RAILDATE 2022.12.30

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Final edition of 2022

There are sections on:

UK Rail News



North East

North West





International Rail News





Other Transport Modes





Thank you to this week's contributors, and welcome to John Grimley for his first link.

The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

At the current terminus of a steam operated narrow gauge heritage line somewhere in England (no, not Wales). A Drewry diesel is on yard duties. Where is this terminus? And which line?

Please email your answers to raildate.co.uk@gmail.com

Last week's Where is this?

This splendid building closed as a city centre railway station in the early 1970s and lay derelict for 40 years. Now reborn as a magnificent venue, hotel, conference centre. Where is it?

Answer: Wolverhampton Low Level (then), now called Grand Station.

Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Simon Wass, Richard Maund, Paul Hopper, and Peter Davies.

The station was briefly called Wolverhampton Joint when it opened in 1854 as a joint scheme of the GWR and the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway. Paddington - Birkenhead trains eventually ceased in 1968 with completion of the West Coast Electrification but a stubby local service to Birmingham persisted until 1972, and parcels beyond that.

The listed John Fowler buildings survived as offices for a while before falling into decay.

The site has been reborn as Grand Station, a wedding venue, conference centre etc. The Down platforms have been enclosed to make two function rooms, and a Premier Inn occupies the Up platforms - leaving the trackbed intact as a garden area.


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

Click me to open/close [Online only, not in the weekly email]

Abandoned Engineering -:- An abandoned railway station near a town in Spain that is home to just 500 people and a record-breaking Arctic facility that goes deep below the surface

Abandoned Engineering -:- The world's most impressive disused railway bridges, including the biggest wooden trestle bridge in the world, which was closed down due to hurricane damage

American Titans -:- The battle between Cornelius Vanderbilt and his old friend Daniel Drew to run the Erie Railroad

Bullet Train Down (2022) -:- On its maiden run, the world's fastest bullet train is rigged with a bomb that will explode if it dips below 200 mph. Action thriller, starring Lesley Grant

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Armed with his Bradshaw's guide, Michael Portillo reaches Birmingham and discovers how a radical reformer made his mark on the 'city of a thousand trades'. At Highbury Hall, he finds Joseph Chamberlain's mansion home and hears how he established a political dynasty including a prime minister and a foreign secretary. Next stop is Cradley Heath, once one of five chain-making towns in the West Midlands. At the centre of Britain's ceramic industry in Stoke-on-Trent, Michael visits Wedgwood, established by 'Queen's Potter' Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 and visited in 1913 by King George V and Queen Mary

Great British Railway Journeys -:- In the elegant coastal town of Aberystwyth, Michael Portillo visits the National Library of Wales, set high on a hill with views over Cardigan Bay. His tour of North Wales draws to a close in style at the birthplace of the nation's first classical music festival, Gregynog Hall, near Newtown

Great British Railway Journeys -:- In the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia, Michael Portillo reaches an abandoned mine with an art-related history. He also explores the harbour town of Porthmadog, and the fantasy village Portmeirion, crafted by architect Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis, and made famous by The Prisoner TV series

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo arrives in Croydon, where he hears the story of a mixed-race composer who was once celebrated but is now forgotten. At Three Bridges station, he is delighted to find a recently built depot and its fleet of new Class 700 trains - and is given the great honour of washing one down. In Lewes, he makes a beeline for Charleston, the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and in Shoreham-by-Sea, Michael discovers how magnificent Edwardians in flying machines took off from the oldest licensed airport in the country

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his 1936 Bradshaw's-inspired railway tour of north Wales. He begins in the coastal city of Bangor, where he hears how, when war broke out in September 1939, 2,000 children from the cities of northern England were evacuated by train to north Wales. Heading inland alongside the River Conwy, Michael reaches Tal y Cafn, before investigating the worst dam disaster in Welsh history in Dolgarrog. Finally in Betws y Coed, he attempts to climb one of Snowdonia's lesser peaks

