Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with his copy of Bradshaw’s Victorian railway guidebook. In a series of railway journeys, Portillo travels the length and breadth of the British Isles to see what of Bradshaw’s World remains. Michael follows in the footsteps of the master engineer of the Great Western Railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, beginning at the line’s London gateway, Paddington Station and ending in Newton Abbot, Devon, the scene of one of Brunel’s heroic failures. Michael gets up close to a piece of natural history, visits a garden used as a viewing platform for public hangings and experiences a timepiece like no other.
Wednesday, 30 January 2012, 6.30 pm on BBC2: Taunton to Minehead
Michael Portillo travels on the West Somerset Railway from Taunton to Minehead.
If you’d like to do the same, then pop over to the West Somerset Railway website:
Our Railway, a true country branch line of the old Great Western Railway is full of fascination whether you are looking for a nostalgic ride back in time through lovely countryside or to study the railway and industrial heritage which our line preserves. The historic steam locomotives, coaches and wagons, and the buildings of our ten unique stations linked by a twenty mile scenic journey will repay hours of exploration. The surrounding countryside is as varied as it is beautiful. The gently rolling Quantock hills and distant Exmoor, unspoilt villages and farms nestling in leafy lanes, the cliffs and coast of the Bristol Channel with views of distant South-Wales, confident Church Towers, Dunster’s imposing Castle and Minehead’s seaside charm are all waiting to be discovered.
There are toilets on each train. Disabled persons accessible toilets are available at Bishops Lydeard, Crowcombe Heathfield, Stogumber Watchet and Minehead stations.
We can carry passengers in wheelchairs in our trains. Please let us know as space is limited and we can book you seats in advance on 01643 700384. Disabled toilets are available in our Lorna Doone carriage which can be booked in advance.
Dogs are welcome on our service trains and are charged £2.00 per dog.
There is a buffet car on most of our trains selling a variety of light refreshments a large number of which are locally produced. Please see the catering page for more information about our catering services.
Thursday, 31 January 2012, 6.30 pm on BBC2: Lynton and Lynmouth to Exeter
You can find out more about the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway on their website:
Steam trains through rolling countryside, with views out to wild moorland and the rugged coastline.
Originally opened in 1898, and closed in 1935; what you can see today at Woody Bay is just the beginning of an exciting project to rebuild one of the world’s most famous and picturesque narrow gauge railways; the legendary Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
This initial section allows our visitors to experience a taste of what will one day become one of the ultimate narrow gauge treasures of the world as they once again travel by train along the original route above the delightful Heddon Valley near Parracombe in Exmoor’s National Park on the longest closed section of railway line to have ever been reopened solely through volunteer effort.