‘Ghost Train’ is pulling into Downham

Thundering down the track, whistle screaming though the chilled dead of night, The Ghost Train is heading for Downham.

The cast of Ghost Train, by Stage Two Downham
The cast of Ghost Train, by Stage Two Downham

On board are ghosts, phantoms of a terrible train crash long ago ... and you thought Halloween was over!

Next week sees the curtain rise on another rollicking good yarn from Downham’s Stage Two theatre group, this time a spooky tale from the pen of Arnold Ridley, best known as Private Godfrey in “Dads Army”.

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Ridley sets his 1920s “one dark and stormy night” tale in an isolated Cornish railway station. Here we find not only six unlucky stranded passengers, but a local superstition that speaks of a terrible death to anyone setting eyes on a legendary phantom train said to come screaming and bellowing through this remote station.

The disparate group comprising newly-weds, a couple on the cusp of separation, a self-obsessed dandy and parrot accompanied by one rather eccentric spinster are trapped ... and there’s an ominous chill in the air. Was that the haunting echo of a bell? And in the distance, is that the faint whistle of a train?

Director Fran Osborne takes the darker, more intense thrills and chills route in contrast to the 1941 film version played for laughs by Arthur Askey. She cranks-up the tension beautifully, skilfully keeping the cast of 11 on their toes within the grim, claustrophobic confines of their possibly final waiting room.

These eerie goings-on at Downham Village Hall run from November 20th-23rd, with nightly performances at 7-30pm and tickets at £6 available from Clitheroe Tourist Information Centre (Tel.01200 425566) or on 01200 423301.

The Assheton Arms, Downham (tel. 01200 441227) is also running a dinner and a theatre ticket special for just £20.

The cast of Stage Two Downham’s production of The Ghost Train, from the left, (back row) Robert Crane, Bob Cleeve, Chris Bowers, Kim Croydon, Tom Garner, Kenny Entwistle, Steve Cooke, (front row) Barney Cullen, Jennifer Whiteside, Stella Barnes, Andrea Cawley and Annie Wildman.