As it celebrates its 90th birthday, Barbara Flynn narrates the story of the nation’s love affair with the steam locomotive that symbolises all that was great about British engineering, the Flying Scotsman
Michael Portillo explores the Conwy valley, stopping at Britain’s first artists’ colony at Betws-y-Coed, visiting the Victorian slate capital of Blaenau Ffestiniog and taking a steam train down to the harbour at Porthmadog. (There’s a few toy trains too!)
The steam railways of Wales seemed lost forever with the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, but this series celebrates their revival with wonderful colour archive film combined with the memories of passengers and railwaymen from the age of steam.
In this episode we meet the last generation of Welsh steam railwaymen and visit the heritage railway that keeps their glorious past alive.
Trainwest in Melksham, Wiltshire is always the first show that’s on my calendar every year! It’s brilliant. It’s without doubt the best local show of the year for me. I sometimes make the trip north to Warley, but it feels way too crowded these days. So the “unsugn heros” of the exhibition scene like Trainwest always feel like a better day out to me!
£8 entrance fee at the door, 22 layouts, 29 trade stands and not too many backpacks in the damn way beats Warley hands down!
What’s your favourite, and why?
Over just 50 years, Britain’s railways grew from a handful of small lines carrying coal to the biggest industry in the strongest nation on the planet. A nation had built the railways and now those railways would build a nation, influencing working conditions for its employees, proving a valuable export across the globe and even changing warfare.
Yet the story of railways up until the beginning of the Second World War concerned who they really belonged to – the private rail companies who were obsessed with profit; the public who rode them; or the government, who needed them at times of crisis but were reluctant to regulate