LEGENDARY Hollywood film director Martin Scorsese got a little help from the Goodfellas at Peterborough’s Nene Valley Railway for his latest movie project.
Film crews have been based at the steam railway attraction for about a week as they work on a series of technical shots for the film, The Invention of, which will be something of a first for the giant of the silver screen.
Topping the bill has been the City of Peterborough locomotive, which has been used to bring the age of the stream train alive for the magical tale of a young boy who lives among the walls of a Parisian railway station – and all shot in 3D.
Specialist cameras were mounted on the side of the engine to give the 3D film even more depth.
Villagers around Castor were left awe-stricken as they watched some of the filming unfold on the level crossing – with rumours rife that the great man might actually be present.
But to no avail. A spokesman for the film company said Mr Scorsese was not in Peterborough and neither were some of the big names who will grace the production, such as Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baren-Cohen, Jude Law and Christopher Lee.
Their absence did not dampen the enthusiasm of railway staff, who were more than willing to help the film crews.
Cris Rees, railway managing director, said he was delighted with the filming, despite the initial disappointment of not being the primary location.
He added: “They wanted our coaches because we have the original wago-lits, continental sleeping carriages.
“Sadly they couldn’t film on location because there wasn’t anywhere big enough, so they hired a huge empty hangar near Shepperton and built it there.
“It would have been lovely to have them film the whole thing here but it would also have a bit of a headache.
“Film crews pay very well but they are also very demanding.
“It did give our volunteers something different and I think they really enjoyed it.”
Throughout filming, staff from Nene Valley Railway were on hand to keep a keen eye on their rolling stock used in the film.
Their enthusiasm and willingness to take part meant they were also asked to provide the attraction’s flagship locomotive – the 57-year-old City of Peterborough.
Mr Rees said: “They were filming the movement of the loco because they couldn’t manage that in Shepperton.
“I went down to Shepperton to see the filming and the attention to detail is just staggering.
He added: “When I visited you felt like you had gone back in time to a 1930s French station, it was amazing.
“Although the City of Peterborough would never have pulled into a French station in the 1930s, it is the same size and motion as they had then.”
Martin Scorsese is renowned for his epics including Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, The Aviator, The Departed and Raging Bull, but this will be his first family film.
It is based on the book written by award winning novelist Brian Selznick and was adapted for the silver screen by John Landis and the studio hopes to release it by the end of this year.
Mr Scorsese, who has produced the film alongside Jonny Depp as well as directed it, wanted to shoot the whole movie at Nene Valley Railway.
But the life-sized set was too large and had to be built in an empty hanger near Shepperton Studios.
Railway is star of many TV shows
NENE Valley Railway has hit the headlines with starring roles in several films and TV shows recently.
It was the highlight of Christmas Day as long-running sleuth series Poirot embarked on the Murder on the Orient Express.
It was key in an EastEnders cliffhanger last year.
Charlie Brooks, who plays the villainous Janine, stopped her car on a railway crossing with her husband Ryan Malloy, played by Neil McDermott, and his daughter Lily.
And a pump trolley from the centre will play a major part in an upcoming Coronation Street wedding storyline.
The City of Peterborough loco 73050 rolled off the production line in Derby in 1954 before coming to the city in 1968.
More about the film Hugo Cabret: at the Internet Movie Database - www.imdb.com/title/tt0970179/