Little Gems - The Ghost Train
Set during war time, the story begins with a train rushing down the line, desperately trying to make a connection to Truro. Owing to the near loss of a hat, the train ends up being too late to meet the connection and so eight passengers are stranded at a very old deserted railway station. The station master arrives to lock up and is very annoyed to find that the people will not leave. Matters are made even worse when the weather turns nasty and they all hurry inside to shelter. The passenger list consist of :
Tommy Gander (comedian and entertainer) off to work in Brighton for 16 weeks.
Teddy Deakin - at first we are not sure of his role although at the end we suspect that he is working for British Intelligence
R.G. Winthrop and Jackie Winthrop - Cousins travelling together.
Herbert and Edna - In less than 24 hours time they are to be wed. Frightened of Edna's mother.
Miss Bourne - London spinster travelling to see her sister who lives in the country. She is travelling with her pet parrot - Polly
Dr. Sterling - Locum we are told, although he likes a drink or two especially from a bottle (or two)
The passengers are all adamant, that they are not leaving the station but Saul Hodgkin (the station master) will not stay with them. He tells them that the next train is in the morning and that he will not stay with them overnight. He then reveals the ghost train's haunting and how it all began. The story unfolds that a group of people chartered a special for a bean feast and on the way back, the original station master (Ted Holmes) was on duty to ensure that the bridge stayed closed. At eleven o'clock Ted left the station house to close the bridge but became ill and could not find the strength to deal with the bridge. He fell through the door dead and the bridge was still open. Only Ben Isaacs, the train driver, survived the crash. Winthrop asks about the haunting and is told that a train is heard late at night that does not start anywhere or end up anywhere. He then leaves the passengers slightly nervous but determined to wait the night until the train arrives the next morning. They soon introduce themselves and settle down for the long wait. Tommy Gander decides to entertain the troops but only ends up annoying Winthrop. They all have a cup of tea and some food. During this get together, Miss Bourne ends up having a small cup of brandy (donated not entirely without protest by the Doctor). Miss Bourne ends up having to sleep it off in another room and takes no more part in the film until the very end.
Whilst all this is going on Jackie Winthrop hears a bell ring and then hears footsteps outside on the platform. The others rush to the door and open it as the Station master falls in looking gravely ill. Teddy and Winthrop carry him to a small room where the doctor examines him. The Doctor requests some water be brought and Tommy Gander goes outside to find some. There he discovers the original workings for the bridge. He tries to close the bridge but it is locked in the open position. The Station master is soon confirmed dead by the Doctor and the room is locked to prevent anyone interfering as this is now a police matter. Edna and a reluctant Herbert decide to leave as she does not intend staying the night with a corpse in a room, especially the night before her wedding. even though the weather is terrible, they gather their belongings and leave. Tommy asks Teddy is he thinks there is any truth in thew the ghost train story.
A little later, a wet and frightened Herbert bursts into the waiting room closely followed by Edna. Half their luggage is missing. They are both terrified and state that someone is coming down the platform. A woman named Julia Price enters the waiting room and asks them to hide her as he is coming to get her and take her back. Teddy looks outside just as a car skids on the road and crashes into a tree. Both Teddy, Tommy and the Doctor go to see if they can help. We soon find that the car driver is a man named Price and that the car skidded on Edna and Herbert's luggage. He is not too pleased when he discovers the cause but he is most insistent on finding his sister whom he says is slightly disturbed ever since she caught site of the Ghost train. The others tell the pair about the death of Saul Hodgkin and then open the locked door to show Price the body. Inside we find the body has gone and there was only one way out.
The Doctor convinces Price to leave his sister whilst he goes in search of a another car. Not long after Price leaves, Jackie hears a signal bell and then a train whistle. Teddy and Winthrop try to open the doors of the waiting room but they are sealed. A train rushes through the station and Julia throws a cup through the window in order to see clearly. She faints soon after witnessing the train's arrival. The others care for her and Teddy and Tommy go outside as the doors miraculously become unsealed. Outside they discover that the bridge is now closed, someone has released the lock and changed the setting on the wheel control. Suddenly a song is heard being sung within the tunnel through which the Ghost train went. Julia hears the voice and wakes up, she tells everyone that it is the ghost of Ben Isaac as he was thrown clear of the crash and the sole survivor. Teddy and Tommy see the ghost emerge out of the tunnel and Teddy fires several shots. The ghost vanishes into the tunnel hotly pursued by the due. Tommy gets lost in the tunnel and Teddy heads back to the waiting room to find that Price has returned with a bus for everyone. He tells everyone to wait as the police need to be called and at gun point prevents anyone from leaving the waiting room. Winthrop give him a right upper cut to the jaw and knocks him out. Everyone then gets on the bus. Tommy Gander just makes it back. While they are travelling to the nearest village, Teddy wakes up and scolds Winthrop as no one will now be able to intercept the train on it return journey. We now learn the Tommy has opened the bridge and on hearing this the Nazi agents (Price, Julia Price, Dr. Sterling and Nichols the driver) reveal themselves. They hold everyone at gunpoint when they realise that the bridge is open and that they must stop the train at all costs. The Ghost train is being used for fifth columnists (sympathetic to the Nazi movement) and hence used as a gun running train.
The Nazi agents are unable to stop the train and it goes across the bridge and crashes into the water. Hence the gun running was stopped and the mystery of the Ghost train was solved. At the very end of the film, Miss Bourne staggers out of the waiting room and states for the record "I'm so glad nothing exciting has happened."
A great film, still works with today's generation as my children will testify to. Any thoughts comments etc. send them to me at the usual address.