The Railway Man filming locations are super interesting to a locations nerd like me. Why? Well, not only are many of the locations in Scotland (and I am partial to a Scotland-set film) but the film also shot scenes on the River Kwai Bridge. Even The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) didn’t shoot there!
But a largely forgettable Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman drama did. That genuinely fascinates me.
The Railway Man (2013) stars Firth as Eric Lomax, a former WWII officer and prisoner of war. When he discovers the Japanese officer who tortured him is still alive, he and his wife Patty (Nicole Kidman) must deal with the resurfaced trauma and pain.
Don’t get me wrong, the film is good but I just love the locations more. Director Jonathan Teplitzky shot some of the scenes in Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland, Australia and on location in Scotland, England, Thailand and Australia. So, let’s discover where exactly those The Railway Man locations are!
Where Was The Railway Man Filmed?
The Railway Man Filming Locations in Scotland
1. Cockenzie and Port Seton Royal British Legion, Prestonpans
The Railway Man opens in 1980 where Eric is reading a train timetable at a Veterans club in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. This building is not in Berwick-Upon-Tweed but is up the coast across the border at the Royal British Legion building in Prestonpans.
2. Perth Railway Station, Perth and Kinross
While at the Veterans Club, Eric tells his pals a story of when he attended a book auction in Chester and had 3 minutes to swiftly change trains at Crewe. Cool story, Eric. Luckily the story gets better.
It is not actually Crewe Station in the film, but Perth Railway Station in Scotland. I believe Perth Railway Station also stood in for Edinburgh Waverley where Eric rushes to catch Patty alighting her train, but I’m not completely sure. It certainly looks similar.
3. Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, Bo’ness, West Lothian
Eric woos Patty by churning out random tidbits about towns they pass along the train route: Warrington, Preston, Lancaster and Carnforth. All train stations I know very well! But the film actually shot the train scenes on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway in Bo’ness. It’s now a tourist attraction if you want to ride some old steam trains.
Eric mentions that David Lean shot some Brief Encounter (1945) scenes at Carnforth Station which is 100% true!
4. St Monans Church of Scotland, Anstruther
Patty and Eric soon marry at a seaside church called St Monans Church in Anstruther, Fife with a gorgeous view of the coastline. Finlay’s funeral also takes place here halfway through the movie.
5. Milsey Bay Beach, North Berwick, East Lothian
The day after his wedding, Eric experiences a traumatic episode where he believes he is back in Thailand as a POW. The scene cuts to Eric standing on Milsey Bay Beach in North Berwick just in front of his home exterior on Melbourne Road.
The beach appears a couple of times throughout The Railway Man, including when older Eric returns from Thailand. North Berwick has also appeared in Under the Skin (2013), Outlaw King (2018) and Mary Queen of Scots (2018).
Read next: Outlaw King Filming Locations in Scotland
6. Calton Hill, Edinburgh
This is a bonus The Railway Man filming location because, though the scene exists somewhere, I do not believe it made it into the final cut of the film. There are lots of photographs of young Eric walking over Calton Hill in Edinburgh on his way back from WWII, suitcase in hand, available to see on the internet. But I’ve watched the film a few times now and skipped back and forth through the whole thing and I haven’t spotted it.
The Railway Man Filming Locations in Thailand
7. River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi
Eric returns to the River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi, Thailand where it is now something of a tourist destination. There are war museums and exhibitions in the places where the Japanese officers tortured him and this is where he has a confrontation with Nagase.
Eric actually walks out onto the bridge near the end of the film.
The Railway Man Filming Locations Elsewhere
8. Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England
The first The Railway Man filming location in England is a scene early in the movie where Patty and Eric frolic on a windy beach. This windy beach is the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, technically part of Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumberland, England. Despite the weather, it looks like a blood gorgeous place!
Their car is parked just next to the bridge between Holy Island and Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
9. The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Much of the film is a flashback to Eric’s time as a prisoner of war and the torture he endured by Japanese secret police officer Takashi Nagase. He was forced to help build the Thai-Burma Railway and Queensland stood in as The Railway Man film locations for these flashback scenes set in Thailand. The Workshops Rail Museum was The Railway Man location used for the track-building scenes.
The museum is on one of Australia’s oldest railway lines and it features a huge exhibition of old tracks and trains.
10. Fort Lytton National Park, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Fort Lytton in Queensland is an old 19th-century fort surrounded by a country park. The exterior Thailand scenes that were not shot at The Workshops Rail Museum were shot here.
11. Royal Border Bridge, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England
Eric’s best friend Finlay informs him that the Japanese officer is still alive and working as a tour guide at the River Kwai Bridge. Patty and Eric take Finlay for a walk along the banks of the River Tweed through the arches of the Royal Border Bridge in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. There’s a little bit of cinema trickery going on here because one second they are walking through the bridge and the next they are several metres backwards with the Royal Tweed Bridge and historic Berwick Bridge visible just behind them.
12. Berwick-Upon-Tweed Railway Station, England
Eric and Patty drop Finlay off at the Berwick-Upon-Tweed Railway Station in The Railway Man and in real life. You can tell it is the same station by looking at the ornate white roof that covers platform two.
And those are all The Railway Man filming locations in Scotland, Thailand, England and Australia! Have you watched the movie or visited any of the filming locations? Let me know in the comments below!