RAILDATE 2022.11.04

Your free weekly guide to what's happening, what's new and what's on.

Special news this week

The top Raildate website https://raildate.co.uk has been migrated to a new server. It contains a history of Raildate by founding editor Howard Sprenger and archives of Raildate from 1994.

Elizabeth line in London: Joined-up service commences on Sunday. I'll be trying it out - six years after I finished daily commuting from Berkshire to Canary Wharf. A 57 minute journey time is promised.


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Thank you to this week's contributors.

Which station is this?

From the 2005 GB network diagram. Despite appearances, not a junction station.

Answers by email only. Prize: none.

Last week's Where am I?

Class 03 D2120 leads one carriage. In the background is part of Blackfriars railway bridge. The tops of the Wembley Twin Towers are just out of shot to the right.

Answer: Fawley Hill, near Henley-on-Thames. Lots of correct answers this week. Congratulations to Andrew Barrett, Chris Neale, Paul Hopper, Richard Maund, and Howard Sprenger.

Fawley Hill is the home of the late Sir William McAlpine and his widow Lady Judy. From the mid-1960s, Bill collected remarkable pieces from his construction projects and built up a museum of railwayana and enamel advertising plates. The one-mile railway has three stations, a 1-in-13 hill. and parkland teeming with deer, peacocks etc. Road access is a single track road with bends. Installing full-size carriages and the two locos must have been a fine challenge for a construction boss accustomed to tricky sites.

Fawley Hill is open by arrangement only, but they are always looking for volunteers, so that's a way in. Read more...


UK television listings with a transport theme for the next eight days

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American Pickers -:- The guys make off with a bulging bounty of cool signs when they pick an old train caboose in the Californian mountains

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor embarks on a global journey, beginning in Paris, where he meets up with a friend who explains the finer points of French social etiquette. In Germany, Tony compares a gentle spin in a replica of the first automobile with an exhilarating blast in the latest Formula 1 car. Then it's over to Hungary, where capital Budapest is now very different from how it was under communist rule. Lastly, Tony heads towards Turkey, which straddles Asia, where he explores Istanbul's spice markets and visits the main train station where renovations have uncovered ruins dating back to 400BC

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor goes on rail journeys around the globe, jumping on and off trains to find adventure and face challenges, while exploring the history and culture of each place he visits

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor heads to Thailand, where he emerges from the Chiang Mai train station to find himself amid a Buddhist ceremony in which the town's citizens offer gifts to monks from the local temple, with Tony joining the monks to grasp what their daily life entails. Crossing the border into Malaysia, he instantly sees echoes of British rule everywhere, before ending in Kuala Lumpur, where he discovers a city of wild contrasts

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor travels across Australia, begins his trip by boarding a sea plane to fly over Sydney before taking a sleeper train to a farm deep in the Outback where herding is done by helicopter. From there, Tony heads to the north of Queensland to learn about the uncertain future facing the world-famous Great Barrier Reef

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor travels across India and Burma, beginning in Delhi, where he visits one of the city's oldest markets, before taking a ride on the Himalayan Mountain Railway and being taught the proper way to imbibe at the Glenburn Tea Estate. He then crosses the Bay of Bengal into Burma, trying his hand at pottery and learning about toddy palm wine, finishing at the ancient city of Bagan

Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson -:- The actor travels through Finland, Sweden and Denmark, visiting Helsinki on Independence Day and soon finding himself on the main street face-to-face with Finland's president. Tony rides the Arctic Circle Train south to the mining town of Kiruna on the edge of Swedish Lapland, then boards the sleeper train to Stockholm and on to the Danish capital Copenhagen

Building the Channel Tunnel: 25 Years On -:- Part two of two. The pace hots up as the British and French tunnellers race towards the breakthrough point, which occurs on December 1, 1990 when the two sides meet. By 1994, the tunnel was open for business, but in 1996 a catastrophic fire highlighted the dangers of operating a railway tunnel that is 31 miles long

