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
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.
In the industrial
heart of the country railways performed a vital role in moving the goods to and
from the manufacturing bases and carrying the workers to the great factories.
We see mineral
trains headed by powerful goods locomotives on part of the last main line to be
built, and travel alongside the great River Severn on one of the best-known
railways of all. Steam takes us along the railway to Shakespeare’s birthplace
and to the Races at Cheltenham.
Branch lines have
a charm of their own and are the home of many of the smaller locomotives which
played such an important part in industry. The famous West Coast Main Line
plays host to some of the most famous express locomotives such as “Duchess of
Hamilton” and “Princess Elizabeth”.