Pianist and broadcaster Simon Townley samples the many different ways in which trains and railways have inspired composers and songwriters and what it is about this particular form of travel that makes it so influential.
They may be a shadow of their former infrastructural selves, but railways still hold a curiously affectionate place in our national life. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of music, where chuffing, whistling, steaming and clackety-clacking have been the inspiration for hundreds of songs. Simon has never described himself as a railway enthusiast, but he has always had an ear for the things that inspire composers and songwriters.
He explores the rhythms, themes and metaphorical uses of the train in music, from Honneger's Pacific 231 to American blues tracks such as Love in Vain and Freight Train Blues.
Country and western star Laura Cantrell, music professor Alan Moore and composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett contribute their thoughts on this mass transit system which has provided such a rich seam of inspiration over the last 200 years.