Furness Railway Number 20 has now made two visits to the Bluebell Railway.
In June 2012 the locomotive returned to East Sussex for a filming contract for the Oscar nominated Dickens biopic "The Invisible Woman". Ralph Fiennes directs himself as Charles Dickens, telling the story of Dicken's secret mistress and his attempts to cover up her existence after the pair were involved in (but survived) a fatal train crash.
Clearly to tell the story a suitable-era steam engine had to be found to recreate the accident, and FR20 was hired in to haul the Bluebell's resident Victorian carriages. The disused spur of the Ardingly Branch was used to film the aftermath of the crash - with a high quality replica of the Bluebell train created and then wrecked at the bottom of the embankment.
FR 20 was filmed leaving Folkestone Harbour (in reality Sheffield Park) and then in transit, before then being filmed at the crash site as the driver and fireman (the FRT's Alan Middleton and Tim Owen) joined the professinoal actors in running down to help the injured and dying.
The Invisible Woman is released in UK cinemas this month!The first trip to the deep south saw FR20 as the star visitor at a landmark Bluebell Railwaygala in 2010 marking 50 years of standard gauge preservation.
The oldest working steam locomotive in Britain was the obvious first choice for the Bluebell volunteers for their special event to celebrate becoming the first standard gauge line to achieve the first half century of volunteer-run passenger services in this country.
Another big name visitor - new build A1 Pacific "Tornado" - was unable to make it to the Bluebell due to boiler problems, so FR 20 became the single star guest.
FR 20 was in action at the Bluebell for the gala itself when it hauled shuttle trains on what was then the as-yet-unopened section north of Kingscote to Imberhorne, towards the Bluebell's ultimate northern destination of East Grinstead. The engine was also booked for three further steamings a week later.
İFurness Railway Trust