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris attempts to cross the length of Cuba, the only island in the Caribbean to boast an extensive railway network, starting in Havana in the west. This proves to be a major challenge given the unreliability of the service and the old trains regularly used, but makes for a fascinating journey to Chris's ultimate goal, the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Along the way he soaks up the sights and sounds of Havana, retraces the footsteps of the country's national hero Che Guevara, and visits the ghost town of Camilo Cienfuegos - a relic from Cuba's colonial sugar plantation era

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris embarks on an epic journey through Scandinavia, starting out on the south-west coast of Norway and travelling to the capital Oslo via a blizzard-prone mountain region that doubled as the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. He then heads to Stockholm, where he tours the Swedish city on its newly restored tram system, before crossing into Finland to visit Rovaniemi, known as Santa's home town. Chris also spends a chilly night in an ice hotel and boards a giant iron-ore train bound for Narvik, the final destination of his journey through darkness, ice and snow

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris journeys a thousand miles across Japan, starting out in Nagasaki, where the story of eastern railways began 150 years ago with the help of an enterprising Brit. In Fukuoka, he visits one of the Bullet Train's giant repair centres and in Hiroshima, he unravels what happened to its streetcar network after the world's first atomic bomb devastated the city. Along the way, Chris also meets a superstar cat and a singing conductor, while also checking into a popular trainspotter hotel and riding a steam-powered mountain railway

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris takes a railway trip across Canada, revealing how 2,500 miles of transcontinental railway was built against huge odds in just a few decades, helping to join together a vast wilderness of isolated communities and create the country that exists today. He begins his journey on one of the earliest sections of track to be built, on a train that is now a lifeline for hunters and fishermen. He then sees one of the biggest, most famous trains in the world - the Canadian, before heading for the Prairies, and on to the port of Vancouver. Along the way he also searches for Winnie the Pooh, crosses raging rivers and meets the descendant of a pioneering Yorkshire family who arrived here more than 100 years ago

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris Tarrant returns for more train journeys through some of the world's most challenging terrain. He heads to the Arctic for a trip along the Alaska Railroad, but as he arrives in the port of Seward, it's not a great start as there are no trains running, so he ends up hitching a ride with a track inspector's car. He continues his journey on a freight train heading for Anchorage, Alaska's biggest city, and finally heads north on the Aurora passenger train to the town of Healy. Along the way he checks out the tiny village of Eklutna, which has great importance for the indigenous inhabitants, and goes for an intrepid fishing trip on a thawing frozen lake

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris travels 1,500 miles in a journey from Cape Town in South Africa to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, following a hugely ambitious railway pioneered by 19th-century British colonial politician Cecil Rhodes. He starts his trip in luxury on the Blue Train, a five-star hotel on rails that takes him to the mining town of Kimberley, where he explores the diamond mine where Rhodes made his fortune

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris travels along the route of the Soviet-era Trans-Caucasus Railway, beginning in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. He then heads into Georgia, exploring Tbilisi's vintage metro system and funicular railway, before travelling to the holiday resort of Borjomi, where world-class engineering is on display in a mountain rail bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys -:- Chris travels through Argentina, starting his journey at British-built railway station in Buenos Aires and taking an overnight train to the pampas lowlands. In the major port of Bahia Blanca, Chris meets four veterans of the Falklands War and finds out what the locals now think about the British, before ending his journey by riding La Trochita, known in English as the Old Patagonian Express

Coastal Railways with Julie Walters -:- The actress travels from Cardigan Bay to Liverpool, visiting the heritage railway in Tywyn that was the inspiration for Thomas the Tank Engine and a community that is famous for knitting. She also paints a carriage in Boston Lodge, catches the famous Ffestiniog railway through Snowdonia, and visits Europe's fastest zip wire and largest pet cemetery

Combat Trains -:- Documentary series exploring the role of trains in the major conflicts of the past 150 years. This instalment considers the Second World War of 1939 to 1944

