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Episode 2

Episode 2 of 6

Series exploring the expansion of railways in the Victorian era. This episode looks at how railways began to move people, rather than just goods, around the country.

Historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn visit Beamish in County Durham to examine how railway companies began to develop ways of moving people, rather than just stone, coal and iron, around the country. The comfort of the early passenger wagons is put to the test on one of the earliest steam trains, and Ruth finds out how people were moving further than ever before.

Peter and Alex are put through their paces discovering what life was like for the railway navvies, the people that built thousands of miles of iron roads across the country and in all weather conditions. They come face to face with the harsh realities faced by countless workmen.

A demand for building railways transcended across other industries, even reviving many. Ruth finds out what impact they had on cottage industries and looks at the role that horsehair played in making the carriages as people-friendly as possible.

With the railways opening up plenty of new job roles, Ruth finds out what the role of the guard would have entailed at the Bluebell Line. The team takes a flying visit to a refreshment room, using the Railway Traveller's Handy Book to guide through the necessary etiquette.

The team also discovers the downside of compartment-only carriages, comes face to face with a cardsharp and finds out what precautions you could take should you go on a long train journey that was yet to include the necessary facilities!

59 minutes

Last on

Fri 22 Feb 2019 13:45



Role Contributor
Presenter Ruth Goodman
Presenter Alex Langlands
Presenter Peter Ginn
Series Producer Stuart Elliot
Director Stuart Elliot
Executive Producer Nick Catliff
Production Manager Claire Smith
Producer Emma Randle-Caprez
Producer Georgina Stewart
Production Coordinator Rachael Pagett
Sound Recordist Tim Hodge
Sound Recordist Bill Rudolph
Assistant Producer Tom Pilbeam
Editor Steve Brown
Production Company Lion Television


  • Thu 28 Jul 2016 20:00
  • Sat 6 Aug 2016 16:20
  • Tue 9 Aug 2016 01:45
  • Mon 19 Dec 2016 16:00
  • Tue 17 Oct 2017 15:15
  • Fri 22 Feb 2019 13:45

Download a free Railways poster from The Open University

Download a free Railways poster from The Open University

Discover how the railways transformed the British Isles during the 19th Century.

Archive Collection: Steam Railways

Archive Collection: Steam Railways

Programmes from the BBC archives celebrating the beauty of steam locomotives