Swanage Railway To Feature In New TV Documentary
2:49pm 15th January 2013
Swanage Railway features in a new TV documentary that starts tonight. (Tuesday 15th January)
The new programme is called Locomotion - Dan Snow's History of Railways.
The filming at the volunteer run railway was done back in July.
The series is on BBC 2 and starts at 9pm this evening.
The documentary series explores how primitive 18th century trackways for carrying coal carts developed into the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution and the railway system that we would recognise today.
Historian, broadcaster and presenter Dan Snow - together with his documentary production team - filmed for a day on the award-winning Swanage Railway on a very wet Thursday, 12 July, 2012, but the rain did not dull Dan's enthusiasm for his subject.
The presenter and historian - whose father Peter Snow is a highly respected former news presenter and journalist for many years - enjoyed a footplate ride on a mighty 1940s express Bulleid Pacific class steam locomotive between Swanage, Harman's Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden Park & Ride.
The Southern Railway locomotive was Battle of Britain class Bulleid Pacific No. 34070 'Manston' which was rescued from a Welsh scrapyard and transformed from a rusting hulk to a gleaming steam machine after several years of meticulous restoration work.
Dan Snow was able to experience the thrill and heat of the steam locomotive footplate thanks to Swanage Railway volunteer driver Tony Hallworth who travels to Dorset from Cornwall to indulge his life-long passion for steam.
Back in the 1960s, Tony was a steam locomotive fireman for British Railways on its Bodmin and Wenford line in Cornwall but his railway career came to a sudden end after the Government's Beeching report recommended his line for closure as part of a controversial national cost-cutting move. British Railways axed the line on which Tony used to work in 1967.
Tony Hallworth explained: "I was interested to meet Dan Snow and learn more about his new documentary series because the Bodmin and Wenford line - on which I used to work for British Railways as a steam locomotive fireman in the early 1960s - was one of the first railways to be built in the country."
Swanage Railway Trust chairman Liz Sellen said: "I'm sure that Dan's footplate ride on our largest steam locomotive was a real thrill and the highlight of his visit to our relaid railway through the Isle of Purbeck.
"Dan and his colleagues were a delight to work with and everyone on the Swanage Railway is looking forward to watching his new documentary series about the history of railways - from their invention to the height of their power and influence."
Swanage Railway Company chairman Peter Sills explained: "The invention and export of the railways did not only radically change society and economics in this country and around the world - the arrival of the railway in the Isle of Purbeck changed the area and Swanage in particular too.
"It took some 40 years for Victorian railway promoters to turn the opinion of landowners and local people so they could be allowed to build a railway line from Wareham down to Corfe Castle and Swanage - a distance of ten years.
"The arrival of the branch line from Wareham in 1885 changed Swanage from a fishing and quarrying community to a seaside resort.
"The arrival of the steam train in the Isle of Purbeck also changed the picture postcard village of Corfe Castle from an agricultural and clay mining community to a focus for tourism because of the stunningly dramatic Medieval castle ruins," explained Mr Sills.
The first episode of 'Locomotion - Dan Snow's History of Railways' starts on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 9pm on BBC Two. The second and third episodes will be broadcast on BBC Two on Tuesdays 22 and 29 January, 2013.