RAILDATE 2023.03.17

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The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

This ramshackle British Rail shed and loco D2955 survived well into the 1980s. Where is it?

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

Last week's Where is this?

This train speeds along inside the world's longest airport concourse. Where is it?

Answer: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, USA. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Peter Davies, Paul Hopper, and Peter Tisdale.

The ExpressTram is an automated people mover that runs for nearly one mile inside Concourse A. It was developed as a joint venture between a lift (elevator) manufacturer and a ski-tow manufacturer, so is a hybrid mode of transport - to say the least.

More info ...

My son Will started a new job designing deep-level tech for electric cars, with a company based near Cambridge, GB. Two weeks in Novi (a suburb of Detroit) was his rather special intro. Delta flies London-Detroit directly. Photo credit: Will Shaw


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 -:- 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

Amazing Railway Adventures with Nick Knowles -:- From Lao Cai on the Chinese border, via the misty mountains around Sa Pa, Nick Knowles heads south on a sleeper train to bustling Hanoi during his exploration of Vietnam. From there he travels on to the port at Haiphong, gateway to beautiful Ha Long Bay

Amazing Railway Adventures with Nick Knowles -:- The presenter explores Norway, including the Viking capital of Trondheim. Via tree-lined fjords and snow-capped mountain scenery, Nick travels north through pretty Mosjoen with its brightly painted wooden waterfront houses to the coastal city of Bodo

Ancient Discoveries -:- Uncovering ancient technology, including a railway built by the Greeks and Chinese wind-powered vehicles

Brief Encounter (1945) -:- A suburban housewife meets a married doctor by chance in a railway station waiting room. Later, their paths cross many times until the pair become friends and their meetings a fixed arrangement. But as their feelings for each other transform from friendship into passion, both come to realise the affair is doomed to fail. David Lean's romantic drama, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard

Britain's Greatest Bridges -:- Engineer Rob Bell sets out on a journey to discover how six of Britain's most stunning bridges were designed and built. Completed in 1890, the Forth Rail Bridge now carries around 200 trains every day. The last of the great Victorian engineering triumphs, it has grown to symbolise Scotland as much as Edinburgh Castle, bagpipes or kilts. But, as Rob learns, this incredible engineering achievement was born from the tragedy of the 1879 Tay Bridge disaster, and 73 deaths were connected with its construction and immediate aftermath

Cat Ballou (1965) -:- A schoolteacher returns to her home town to find a ruthless railroad developer is trying to snatch her family's land. When her father is murdered by a hitman for refusing to sell his ranch, she resolves to defend the property, enlisting the aid of two small-time crooks and a drunken gunslinger with an equally inebriated horse. Musical comedy Western, starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin, with music by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye

Destroyed in Seconds -:- Footage of a dragboat racer ejecting while travelling at 165mph, a 100-ton train crashing into a bus, and a skydiver cartwheeling out of control. Ron Pitts presents a documentary series investigating the natural disasters and accidents that have caused excessive damage, from tornados to plane crashes

Dial 999 -:- Thieves target the Edinburgh to London mail train. The only clue Maguire can find is a footprint by the railway track. Guest starring Patrick Magee

Driving The Train 1959 -:- Instructional film on driving diesel trains

Extreme Engineering -:- Danny Forster examines the $18billion Gotthard Base Tunnel project - a 35-mile passage through the Swiss Alps that will be the world's biggest rail tunnel on its completion in 2017

Great Australian Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo continues his exploration of southeast Australia in Melbourne, Victoria, where he visits a home in the suburbs of Lilydale that once belonged to Dame Nellie Melba. Later, he travels through the rainforest of the Dandenong mountains across a spectacular trestle bridge, before reaching St Kilda, where he enjoys a special screening of a feature film that explores the exploits of the notorious outlaw, Ned Kelly

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 continues following the route Queen Victoria took from Windsor Castle to the Isle of Wight, and reveals the oil fields hidden beneath some of England's seaside resorts. During his journey, he also explores the role the Dorset town of Weymouth played in the D-Day landings during the Second World War, and visits the site of Victorian Britain's most famous building rock in Portland

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 along the Great Eastern Line, which ventures from the edge of England to the heart of London. In this leg, he examines the Victorians' fascination with the Suffolk village of Dunwich, Britain's answer to Atlantis, and discovers how nearby Felixstowe became home to the UK's biggest container port

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 to follow the route of the Great Eastern Line, enjoying a ride on a miniature railway hidden beneath London. During his trip, he also rings the bells of Bow Church, and tries his hand at announcing at Fenchurch Street station

