One of the most memorable images from 1940s British cinema is that of Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson gazing meaningfully into each other's eyes in a station cafe in Brief Encounter. Those who want to relive that romantic moment should head for Carnforth, because it was the cafe at Carnforth Station, now known as the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room, which was used in the film with the station acting as Milford Junction. It is a fitting name, because at that time Carnforth was a major junction in the railway system of the north-west, and during the war thousands of servicemen passed through on the way to their overseas destinations. However, Carnforth was a victim of the Beeching rail cuts in the 1960s, and the station was turned into a mere branch line station with a lot of the buildings from its heyday falling derelict. Recent restoration work has resulted in the opening of the Carnforth Station Heritage Centre, incorporating that famous cafe. There was once a major ironworks in the town, making use of the excellent railway links of the time, but this has now gone and all that remains of the site is an industrial estate. One of the most popular leisure activities in Carnforth is to take a stroll along the Lancaster Canal, which passes through here.
Map of the area.
|Carnforth Canal Basin. Photo by David Medcalf, via Wikimedia Commons|