RAILDATE 2022.11.11

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Elizabeth line through running

Through running from the west to east commenced this week. The inaugural train, the 08:54 Reading-Abbey Wood, is seen approaching Maidenhead on Sunday 6th November. After joining the train to Canary Wharf (58 minutes) I spent the day train-surfing in London.

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Thank you to this week's contributors.

Where am I this week?

I spent the whole day here yesterday. Which station is it?

Last week's Which station is this?

Answer: Hebden Bridge. Congratulations to Paul Hopper and Richard Maund for their correct answers.

The narrow, steep-sided Calder Valley is crammed with a river, the Rochdale canal, the first transpennine railway, the A646, and previously a Halifax-Hebden Bridge electric tramway.

The weaving town of Hebden Bridge fell on hard times. The 1981 network diagram shows limited service towards Preston and none towards Huddersfield, but by 2005 recovery was well in progress. Now a property hotspot for commuters able to travel in four directions, Hebden Bridge has been semi-seriously promoted as the central point for a virtual Northern Powerhouse ring-city.

Recent reinstatement of a curve allows Burnley-Manchester trains to take a new line via Todmorden. Tod is now on the up. Small-scale improvements to rail connectivity help to re-energise towns and are good value for money.


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

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Abandoned Engineering -:- An eerie, empty country village which hides a sad secret, a mysterious tower battered by the elements and a disused railway deep beneath the streets of a city

Agatha Christie's Poirot -:- The Belgian sleuth is asked to vet potential suitors vying for the hand of an Australian heiress and discreetly accompanies her on a rail journey aboard the Plymouth Express, only to find himself investigating a jewel theft. Mystery, with David Suchet and Julian Wadham

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

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- In Montreal, Michael Portillo discovers how French and British colonial roots have influenced the city's construction, cuisine and culture. Undaunted by his guidebook's description of the Lachine Rapids, he embarks on a white-knuckle boat ride down the St. Lawrence River

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- In Montreal, Michael Portillo discovers how French and British colonial roots have influenced the city's construction, cuisine and culture. Undaunted by his guidebook's description of the treacherous Lachine Rapids, the one-time MP gets a thorough soaking on a white-knuckle boat ride down the St. Lawrence River. In the Canadian capital, Ottawa, Michael visits the country's parliament to hear about the birth of the new nation after Confederation in 1867. And at Ottawa's historic Central Experimental Farm, Michael hears of the pioneering discoveries, which launched a Canadian wheat boom

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- Michael Portillo's rail voyage continues through Connecticut heading north through the scenic New England states. In New Haven, a crash course in rowing takes place on a stretch of water where college teams from Yale and Harvard have battled for victory since 1852. Making tracks north to Vermont, Michael experiences 19th-century rural farm life, when its green pastures made it the butter capital of the world. In New Hampshire, he ascends the steep slopes of Mount Washington aboard the world's first mountain climbing cog railway

Great American Railroad Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Vermont to New York. His first stop is Burlington, where he learns how sustainable and technological innovations have transformed the logging industry. Following the old trade route across Lake Champlain, he hears how victory in a battle during the War of 1812 gave the US a new confidence on the world stage. In Plattsburgh, Michael learns of the surprising origins of a classic Christmas carol, before he ventures into the Adirondack Mountains. In Lake Placid, he braves the steep curves of an Olympic bobsleigh run, while his last stop is an American fort mistakenly built in Canada

Great British Railway Journeys -:- In East Yorkshire, Michael Portillo goes bird-watching on the cliffs of Flamborough Head before travelling to Filey in North Yorkshire, where he learns to decipher traditional knitting patterns. He then continues his journey to the Victorian seaside resort of Scarborough, and views a 4,000-year-old skeleton called Gristhorpe Man

Great British Railway Journeys -:- In the final leg of his journey from Ayr to Skye, Michael Portillo discovers how the railways provided Second World War commandos with the means to travel to the isolated landscape of Lochailort, where they were able to train without attracting the attention of German spies. He also learns why langoustines have replaced herring as the best catch in the fishing port of Mallaig, and explores the history of Highland crofters

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey following George Bradshaw's footsteps, as the third leg of his trip from Preston to Kirkcaldy sees him embarking on a two-day tour of the Lake District. He begins in Windermere, where he travels by steamboat to the north of the lake, and continues to Claife viewing station, where he learns about the water pollution caused by increasing levels of tourism. He spends the night in Grasmere, and the following day reaches Kendal, where he buys local delicacies and meets a farmer who explains the impact of railways on farming practices

