Whilst narrow gauge railways were never as significant in Britain as they were in Ireland, many fascinating lines were operated over the years, some of which are still very much in business. The programme begins in Wales with the Snowdon Mountain Railway filmed in 1931 and again in the 1950s. After a glimpse of horse power on the remains of the Corris Railway there is lengthy coverage of the Talyllyn and the Festiniog in the pioneering years of their preservation in the early 1950s. Following a visit to the lines at Dinorwic quarry, BR’s Vale of Rheidol is then recalled in the era of both blood and custard and chocolate and cream carriage liveries.
Delightful 16mm colour footage of the Manx narrow gauge and the Ravenglass & Eskdale in the early 1950s is followed by coverage of some unusual industrial lines in Scotland. Heading south, after a glance at ironstone quarry systems in the Midlands there is some excellent coverage of the extensive Bowater Paper Corporation’s system in Kent. The final part of the programme is devoted to a brace of pleasure lines filmed mostly in the 1950s. These include the pier railways at Southend and Hythe, the Ramsgate Tunnel Railway, the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch and the Volks Electric Railway in Brighton.
This programme, which explores both well known and almost forgotten narrow gauge byways throughout Britain from the west of Scotland to the south coast of England, not forgetting the Isle of Man, will be a delight for all of those interested in the narrow gauge and minor railways of Britain.