Combat Trains -:- Documentary series exploring the role of trains in the major conflicts of the past 150 years. This instalment looks into how the efficiency of the rail networks on both sides helped cause the stalemate of the First World War

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- Steeplejack and amateur historian Fred Dibnah drives his own engine to Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to see an engine repair shed and purpose-built boiler shop

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- Steeplejack and amateur historian Fred Dibnah explains what happens in railway works, visiting Bo'ness and Kinneil, Scotland, and the Boston Lodge in Ffestiniog, Wales

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- Steeplejack Fred Dibnah visits the Ffestiniog Railway in Gwynedd, Wales, where he talks about restoration work and is taken for a ride down the track by the manager Paul Lewin

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- The steeplejack and amateur historian talks about his favourite railway lines, including the Bluebell in Sussex

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- The steeplejack and amateur historian visits Llangollen Railway, where he reminisces about the past, and is given a chance to fulfil a childhood dream with driver Robert Haslam

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- The steeplejack and amateur historian visits the Great Central Railway, the only remaining main line in the country that still has steam locomotives

Fred Dibnah's Railway Collection -:- The steeplejack and amateur historian visits the Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire, where he is given a tour of the sheds and has a go on the hydraulic riveter

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores more of the US rail network, embarking on the first leg of a journey from Massachusetts to Toronto in Canada. He begins in Boston, where he rides America's first underground railway and samples oysters in the city's oldest restaurant, before heading to Lowell, renowned as the birthplace of the American industrial revolution

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- Michael Portillo starts the next leg of his journey in the Rhode Island capital of Providence, where he seeks out a historic company that counts US presidents among its customers. Travelling west to New London, Connecticut, he visits the US Coast Guard academy, where 300 cadets are trained every year, and finally visits the childhood summer home of dramatist Eugene O'Neill, whose work about the struggles of modern life transformed American theatre

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- Michael Portillo visits Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, learning how surgery was first made bearable in 1846 by a miraculous new substance. In Salem, he gets a taste of the witch hunts and the hysteria that gripped the town in the 17th century, before visiting the former home of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott in Concord

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- This time, Michael Portillo heads for Plymouth, where he learns about the indigenous tribes of Wamponoag people, before boarding the Cape Cod Central heritage bound for Hyannis. Finally, Michael makes his way to the island of Nantucket, where he discovers how New Englanders made vast fortunes from whale oil, before heading to join conservationists and whale watchers at sea

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo concludes his journey from Newcastle to the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray. Along the way he learns the secrets of Stilton cheese, discovers how trains transformed the traditional British pursuit of fox-hunting and tries to make a pork pie

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey from Newcastle to Melton Mowbray, stopping at historic Durham Cathedral. He also explores one of the first locomotives in Darlington, and takes a gothic Dracula-inspired tour of Whitby. Finally, he boards a steam train to travel across the North Yorkshire Moors

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey through Kent. He starts in Canterbury, where he finds out how the city's cathedral was saved from the Second World War air raids, then goes whelk fishing in Whitstable and explores the origins of a seaside swim in Margate

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey up the west coast of Scotland and discovers how trains helped spread the reputation of Oban whisky. He also learns about the efforts to build a railway through the desolate Rannoch Moor and visits Corrour, a favourite shooting estate of the political elite in Victorian times

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from Ayr to Skye. He begins by visiting the home town of poet Robert Burns and finds out how to make haggis. He then discovers the way in which the railway transformed the game of golf in Prestwick, and uncovers the story of the great Victorian tartan hoax in Paisley

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on the next leg of his journey from London Bridge to Hastings, exploring the lives of Victorian hop-pickers along the way. He also examines the history of Maidstone's paper industry, and discovers the role railways played in transforming cricket into a national sport