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo crosses the county line from Devon into Somerset, seeing first-hand how willow farmers sought to overcome the challenge from the production of synthetic plastics during the 1930s and hearing how tourism has spread across the region, especially amongst the young. In Bath, Michael visits the former home of a refugee emperor, whose country was invaded by the Italian dictator Mussolini, and in whose name a religious movement began that now flourishes worldwide. Travelling east into Wiltshire, he reaches the largest training area of the British Army, Salisbury Plain

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on a railway journey through the Republic of Ireland from Co Kerry to the city of Galway. On the first leg, he travels from Killarney to Cobh, sampling 19th-century delicacies and exploring a stunning landscape that achieved fame due to rails and royals

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo embarks on the final leg of his journey through the Republic of Ireland, travelling from Athlone to Galway. Along the way he examines historic jewellery with royal connections, encounters a people's king and meets up with a traditional Irish singing group

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores the east of England en route to Lincolnshire, discovering how the Crossrail project is helping to conserve birds and taking a gelato cart to Southend

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo explores the east of England in the inter-war period, starting in Canterbury, Kent, where he treads the boards as he uncovers the political message behind a 1936 play, inspired by the 12th-century murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket. In Maidstone, he learns of the international origins of the most British symbol of remembrance. Outside Sevenoaks, Michael visits the country home of Winston Churchill, and discovers how the 1930s were wilderness years at Chartwell, as Churchill warned against Nazi appeasement. Once in the capital, he heads to Alexandra Palace, the birthplace of television

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo follows in the footsteps of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel as he travels from London to Newton Abbot in Devon. He begins by taking a trip from Paddington station to Warminster in Wiltshire, along the way learning about a Victorian asylum, giving a historic horse a facelift and making malt the 19th-century way

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo has a go at playing Winchester Cathedral's Victorian organ as he continues his tour of Britain's railways. He also goes behind the scenes at a rail works in Eastleigh that began operating in the 19th century, and travels to the Isle of Wight, one of Queen Victoria's favourite holiday destinations

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Brockenhurst to Poole. He heads to the New Forest, where he seeks venomous adders, discovers a library in Wimborne containing rare books and visits 19th-century potteries that are still trading today

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo journeys from Dufftown to Aviemore, learning how Victorian whisky trains were raided by robbers. He also travels along one of Scotland's most impressive viaducts and discovers that life is not always sweet on a shortbread production line

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo learns more about the country's railways, beginning with the Great Eastern Line, which runs along the edge of England and into central London. On his travels, the former politician discovers the grave-robbing history of Great Yarmouth and tries his hand at working a Victorian swing bridge in Reedham, Norfolk. He also takes to the air to reveal how a rail guidebook helped aviators during the Second World War

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo retraces railway journeys made by Queen Victoria in the south of England, where she would travel from Windsor Castle in Berkshire to her summer retreat on the Isle of Wight. The first leg of the trip takes him from Windsor's railway station to Didcot in Oxfordshire, stopping along the way to view a structure designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Maidenhead. He also tries to collect the mail in the manner of Victorian postal workers on a steam-powered travelling post office

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's exploration of the West Country continues in south Devon. He arrives in Paignton to investigate an extraordinarily high murder rate in the literature of the 1930s. The Dartmouth Steam Railway conveys him in style to the beautiful home of Agatha Christie, in the company of her great-grandson, James Prichard

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo starts off in Exmouth on the final leg of his journey to Newton Abbot. Along the way, he goes out to sea with an RNLI lifeboat crew, visits a stormy coastal railway and has an encounter with his boyhood hero

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo starts off in Invergordon on the final leg of his journey to John O'Groats. Along the way, he learns how one man's vision helped bring train travel to the Highlands, discovers how farming has changed since Bradshaw's day and hears the remarkable tale of Scotland's Victorian gold rush

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo's tour takes him to Alton, Hampshire, where he samples Victorian super food, explores Whitchurch Silk Mill, which has remained untouched for more than 150 years, and drives a steam train on the challenging Watercress Line

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Charleville, Co Cork, to the city of Waterford, along the way finding out about the ancient art of making butter, attempting to learn the basics of Ireland's oldest game, and riding on the Duke of Devonshire's Victorian railway

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Epping, Essex, to Hackney in north-east London, discovering why dairy herds were transported by train all over Britain. He also finds out the importance of the gunpowder trade to Waltham Cross, and learns the gruesome details of the first murder to take place on a train