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey from Northern Ireland across the water to Scotland. Leaving from the seaport of Larne, he reaches Stranraer and the Mull of Galloway, where in a lighthouse built by railway engineer Robert Stevenson he discovers a magnificent machine, installed at the turn of the 20th century

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on the final leg of his journey following the route of the North Country Continental service. Along the way he meets volunteers on the Mid-Suffolk Light railway and is permitted to drive 'The Middy'. In Leiston, Michael uncovers the world's first purpose-built assembly line, while in Ipswich the work of a young Victorian engineering prodigy impresses the ex-politician. At his destination of Harwich the presenter discovers how the port became a gateway to the continent, only to be superseded by a new deep-water port further inland

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo enjoys a ukulele lesson in Haddington, East Lothian, birthplace of the Victorian self-improvement guru Samuel Smiles. In Musselburgh, he gets a taste of life as a fishwife, before exploring Edinburgh where a popular 19th-century mode of transport is making a comeback. Michael also visits the Royal College of Surgeons, where he discovers the macabre history of body snatchers and murderers and heads onwards to the University of Edinburgh Medical School, to learn how students use sophisticated technology to study anatomy

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores an Edwardian utopia in Letchworth, where he meets a fourth generation citizen who introduces him to the town's community spirit. He then heads towards London, and discovers a favoured haunt of King Edward VII, before sampling the monarch's favourite tipple, the King's Ginger

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores a Swiss garden in Bedfordshire, drives a 'locomobile', and at Rothampsted, he discovers the Victorian origins of the fertiliser industry

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores the Britain of the 1930s as he sets out on another adventure. Beginning just outside Newcastle in Jarrow, Michael uncovers the desperation that led 200 men to march 300 miles to Westminster in order to petition the government for work. The first leg of his journey ends Spennymoor, Co Durham, where he meets the son of a miner who became one of the most famous 20th-century artists of the region

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo falls into line with the University of Glasgow's Officer Training Corps, where he joins students for drill. The political pundit then heads west along the Firth of Clyde to Helensburgh, where he discovers a pioneering group of artists known as the Glasgow Boys. The idyllic West Highland Line takes Michael deep into the Highlands to Inveraray and the ancestral home of the Clan Campbell and Dukes of Argyll. Michael's final stop is Connel Ferry, near Oban, where, on the Achnacloich Estate, he discovers a Highland calf whose breed has become an icon of the Highlands

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo heads for the Hertfordshire village of Perry Green to learn about Henry Moore became one of the defining artists of British modernism. In Cambridge, he revisits his former university to hear about a treacherous time in its past

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo is in Suffolk on the last leg of his 1930s Bradshaw's inspired tour of East Anglia, visiting the racecourse at Newmarket and the Roman Catholic shrine at Walsingham

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Darlington to Dunbar, following the route taken by George Stephenson's steam engine on its 1825 journey, and visiting Lewis Carroll's childhood home

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Glasgow to Cumbrae, learning about a forgotten Scottish expedition to the Antarctic and how one woman led a protest against high rents in the city

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Maltby to Hinckley, going whippet racing and trying to understand the appeal of Marmite, before a look around the Triumph motorcycle factory

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Newark-on-Trent to Stockton-on-Tees, and a scandalous novel written in Thirsk leads him to a wildlife centre, where he feeds a hungry hedgehog

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo picks up his rail journey from Warwick to Rye. In Reading, he traces the origins of education for workers, and in Cliveden explores a great Italianate mansion

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo reaches the capital on his rail journey from Warwick to Rye in East Sussex. In Ealing, he is transformed for the silver screen by expert hair and make-up, before travelling to Fulham, where he heads underground to explore London's new super sewer. Then, Michael visits the London School of Economics and Political Science in central London, before finally arriving in Kensington