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on the next leg of his journey, travelling from London Bridge through Kent and around the scenic south coast to Hastings. He begins by visiting the Royal Observatory to learn how Greenwich Mean Time standardised time on the railways, goes through the world's first underwater tunnel at Rotherhithe and explores the historic dockyards at Chatham

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on the second leg of his journey along the west coast of Scotland from Ayr to Skye, stopping off to explore the Dumbarton shipyards that were responsible for the construction of the famous Cutty Sark. He also goes hunting for gold in the mountains, and visits Loch Lomond, one of Queen Victoria's favourite haunts

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo learns about a successful 19th-century recycling industry in the textile town of Batley in West Yorkshire. He also discovers how the railways boosted the county's rhubarb trade and meets the great-great-granddaughter of George Bradshaw

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo takes a Turkish bath in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and explores the Victorian industrial village of Saltaire in West Yorkshire. He also meets alpacas, whose fleeces made a fortune in the age of George Bradshaw, as he journeys from Newcastle to Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels along England's south coast from Hythe to Hastings. Along the way, he discovers a hardy breed of sheep on Romney Marsh, explores Kent's sparkling-wine industry and learns why the Victorians became obsessed with ferns

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Sandwich to Folkestone, exploring a secret port that helped ferry troops and vital supplies to France in the First World War. He also visits Walmer Castle, once home to hero of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington, and discovers how the Victorians initiated the building of the Channel Tunnel

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo undertakes the last leg of his journey from Swindon to Penzance. He travels to Perran Sands, where he searches for the lost church of St Piran, a place believed to be one of the earliest Christian sites in England. In Redruth, he explores the remains of the Cornish tin industry, before heading to St Ives, where he spends the night in Treganna Castle. The former politician finishes his trip in Penzance, discovering how railways link remote communities to the rest of the country

Great Continental Railway Journeys -:- Armed with his trusty 1913 Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, Michael Portillo ventures east through Romania to the shores of the Black Sea. Along the way he encounters a bloodsucking vampire in Transylvania and brown bears in the Carpathian forest, before visiting a fairytale castle with modern conveniences in Sinaia, striking oil in Ploiesti, tapping into the nation's musical soul in Bucharest and loading cargo from a crane in Constanta. This leg of his journey ends at Constanta, where Michael explores what is now emerging as Europe's largest grain port

How It's Made -:- The development processed behind the creation of carbon fibre, railcar movers and hood ornaments. Plus, the techniques used in antique frame restoration

Iarnród Enda -:- Enda Kenny presents a celebration of people, landscape and belonging as he explores the long-abandoned railway routes of Ireland, beginning with Waterford to Dungarvan. The Waterford Greenway has brought a new lease of life to this region, yet before the railway line closed it helped encourage a vibrant commercial and farming environment, as well as making a strong contribution at the end of the 19th?-century to the growth and development of the newly formed GAA. In Irish

Impossible Railways -:- A look at the planet's most incredible metropolitan railways, and how they help people solve distinctly urban problems. Including a project to upgrade New York's transit system.

Impossible Railways -:- Documentary exploring unusual rail networks from around the world, beginning with a look at trains in cities, including an inverted monorail in Wuppertal, Germany. With contributions from Susana Esteves da Fonseca

Impossible Railways -:- How some of our greatest railways have challenged engineering's finest minds in their efforts to conquer the planet's waterways, including a tunnel beneath the English Channel.

Impossible Railways -:- The wilderness lines that have pushed the frontiers of human endeavour into previously unknown territories, solving a set of complex problems along the way

Japan Railway Journal -:- After closing in 2009, the Kosaka Railroad in Akita Prefecture transformed into fun tourist attractions - see how the discontinued railway is being used to promote tourism and revitalise the area.

Japan Railway Journal -:- In 2020, Tokyu Corporation's The Royal Express began running on JR Hokkaido - and it has been gaining attention ever since. See why and how Tokyu's luxury tourist train started operating in Hokkaido.