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey from Ayr to Skye and investigates the parallel 'roads' etched in the side of Glen Roy - one of the geological mysteries of the 19th century. He also finds out how the Victorians put a weather observatory on the top of Ben Nevis, and crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct by steam train

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey inspired by George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. He searches for the last liquorice grower in Pontefract, finds out how the railways transformed Hull into one of the largest white-fish ports in the world, and goes fishing for sea bass in Bridlington

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey, travelling on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey steam railway, finding out about Roman discoveries in York, and taking to the air in the Network Rail helicopter

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 the first leg of a journey to London from Buxton, Derbyshire, where he discovers how railways inspired a building craze and boosted tourism. In the Peak District, he joins a team of volunteers repairing damage done to ancient peat landscapes during the Industrial Revolution, and near the quarries of Stanton Moor he learns how trains transported Derbyshire's famous sandstone all over England

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 embarks on the second leg of his journey from Preston to Kirkcaldy, returning to the historic Settle-Carlisle line he helped save from dereliction when he was Minister of State for Transport in the 1980s. Here, engineer Tony Feshini describes what life was like for the people who originally built Ribblehead Viaduct, before Michael visits Dent, Cumbria, home to the highest railway station in England

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook to discover how the railways have affected people and find out what remains of Bradshaw's Britain. He begins in Liverpool by learning to speak Scouse, before researching the first railway fatality and exploring the origins of the Eccles cake

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the first leg of his second journey, Michael Portillo heads to Kirkcaldy in Fife, finding out along the way how the mill town of Preston in Lancashire gave birth to the Temperance Movement. In Blackpool, he enjoys a performance in the Tower Ballroom and discovers the railways had a direct impact on the town's birth as a resort. After a stroll along the pier with local comedian Joey Blower, Michael visits Morecambe Bay

Great British Railway Journeys -:- The second leg of Michael Portillo's journey from Liverpool to Scarborough takes him from Manchester to Bury. Along the way, he finds out about the life of Victorian train enthusiast George Bradshaw, gets fitted for a trilby hat in Denton, and learns how railways helped contribute to the nation's love affair with fish and chips

Great Continental Railway Journeys -:- Armed with his 1913 railway guide, Michael Portillo travels from the Swiss Alps to the shores of Lake Geneva. Along the way, he is caught up in a war zone with the Red Cross and rescued from an 'avalanche' by a St Bernard puppy. He takes to the skies in a vintage bi-plane to retrace the epic journey of the pioneering pilot who was first to fly over the Alps, and tries his hand at watchmaking, James Bond style

Impossible Railways -:- Engineering breakthroughs that allow trains to go faster than ever, including technology that allows the navigation of the winding mountains of Spain at speed.

Impossible Railways -:- Engineering that has overcome some of the greatest mountain ranges to create innovative railways, including a tunnel in the Swiss Alps and a zig-zag railway in Ecuador.

Impossible Railways -:- How engineers have built railways across mountains, including tunnels through the Swiss Alps and an Australian track that runs up a near-vertical cliff face

Impossible Railways -:- How railway engineers have crossed valleys, canyons and waterways, including the Forth Bridge and a viaduct in rural New Zealand

Japan Railway Journal -:- Discover the secrets of Japan's railways, from the newest technologies and systems in use to travel tips and must-see places.

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.

Mega Shippers -:- In Texas, the process of unloading a 726-tonne column requires everyone's attention, while in London, a rail worker sends 22 train carriages of cement across the city

Overland Pacific (1954) -:- An investigator tries to find the reason behind constant attacks on the railroad. Western, starring Jock Mahoney, Peggie Castle and Adele Jergens

Seconds from Disaster -:- An investigation into the 1999 Paddington train crash that killed 31 people, asking who was to blame and whether the accident could have been avoided

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

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

World's Greatest Train Journeys from Above -:- The Ghan, Australia's most luxurious train, crosses an entire continent from Adelaide on the southern coast to the tropical landscape of Darwin in the north. On its two-day journey, it faces intense heat, the risk of collisions with wild animals and the threat of increasingly extreme weather events. An army of engineers must work around the clock to maintain The Ghan and its 3,000 km of track

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

World's Most Scenic Railway Journeys -:- Trips across regions such as Canada, Scandinavia, Europe and New Zealand through the characters who travel, work and live near them. Narrated by Bill Nighy


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©  Matthew Shaw 2022