a few years later prior to the commissioning of 25Kv overhead electrification in 1974. This made Carnforth a branch line station, even though it is situated on the main line, as WCML trains cannot now call. In 2011, Network Rail rejected suggestions to reopen the mainline platforms, stating that there would be too few passengers to justify slowing down mainline trains. Only the former platforms 4 & 5 (now renumbered 1 & 2) remain in use, as the old ‘Midland bay’ that once handled trains on the Joint line to Skipton & Leeds is also disused and no longer rail-connected.
Responsibility for the signalling at the station is divided between Preston PBS (main line) and the one surviving manual signal box at Carnforth Station Junction, sited just past the physical junction between the Barrow & Leeds lines. This has acted as the ‘fringe’ box to the PSB since the main line was re-signalled in 1972/3. Two other boxes (F&M Junction & East Junction) were closed & demolished when the northern side of the triangle (avoiding the station) was decommissioned in 1998.
After lying in a semi-derelict state for many years, the station buildings were refurbished between 2000 & 2003 and returned to commercial use.
The heart-breaking film (and nominated for 3 Oscars) Brief Encounter was partly filmed in Carnforth Station in February 1945 at the end of WWII. The Ministry of Transport chose Carnforth Station partly because it was so far from the South East of England that it would receive sufficient warning of an air-raid attack, meaning more time to turn out the filming lights to comply with wartime blackout restrictions. Filming took place at night to avoid interrupting regular train operations. The station clock was repeated purposely throughout the film, becoming a powerful and iconic symbol.
Those local will know of the award-winning visitor centre and the “Brief Encounter” Refreshment Room, faithfully restored to its iconic 1940s glory, owned and managed by Andrew and Helen Coates.
Brief Encounter Trivia:
- Trevor Howard made his name as Dr Alec Harvey. Although Alec’s age is never stated, though he refers to himself as middle-aged, but in fact Trevor Howard would only have been 31/32 at the time of filming, almost 8 years younger than Celia Johnson.
- Celia Johnson overcame her dislike of filming (she didn’t like being away from her family and preferred stage acting) to win an Oscar nomination for her delicate performance as a married woman verging on infidelity.
- Stanley Holloway created a memorable comedy cameo as the Station Master.
- It was co-directed by David Lean, famous also for ‘Doctor Zhivago’ & ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’. It was David Lean‘s first Oscar nomination as director.
- Less well-known is the fact that the screenplay is by Noël Coward, based on his one-act play Still Life (1936)
- In the film, the station is referred to as Milford Junction, despite the sign for ‘Carnforth’ covered up with ‘Milford Junction, you can still see the next train’s destinations as Hellifield, Skipton, Bradford and Leeds.
- On initial release, the film was banned by the strict censorship board in Ireland on the grounds that it portrayed an adulterer in a sympathetic light.
And The November Winner Is…
So this time we had 14 entries of which all 14 were correct! Using a random number generator, it’s time to announce the winner…*drum roll please*…
And so, the November 2013 Winner of £100 of LPC Furniture Vouchers goes to the lucky: MARC WAREING!
Congratulations Marc! And thank you to everyone who entered. Otto would like to remind you that they’ll be another chance to guess Where’s Otto? and another great chance of winning £100. Watch this space next month on the 1st December and, as always, keep a look out on our facebook page!