Bond on Rails

The New Year holiday usually sees a James Bond film film on UK terrestial television. Last night was no exception, with ITV showing Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig. This is one of several Bond films that feature railways.
The film opens with a chase after a stolen hard drive through Istanbul, ending up with Bond and a villain fighting on the roof of a train, the bad guy somehow managing to find a random lump of chain laying on the roof!

The scene sees the destruction of several VW Beetles, although, sadly, several Land Rovers were also harmed in the making of the film. The fight scene ends with Bond falling off the train as it heads over the stunning Varda Viaduct in Southern Turkey, built by German engineers in 1912 as part of the Berlin to Basra railway.
This article gives a behind the scenes insight into the action sequences.

Later in the film we see MI6 in an underground facility, which was shot in disused tunnels under Waterloo Station, formerly a performance space known as The Old Vic Tunnels, now a Vans skatepark.

As the next bad guy escapes the MI6 facility the action moves onto the Underground. Those of you familiar with the tube will notice the station claiming to be Temple isn’t, and the train claiming to be a District Line train isn’t either. It’s 1996 Jubilee Line Stock, filmed in the disused section of Charing Cross Station. In pre (and post) Covid times London Transport runs tours of the disused sections.

The dramatic tube train crash doesn’t take place anywhere near the tube, but in a specially built set on the 007 stage at Pinewood studios. There’s an article with photos of the set on There’s a very comprehensive list of the film’s locations online at Hunting Bond

LNER DVT 82231 briefly had a Skyfall makeover when renamed, although it appears it has now been withdrawn and is in storage at Doncaster.

Twenty five years ago the film Goldeneye had some rather different railway scenes, with Pierce Brosnan taking on what was meant to be a Russian armoured train with a tank. The scenes were actually shot at the Nene Valley Railway, Cambridgeshire, with a BR Class 20 having been dressed up to resemble a Russian loco.
There’s a detailed article on the making of Goldeneye at the Nene Valley at 007 info

Not all the scenes were the full size train – some were shot with a model – that looks like 7.25 inch gauge or so. The original model is now in a museum. The original loco, Class 20 No. 20188 is still preserved and is, at the time of writing (Jan 2021) at the Spa Valley Railway, in Kent

A few years earlier the Nene Valley Railway had welcomed Pierce Brosnan when he starred in this 1988 Diet Coke advert, which followed the filming of Octopussy at the railway in 1983. The Octopussy story involves a nuclear bomb on an East German circus train, which Bond chases in what appears to be a standard gauge Mercedes saloon

Roger Moore also took to the rails in 1995’s View To A Kill. Although this time it was a narrow gauge mine railway, leading into a stereotypical villains lair complete with uniformed henchmen and lots of explosives. The involves blowning up an abandoned mine that will flood Silicon Valley, giving the bad guy, played by Christopher Walken, control of the world’s microchip markets. Bond of course saves the day, but we do get to see Grace Jones explode on a wagon and Christopher Walken driving a narrow gauge loco. The set was several thousand miles from California, being filmed at the Amberley Museum in West Sussex.

No trains featured in the 1987 film The Living Daylights, but trams played a role. Although that part of the film was set in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, it was at the time behind the Iron Curtain. So Vienna was chosen as a location, with the 18th Century district of Währingen making a worthy substitute.

In Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond, we see him dining in style on a train to Montenegro. The visible logo “MERF” doesn’t actually belong on the train in question, which is a České dráhy – Czech Railways – Pendelino. They appear to have been refurbished since the film as the Czech Railways stock list photos show. The film location site Reel Streets give more detail on the rail locations used

The new Bond film, No Time To Die, is expected to be released in April 2021, and although we don’t know yet if railways get much of a look in, the shoot did include some time on location at Sapri, in Southern Italy, where the station nameboards were changed to “Civita Lucana” for the shoot.

Though it doesn’t have any railways, the location known as “James Bond Island”, Ko Yao Noi in Thailand is pretty iconic and you can stay in the region. Check out the accommodation by clicking on this link, which helps to pay for the upkeep of this site:

For more info on Bond film locations there’s a couple of sites worth looking at, Hunting Bond and the James Bond Wiki

Thanks for reading. Check out my other posts on travel, heritage railways and more.
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