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Newbridge in Co Kildare to Roscrea, North Tipperary, visiting the Irish National Stud in Tully, discovering how harsh life was for the Irish poor and investigating an astronomical feat of Victorian engineering

Great British Railway Journeys -:- Michael Portillo travels from Salisbury in Wiltshire to Castle Cary, Somerset, visiting a world-famous tourist spot that has been captivating visitors since the Victorian era. He also takes to the air in Yeovil and tries his hand at clothmaking the 19th-century way

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 -:- Michael Portillo visits the sites of Victorian freak shows, rides one of the world's first electric railways in Southend and encounters the preserved head of a medieval politician as he continues his journey along the route of the Great Eastern Line

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the next leg of his journey from Co Kerry to Galway, Michael Portillo travels from the city of Kilkenny to Athy in Co Kildare. Along the way he tries his hand at cutting marble in the Victorian style, uncovers 19th-century Ireland's surprising industrial heritage and learns how the railways helped bring motorsport to the masses

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the penultimate leg of his journey from Stirling to John O'Groats, Michael Portillo travels from Inverness to Plockton. Along the way he rides on one of the country's most picturesque railways, visits Scotland's smallest station and learns what a spa break in the Victorian era comprised

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the penultimate leg of his journey Michael Portillo travels from Lynton to Exeter. He gets up close to a piece of natural history, visits a garden used as a viewing platform for public hangings and examines a timepiece like no other

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the second leg of his journey from Stirling to John O'Groats, Michael Portillo travels from Dundee to Aberdeen. Along the way he learns how Queen Victoria used to hide from her subjects and discovers why some factory workers went deaf

Great British Railway Journeys -:- On the third leg of his journey from London to Newton Abbot, Michael Portillo travels from Taunton to Minehead. Along the way he explores a church, finds out just what it takes to operate a 19th-century signal box and summons all his strength to move a 110-ton steam locomotive

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

Hornby: A Model World -:- Simon and Montana attempt the hard sell at The Dorset Steam Fair, whilst designer Steve takes on the challenge of replicating one of the world's newest trains

I Was There -:- Theo Wilson recalls outlaw, bank and train robber Jesse James, exploring how his thirst for fame and riches led to his murder in 1882

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 -:- JR West's Okayama Branch in Okayama Prefecture recently ran one of Japan's largest tourism campaigns. See how the branch utilized its old trains to attract tourists.

Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure -:- The actress embarks on her third travelogue, having previously traced the Nile from its source and sampled the varied rural, historical and urban cultures of Greece. This time, she sets out to travel 6,400 miles making use of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is considered the longest railway line in the world. Joanna's journey begins in Hong Kong, where she spent some of her childhood. She takes a bullet train to Beijing, where she meets a woman who claims to have known the last Chinese emperor's favourite concubine, and officially joins the Trans-Siberian track. From there, she travels to the Great Wall, and takes an overnight train into Mongolia via the Gobi desert

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?

Michael Palin: The Art of Travel -:- The actor looks back at a century-old rail service to St Andrews, where the LNER's publicity promoted an industrial service alongside familiar holiday resorts. From 1989

Mysteries at the Museum -:- A specimen linked to a case of mass hysteria, a massive locomotive connected to the worst train robbery ever, and the West's most legendary creature - the jackalope

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

Once Upon a Texas Train (1987) -:- Ageing outlaw Willie Nelson plunges straight back into a life of crime just hours after being released from prison - and uses the proceeds to reunite his equally long-in-the-tooth cohorts for an ambitious robbery. However, old enemy Richard Widmark is determined to stop the wrinkly renegades, leading them into a tense final showdown. Entertaining light-hearted Western, written and directed by cowboy movie veteran Burt Kennedy. Angie Dickinson, Stuart Whitman and Shaun Cassidy co-star

Outback Truckers -:- Rain hampers Robbie's efforts to truck a home to the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, Graham faces storms and grass fires moving a section of railway 5,000 kilometres in just five days

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

Sam Tân -:- Station Officer Steele is having a day off and decides to go on the mountain train trip

Send in the Dogs -:- The work of British Transport Police's canine units, which help monitor the safety of commuters on thousands of miles of railway and underground track. The programme follows a spaniel trained to search for drugs, as well as police dogs that help their human handlers control the crowds at football matches. Ken Stott narrates

