The steam railway has been part of Britain’s heritage for 200 years. In that time it has evolved from the cutting edge of technology, through the driving force of industrial expansion, to the accepted form of transport and, more recently, a much-loved, living, part of our industrial legacy.
In this programme, using film shot over the last quarter of a century, we reflect upon the development of steam and celebrate our great railway heritage.
It all began in the North of England. The great iron and steel works and the coal mines that powered them needed transport, and the railways provided it
Industrial steam keeps the original pioneering spirit alive, and we go to the Tanfield Railway where the world’s oldest railway bridge still stands. Small engines have big hearts and their fine liveries extol the beauty of the steam locomotive. In the magnificent North Yorkshire Moors an historic line built by the great George Stephenson still carries millions of passengers every year and we see locomotives working flat out up the fierce gradients.
In the heart of the country, lines of the LMS and LNER all have industrial roots and we reflect upon how things have changed here, even though the steam railway remains true to its origins.