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo reaches the Kent seaside resort of Herne Bay, where he learns about a pioneering aviatrix who began her working life as a typist in Hull. In the seaside town of Whitstable, he tucks into its famous staple, oysters. Michael later crosses the North Downs to Lenham, and visits Leeds Castle

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo's 1930s Bradshaw's-inspired railway tour continues in north Wales. In Colwyn Bay, Michael hears how an army of civil servants from the Ministries of Food and Agriculture in London invaded the quiet seaside town, before visiting an amusement park in the holiday resort of Rhyl. Crossing the Menai Strait by the Britannia Bridge, Michael arrives on Anglesey and the elegant seat of the Marquesses of the island

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo sets off from Oakham in Rutland, where he learns about a noble tradition dating back to the Middle Ages and decides to take part. Heading east to Stamford, Lincolnshire, he discovers why the town is such an attractive location for period dramas, while a ghoulish scene awaits in Peterborough when he visits a Victorian operating theatre where railwaymen were treated. Michael's last stop on his journey is Christ's College at Cambridge University, where he finds out about the student days of Charles Darwin

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo sets off on the first leg of a journey across Northern Ireland to Argyll and Bute, beginning by travelling from Newry to Portadown

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo sets off on the first leg of a journey from the Midlands to Rye in East Sussex, beginning by travelling from Warwick to Radley in Oxfordshire

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo sets out on the first leg of a trip from London to Edinburgh aboard the Flying Scotsman, beginning at King's Cross as he heads for York

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo's journey from the Irish Sea to the North Sea continues by tram from Manchester. At the imposing town hall of the world's first industrial city, he comes face to face with the Victorian scientist who invented modern atomic theory. The latest stage ends at Silkstone Common, where he tracks down the forge where a Victorian metallurgist created wrought iron axles strong enough for railway rolling stock

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Blackpool to Manchester, along the way unveiling a monument to 87 railwaymen of the London and North Western Railway who died in the Great War

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Gainsborough to Ely, along the way learning about a Victorian machine that changed shopping for ever and the poet Alfred Tennyson

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo visits Crewe, a town steeped in railway history, to investigate the making of cinema classic The Night Mail during the 1930s. He then heads to Chester to discover the interwar origins of Britain's most popular zoo, then goes across the border to the Welsh village of Gresford, scene of one of Britain's worst mining disasters

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael starts his journey in Chapeltown, Sheffield, following what was once known as the North Country Continental service, and finishing in the engineering centre of Doncaster

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On a journey from Belfast to Portrush, Michael Portillo investigates the work of author and Narnia creator CS Lewis, and visits the Royal Portrush Golf Club

Great Continental Railway Journeys -:- Armed with his trusty 1913 Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, Michael Portillo travels east through the Balkans along the most exotic section of the route taken by the Orient Express. His journey begins in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, and includes stops in the ancient city of Plovdiv, the region of Rumelia, and former capital of the Ottoman Empire Edirne. Arriving in Istanbul, Michael takes a trip on the Bosphorus - a much-coveted stretch of water - finds out about Turkish delight and travels along the Marmaray metro line, which connects European and Asian Istanbul via a tunnel beneath the Bosphorus

Great Continental Railway Journeys -:- In Stockholm, Michael Portillo braves a precarious tour of the city from its rooftops, before boarding a heritage tram to get the lowdown on 1930s Sweden from an expert

Great Continental Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his journey around the island of Sicily, heading inland from Agrigento towards the picturesque but remote village of Gangi. Here, he meets a local historian and traces the story behind this notorious mafia hideout of the 1930s. Later, Michael concludes his Sicilian journey on the circular railway around Mount Etna

Great Indian Railway Journeys -:- Guided by his Bradshaw's 1913 Handbook of Indian, Foreign and Colonial Travel, Michael Portillo embarks on a rail journey from Amritsar to Shimla. Along the way he helps to feed people at the world's largest free kitchen, and travels the railway routes used by millions of migrants during Partition. Beginning in the Sikh holy city, Michael is dazzled by the beauty of the Golden Temple and awed by the scale of its langar - the world's largest free kitchen. His route then takes him through the Punjab, and at Kalka, Michael glimpses the Himalayas for the first time

