Inspired by the railways…

This morning saw us talking about trains. Now, this would usually mean we were talking about author Edward Marston and his hugely popular Railway Detective series, but in this instance the subject arose because Susie had found herself watching an episode of Time Shift on BBC4 last night, entitled Between the Lines – Railways in Fiction and Film (click here to watch on BBCiplayer). And it was apparently quite fascinating.

It features author Andrew Martin who explores how trains, originally viewed as loathsome, frightening beasts, slowly made there way into some of our favourite works of fiction – providing the perfect setting for comedy, romance, adventure, intrigue and murder. In fact, whilst I’ve not seen the programme myself yet, thinking about it has made me realise just how many films and books have been inspired by trains.

On screen, they have undoubtedly provided some of the most memorable scenes and indeed a quick Google brings up a list of films where trains play a crucial part in the story (see list here). Of course, one that immediately springs to my mind is the train scene in Some Like it Hot

And then there are the countless books – from childhood classics like The Railway Children, the hugely popular Thomas the Tank Engine and my personal favourite The Little Engine that Could to one of the greatest crime classics that is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. And of course, following in these footsteps, Andrew Martin himself with his Jim Stringer novels and Edward Marston with his crimes set on the Victorian railways.

So eventually, yes, we did end up talking about the Railway Detective series, but with a greater appreciation of where this series lies in a great tradition of locomotive-inspired fiction.

Chiara Priorelli, PUblicity & Online Marketing Manager

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