Massive Engineering Mistakes -:- Once considered the eighth Wonder of the World, the Kinzua Bridge was the longest railway bridge in the world. But, a freak tornado destroyed it - why did it fall?

Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain -:- Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull head to Northern Ireland, where they find out about the invention of the ejector seat, and visit Armagh Observatory, a railway museum located inside a barber shop, and SS Nomadic, known as Titanic's little sister

Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain -:- Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull head to Wales and discover a strong industrial engineering history, sailing across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest navigable aqueduct in the world. The tiny village of Hawarden gives the duo the opportunity to stay overnight in the UK's only residential library, before they make an attempt on the summit of Mount Snowdon itself - via the mountain's iconic rack-and-pinion narrow gauge steam railway train

Richard Hammond's Big -:- In this edition, Richard ventures beneath the Alps into the world's longest underground railway connection, the Brenner Base Tunnel

Secrets of the Underground -:- A legendary train filled with stolen Nazi gold is said to be hidden in Poland. Rob and Stefan explore deep under the earth's surface to uncover the truth

Steam Train Britain -:- Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway are celebrating their annual Victorian Weekend, while in south Devon, silver service waiter Andy Leech runs the three-course Sunday lunch

Steam Train Britain -:- On the Welsh Highland Railway, a newly built Pullman carriage is on its way to Caernarfon Station and a Saddle Tank Loco is being completely restored on the East Lancashire Railway

The Big Bang Theory -:- Sheldon and Amy take a train ride to the Napa Valley with Howard and Bernadette on Valentine's Day, while Leonard and Penny head to the vets when they volunteer to look after Raj's dog. Comedy, starring Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco

The Day I Should Have Died -:- Pam Warren was engulfed by a fireball in a rail disaster that left hundreds dead or injured. She suffered burns and wore a mask over her face after a string of operations

The Train Robbers (1973) -:- A thief's grieving widow persuades a gunslinger to help her find a cache of her husband's stolen gold and return it to the rightful owners. However, a group of Mexican bandits and a mysterious stranger are also after the loot. Western, starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor and Ben Johnson

Totally Bonkers Guinness World Records -:- Matt Edmondson narrates another selection of records, including the heaviest train pulled with a beard, the furthest distance as a human arrow and the smallest man's suit

Train Cruise -:- Journey through valleys in northern Kyoto Prefecture and admire the spectacular Sea of Japan - we ride attractive trains, learn about culture and history, and visit places that appear in legends.

Transsiberian (2008) -:- American couple Roy and Jessie are heading from China to Moscow on the Transsiberian railway when they befriend fellow travellers Carlos and Abby. However, when Roy fails to board the train following a station stop, Jessie begins to suspect her new travelling companions are harbouring a deadly secret. Thriller, starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega and Ben Kingsley

Walk the Line -:- Barra Best continues to explore lost railway routes in Northern Ireland, visiting lines that ran through towns and villages around Lough Neagh

World's Greatest Inventions -:- The idea of underground railways, which were initially ridiculed, only to change the world as giant drills cut through the earth and electric trains were used

World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above -:- This episode follows the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a steeply graded narrow-gauge line connecting the plains of New Jalpaiguri in eastern India to the foothills of the Himalayas in Darjeeling. Led by a century-old steam loco, it is filmed from above as it conquers the world's tallest mountain range.

World's Most Scenic Railway Journeys -:- The West Highland Line is one of the world's truly legendary train routes, crossing spectacular Scottish moors and mountains as it heads towards Skye. Starting in Glasgow, it glides towards Loch Lomond, the world's largest inland stretch of water. It then sweeps north to enter the wild and windswept landscape of Rannoch Moor. After ascending to Corrour, Britain's highest station, the journey passes Ben Nevis, the UK's tallest mountain and then across the famous Glenfinnan viaduct. The coastal town of Mallaig is gateway to the Isle of Skye with its world-famous Highland cuisine and many breathtaking views


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©  Matthew Shaw 2022