Susan Calman's Grand Day Out -:- The comedian explores the historic city of Oxford and the Chilterns, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. She gets her bearings at one of the best preserved 17th-century windmills in the world at Brill, and from there, the scholarly streets of Oxford beckon. Susan has always loved a model village and discovers that the Chilterns has the oldest in the world, complete with working model railway

Susan Calman's Grand Week by the Sea -:- The presenter's seaside week is drawing to a close, but not before she stops at her final destination - Scarborough, a Yorkshire gem and a resort known for its historic charm. Susan kicks off her adventure by taking a trip on the historic cliff railway, where she's greeted with fabulous views of the beach and surrounding area

The Architecture the Railways Built -:- Tim Dunn gets to grips with his local station - London Bridge, meeting the architects who turned this station into a bright, airy and tranquil modern terminus

The Architecture the Railways Built -:- Tim goes deep beneath the waves to explore the Channel Tunnel, stopping off at Ashford International to take in this underappreciated piece of 90s railway architecture

The Dales -:- Adrian Edmondson fulfils a childhood ambition when he rides on the footplate of a steam train on the Settle to Carlisle railway, a journey that takes him over the Ribblehead viaduct and through a mile-long tunnel. He also visits the Boar's Head at Ripley Castle, North Yorkshire, one of only 30 remaining hostelries to have appeared in the original Michelin guide of 1911

The Last Journey (1936) -:- A train driver is plunged into despair when he is forced into retirement and learns his wife is having an affair. As he prepares for his final day at work, he plans to kill himself by crashing the train, endangering the lives of all his passengers. However, a psychiatrist on board resolves to talk some sense into him before it's too late. Drama, starring Julien Mitchell and Godfrey Tearle

The Railways That Built Britain with Chris Tarrant -:- Chris examines the devastating impact of the Beeching report, which led to half the country's stations and almost a third of the lines being closed. He also looks at how the railways were reinvented for the modern age, and how a sleek new locomotive not only saved the railway network, but reshaped the country

The Railways That Built Britain with Chris Tarrant -:- The broadcaster examines the role of the railways during the two global conflicts of the 20th century, keeping vital supply lines open and transporting troops to and from the front. In the First World War, railway works were converted into munitions factories and women were employed for these dangerous jobs and their heroic efforts helped win them the vote, while in the Second World War, they were vital in organising the evacuation of a million children and offered underground shelters from air raids

The Restoration Man -:- George Clarke meets a man in Northumberland who bought a Victorian railway station, with the intention of converting it into a family home. He has managed to keep his budget down by doing all the building work single-handed at weekends, but the project has been threatened by planning restrictions. George also looks into the history of the station, and finds out why it never fulfilled its potential as part of the area's rail network

Train of Events (1949) -:- Four stories linked by a train crash. Tales include a troubled driver making his final run before a hoped-for promotion and a second-rate actor who murders his wife in a fit of jealousy. Comedy drama anthology, starring Jack Warner, Peter Finch, Susan Shaw, Joan Dowling, Lawrence Payne and John Clements

Train Truckers -:- A CBD80 battery-powered loco needs to be hauled 20 miles from a factory in Burton-on-Trent to the heritage Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire

Train Truckers -:- A fully restored Class 47 diesel engine is transported from its home at Crewe Heritage Centre in Cheshire to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire

Train Truckers -:- Kevin Norris and Kieran Chisnall move three state-of-the-art trains, fresh in from Japan. They need to transport them from the North East port of Redcar to a factory in Doncaster

Train Truckers -:- The crew visits Germany to collect a multi-million-pound maintenance machine so large it will need to be loaded onto two trucks. Eric and Chris oversee a diesel-engine exchange

Undercover Boss Australia -:- Tony Braxton-Smith, CEO of Australia's Great Southern Rail, embarks on a secret mission to experience the day-to-day tasks of his employees. Going undercover on board one of his trains, the executive is asked to clean on-board toilets, serve first-class passengers and unload luggage. He is also given a chance to meet some of the inspirational people he employs

War Factories -:- The remarkable story of how Stalin's massive war factories were dismantled and moved east on one and half million railway trucks, to avoid being lost to the Nazis

World's Busiest Train Stations -:- Behind the scenes at Howrah Terminal in Calcutta, which is the busiest station in India and serves one of the fastest growing cities on Earth. Monday morning rush hour sees ticket inspector Pranab braving a tide of morning commuters pouring out from the platforms as he seeks out fare dodgers, while a signal failure halts the progress of the most prestigious service on the entire Indian network in the form of the Rajdhani Express, the luxury overnight train from Calcutta to Delhi


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©  Matthew Shaw 2023