WHAT links Tom Cruise and Captain Mainwaring? Or Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey?

They are all connected in some way to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway - which has taken a star role in many films and television dramas over the years.

Now a new film trail is shining the spotlight on productions that have used the heritage railway as a filming location - including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning.

Launched this week, the film trail is a permanent addition to the NYMR experience, giving movie buffs, rail enthusiasts and other visitors chance to visit places where some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years were filmed. The trail features a map highlighting locations that can be spotted on the big screen, guiding visitors to the spots along the railway. The map can be collected by visitors from the booking offices, or downloaded from the NYMR website.

All aboard for the film trail! Pic: Courtesy of NYMRAll aboard for the film trail! Pic: Courtesy of NYMR (Image: Courtesy of NYMR)

Here are the films and TV productions featured in the new trail:

* Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Goathland Station is one of the best-known Harry Potter filming locations and the setting for Hogsmeade Station. The first instalment in the Harry Potter film series, and one of the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, it stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. The 2001 film follows Harry’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Filming for Harry Potter at Goathland Station Filming for Harry Potter at Goathland Station (Image: Image submitted)

* Mission:Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One: Filming for the seventh movie in the franchise took place in 2021 in the small North Yorkshire village of Levisham. Action scenes for a sequence set in the Austrian Alps, with a train hurtling towards a bridge being blown up, were filmed on a train on the NYMR line.

Tom Cruise arrived on a helicopter, and a logistics base was set up near the film set. The Hollywood actor was spotted with co-star Hayley Atwell, both wearing masks as filming took place during the pandemic. Cruise shot a daredevil stunt on top of a train carriage. Scenes were also shot in the Lake District, where Cruise carried out paragliding stunts.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of DestinyPhoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Image: LucasfilmLtd/Jonathan Olley)

* Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: The fifth and final instalment in the blockbuster film series stars Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies and Karen Allen reprising their roles as Indiana Jones, Sallah, and Marion Ravenwood, along with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Antonio Banderas. In the 2023 film, the archaeologist adventurer and his goddaughter try to locate a powerful dial device before a Nazi scientist can use it to alter the outcome of World War II.

Action scenes were shot at Grosmont Station on the North Yorkshire Moors. A section of track on the railway was used for a dramatic escape from a prison camp. Props spotted at the location included tanks, a guard tower and a steam train dressed in the colours of 1940s German railways.

The Dad's Army film was largely shot in North YorkshireThe Dad's Army film was largely shot in North Yorkshire (Image: PA/Universal)

* Dad’s Army: Based on the classic wartime sitcom, the 2016 film’s starry cast was headed by Catherine Zeta-Jones as a spy, reporting on the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard. Toby Jones played Captain Mainwaring, with other platoon members played by Bill Nighy, Sir Tom Courtenay, Bill Paterson, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison and Daniel Mays.

Much of the filming took place in Yorkshire, with locations including Bridlington, transformed into Walmington-on-Sea, Flamborough Head, Bempton, Beverley, Scarborough and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

* Downton Abbey: The first Downton film, which followed six hit seasons of the much-loved ITV drama, opened with scenes shot at Pickering Station and along the heritage line. The 2019 film catches up with the Crawley family in 1927, when the announcement of a royal visit to Downton prompts a flurry of activity above and below stairs. Yorkshire locations included Little Germany, Dalton Mills in Keighley and Harewood House.

* Heartbeat: Goathland Station was taken back to the 1960s when it was transformed into Aidensfield Station for the hugely popular long-running police drama. Goathland had a starring role as Aidensfield in the long-running show, which was filmed in and around the North York Moors and Whitby. Goathland is popular with tourists, who visit the Aidensfield Arms and Scripps Garage, following in the footsteps of Heartbeat regulars including Greengrass, Oscar Blaketon, PC Bellamy and Gina.

As well as the film trail, free weekly themed activities for families will be held during the summer holiday, on Mondays at Pickering Station and Fridays at Goathland Station:

* Wonderful Wizards: Children can create their own movie magic by making wands and hats.

* Awesome Archaeology: Aspiring explorers can create their own powerful dial artefact, just like Indiana Jones.

* Curious Creatures: Get up close and personal with animals and a Birds of Prey display.

* Super Spies: Youngsters can put their spy skills to the test, make a disguise and get involved in a code-cracking activity.

Says Macey Palmer, Learning and Interpretation Officer at NYMR: “We’ve got lots of free hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy this summer. If you love film and TV, our brand-new film trail - Lights, Camera, Traction - is for you to explore for the whole school holidays and beyond.

“Over summer, you can join in with archaeology activities, test your spy skills and meet awesome birds of prey at our drop in activities. There’s definitely something for the whole family.”

* Visit nymr.co.uk/film-trail