Great Indian Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Jodhpur to Delhi, heading into the desert to take a camel ride to a village where life has changed little in centuries, before embarking on the Jaipur-Agra-Delhi 'Golden Triangle' tour - India's must-do itinerary in 1913 as today. Michael also visits Agra, where he learns how the Taj Mahal, built by a Mughal emperor, was restored by a British viceroy at the time of his Bradshaw's guide book

Hornby: A Model World -:- Designer Sam creates a model of Winston Churchill's funeral wagon and first-time modeller Simon builds Britain's biggest model railway layout from his memory

Hornby: A Model World -:- Record producer Pete Waterman is commissioned by Chester Cathedral to construct a monster layout in tribute to the unsung 19th-century railway builder Thomas Brassey

Hornby: A Model World -:- The model-making company, home to four iconic brands, Hornby, Airfix, Scalextric and Corgi, opens its doors to reveal how their dedicated team of designers strive to shrink a new generation of mighty machines. A perfect diecast replica of a 1940's Merchant Navy steam locomotive is the task for Hornby's design team

Inside the Steam Train Museum -:- Documentary following the endearing characters who banded together to keep Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk - which is run as a charity - going. In the first edition, new volunteer Phil learns how to drive a steam engine, despite doubting his abilities. Brian the museum's carpenter repairs a golden cockerel for the Victorian gallopers, but struggles when it comes to fitting it

James Nesbitt: Disasters That Changed Britain -:- The actor explores some of Britain's most tragic disasters, starting with the 1999 rail accident at Ladbroke Grove in London that left 31 dead

Japan Railway Journal -:- Eleven years ago, a section of the JR Tadami Line closed due to heavy rain. On October 2022, the line resumed full operation. See how the locals overcame challenges to bring back the Tadami Line.

Japan Railway Journal -:- The Japanese railway industry has seen the introduction of many unique trains in recent years - see how new design elements and technological advancements are causing Japanese trains to evolve.

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

Mysteries at the Museum -:- Don explores a plaster cast of hoof prints made by a mythical beast, a colossal war machine and a presidential train car that remains shrouded in mystery

Oli Wyn -:- The crew prepares the train for its next trip

Paddington Station 24/7 -:- In preparation for its launch of a new fleet of intercity express trains, Great Western Railway and Network Rail work hard to upgrade the track and the stations serve them. To mark the 175th anniversary of Queen Victoria becoming the first monarch to travel by train, the Queen will make the same journey from Slough to Paddington on one of the new trains. Further along the line at Reading, revenue protection inspector Lyn has been alerted to a man travelling without a ticket

Paddington Station 24/7 -:- It is the height of summer and as the temperature soars, tensions rise as commuters face delays caused by a broken down train outside central London. In severe heat, the tracks can expand and with fears of them buckling, it falls to the team in Network Rail's Swindon control centre to manage the situation, and they are left with little choice but to issue speed restrictions of just 5mph

Paddington Station 24/7 -:- Signal problems lead to a restricted service during rush hour, which causes severe congestion at the station and the same equipment causes more grief 24 hours later - leading to the complete suspension of the line. Jonny and his team of engineers are replacing a 60ft section of rail as one of the clamps holding it in place has weakened, but they have just four hours to complete the complex task before the morning rush begins

Paddington Station 24/7 -:- Staff have to deal with 20,000 football fans descending on the western network bound for the Champions League Final in Cardiff. Extra trains have been laid on, but getting everyone home after the match is complicated by a major terrorist incident at London Bridge

Paddington Station 24/7 -:- The staff step back in time when they venture down into tunnels under the station to carry out fire safety checks, and it is the start of a bank holiday getaway for thousands of commuters. Jennie, Great Western Railway's new customer ambassador, manages to seat a troupe of young cheerleaders all together, but faces a much bigger challenge when fire alarms go off during rush hour

