Michael Portillo rides on the Post Office Railway

A heads up about a couple of TV shows that may be worth watching later this week.

Travelling around Great Britain by train, former politician, Michael Portillo uses a copy of Victorian cartographer George Bradshaw’s Railway Companion to compare and contrast modern Britain with that of around 1840.

The programme is part-history, part-travelogue and part transport, and is actually quite entertaining to watch.

This week, two episodes see him arriving back in London.

More about the series here.

On Thursday 5th, BBC2 at 6:30pm the journey includes a trip along the Epping Ongar Branch, filmed earlier this year. Michael visits the former Blake Hall station (closed in 1981), learns more about the history of the branch, its influence on local industry and agriculture, before taking a cab ride on D6729 (37029) to North Weald.

On Friday 6th, BBC2 at 6:30pm – according to other TV listings (the BBC seems to have Thursday listed again) he travels along “a secret miniature railway under London” – which can mean only one thing… the jammy sod managed to get into the Post Office Railway!

One of the top targets for any fan of subterranean lore, and he got inside to have a look. I now hate him!

If you want to see an old video clip of the railway, then Pathe News has this excellent film from 1932, otherwise we’ll have to wait until Friday to see the railway in its current state.

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2 Comments

  1. Matt Smith

    I do enjoy these, although not the biggest fan of our Mic he does have a certain charm and this seems to work well on these programmes. Will set the box up for a record, although sure BBC4 will put them on the loop line soon! But my “slight” liking for Mr P has taken a bit of a nose dive hearing he rumbled himself onto the Post Office railway….Jammy sod indeed!!!!

  2. nj

    For the mail rail portion, skip to 20:30 – BBC iPlayer – Great British Railway Journeys: Series 3: Fenchurch to Embankment (though the rest of the episode is defnitely worth viewing too!)

    Very lucky of him to be able to ride it!

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