Rails into Laramie (1954) -:- An army officer tries to keep the construction of a railway running while fighting corruption in a nearby town. Western, with John Payne, Dan Duryea and Lee Van Cleef

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

The Architecture the Railways Built -:- Tim Dunn explores the disused Tube station Down Street in Mayfair, that played a crucial tactical role during the Second World War, and tours Rotterdam's new Centraal station with the man who designed it

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) -:- A British colonel in a Japanese PoW camp is ordered to build a railway bridge over a river, forging a vital communications link. At first he refuses to obey, but eventually agrees to take the project on - and becomes so obsessed with the task that he creates a dilemma for an American soldier sent to destroy the structure. David Lean's Oscar-winning Second World War drama, starring Alec Guinness, William Holden and Jack Hawkins

To End All Wars (2001) -:- Four PoWs learn to rely on one another for support while they are held captive by Japanese forces during the Second World War, and made to build a railway through the stifling Burmese jungle. Fact-based drama, starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland, Ciaran McMenamin and Mark Strong

Train Cruise -:- Train rides provide panoramas of landscapes and lifestyles, with opportunities to hop off and meet the people. The tracks run to well-known and less-explored parts of Japan.

Walking Britain's Lost Railways -:- Rob Bell explores more abandoned rail routes, beginning with one that cut an outrageous path through the dramatic hills and gorges of the Peak District - part of the 1860s express route between London and Manchester. From Matlock to the spa town splendour of Buxton, Rob unearths a tale of Victorian ambition, as he travels along a route filled with great engineering, which is now a beloved part of the Peak District National Park

Walking Britain's Lost Railways -:- Rob Bell heads to Norfolk to follow a lost railway through some of the quietest - yet wealthiest - parts of the country. This railway was a curious latecomer when it was built in the 1880s and it threatened to rudely thrust the region into the industrial age. Rob explores an entire engineering town built from scratch, learns how Norfolk's agriculture was super-charged, and sees for himself where thousands of holidaying Midlanders arrived to sail the Norfolk Broads. The line put Norfolk on the frontline of the war so Rob takes to the skies to spot dozens of hastily constructed airfields

Walking Britain's Lost Railways -:- Rob Bell heads to the industrial heartlands of north-east England, beginning on Wearside, where he learns about the world's first railway designed for steam locomotives. Rob also visits the 'living' museum at Beamish and rides a railway from George Stephenson's day, following an old line into Hartlepool, where a medieval port was turned into a mega-centre of coal, rail and shipping in just one generation

Walking Britain's Lost Railways -:- Rob Bell travels to Bangor in north Wales, where he explores a lost line that was built in 1801 to transport Welsh slate from the local quarry, which once was the largest in the world, and now provides the backdrop for the world's fastest zip line. He also follows the Victorian railway inland to Llanberis, where tourists still flock to ride a special train to the summit of Snowdon, and discovers why the heirs to the throne have been styled 'Prince of Wales' for seven centuries

Walking Britain's Lost Railways -:- Until it closed in 1966 the Deeside Railway followed the River Dee upstream from Aberdeen into what is now the Cairngorms National Park. As luck would have it, Queen Victoria purchased Balmoral just as the line was set to open, giving the route prestige. Rob Bell retraces the route, visiting a shooting estate, tossing a caber and finding an unmistakable Highland 'brand' that all owe their existence to this royal railway age. He also explores a quiet valley of cattle farming and timber sawmills, and, in truth, a simple railway that struggled for decades to justify its own existence, despite its royal veneer

Winter Walks -:- Poet laureate Simon Armitage takes a coastal walk along Yorkshire's enchanting and historic frontier with the North Sea. Starting in Ravenscar, Simon follows a disused railway line, passing former quarries and brickworks, before walking along the beach from Boggle Hole to the picture-perfect Robin Hood's Bay


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©  Matthew Shaw 2022