Walking Britain's Lost Railways

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Walking Britain's Lost Railways
Presented byRob Bell
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Executive producersMelanie Darlaston
Fintan Maguire
ProducerChristopher Bruce
Running time48 minutes
Production companiesRumpus Media and Motion Content Group
Original networkChannel 5
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release21 September 2018 (2018-09-21) –

Walking Britain's Lost Railways is a British documentary television series presented by Rob Bell that first aired on Channel 5 on 21 September 2018. A second series premiered on Channel 5 on 9 February 2020.[1] A third series premiered on Channel 5 on 27 November 2020. A fourth series premiered on Channel 5 on 15 October 2021.


Presenter Rob Bell walks sections of British railways that were closed during the Beeching cuts of the early 1960s,[2][3] telling the history and current stories[4] associated with the lost routes.[5]


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1621 September 2018 (2018-09-21)26 October 2018 (2018-10-26)
269 February 2020 (2020-02-09)24 April 2020 (2020-04-24)
3427 November 2020 (2020-11-27)18 December 2020 (2020-12-18)
4415 October 2021 (2021-10-15)19 November 2021 (2021-11-19)

Series 1 (2018)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
(millions) [6]
11"Scotland"Adam Kaleta21 September 2018 (2018-09-21)1.22
Rob walks the former line from Elgin to Portsoy, the Moray line which had originally served both the fishing and whisky industries. The line was decommissioned in the 1960s and he visits the former station at Elgin which was built in 1858[7] and visits Lossiemouth on the Scottish Riviera and discovers about its former history as a whisky and fishing port.[8] Rob goes onto kayak through Bow Fiddle Rock near Portknockie; wonder at the Spey Bridge in Newtonmore and the several glorious viaducts in Cullen; visit the Glenglassaugh distillery and view a boat race in Portsoy.
22"Sheffield"Adam Kaleta28 September 2018 (2018-09-28)1.12
Rob starts his journey at the site of the former Sheffield Victoria station, travelling via the Woodhead line to Manchester Piccadilly station.[9] He travels along a remaining stretch of the line that serves Stocksbridge steelworks, visits a miniature railway at Wortley and explores the Woodhead tunnel now home to National Grid power cables.[10] He visits Thurgoland Tunnel where the sound effect of the tunnels shape is demonstrated by a saxophone playing scientist, and then rejoins another remaining section of the line at Hadfield and travels by rail to Manchester.
33"Dartmoor"Adam Kaleta5 October 2018 (2018-10-05)1.28
Rob starts his journey along the closed Dartmoor line by visiting a model maker who has recreated the Plymouth to Exeter line.[11] He visits Tavistock where he learns about Rabbit Pie, and then goes on to visit the Ambrosia Cream Rice factory to discover how the railway helped it expand. He travels along The Granite Way cycle route that now occupies part of the track beds. At Okehampton, he meets members of the Dartmoor Railway Association[12] who campaigned to re-open the line to Exeter.
44"Lake District"Adam Kaleta12 October 2018 (2018-10-12)1.12
In this episode Rob walks the former Penrith to Cockermouth line in Cumbria. Along the way he visits Keswick Station to discover colourful stories, hears about the tragic story of engineer Thomas Bouch, visits a former ore mine and tells story of the decline of the line by the advent of the motorcar with help from the Lakeland Motor Museum.[13][14]
55"Somerset and Dorset"Adam Kaleta19 October 2018 (2018-10-19)1.03
Rob walks the former Somerset and Dorset line closed in 1966. He visits the start of the line in Burnham on Sea where he hears about its history from local historian John Strickland. Following the line through Highbridge across the Somerset Levels he discovers the complicated issues that engineers had to deal with when creating the railway and the high costs that were involved, including a 26-mile stretch that cost an equivalent £35 million today. At Glastonbury he meets Tor, a local guide who discusses the resurgent interest in Arthurian Legend.[15] He then visits the northern stretch to Bath through the Coombe Down Tunnel, UK's longest without intermediate ventilation which faced a tragic accident and is now part of a national cycle route.[16][17][5]
66"Wales"Adam Kaleta26 October 2018 (2018-10-26)1.18
Rob walks along the former railway line between Ruabon and Barmouth in North Wales which had been a busy route prior to its closure in 1965. Along the way he visits the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct; rides the Llangollen Railway, canoes on Bala Lake and rides the Bala Lake Railway; hears the local sounds from a Harpist in Dolgellau and examines its history as a tourist line during the Victorian period.[18]

Series 2 (2020)[edit]

No. in
Title [19]Directed byOriginal air date [19]U.K. viewers
71"Derbyshire"Rosie Saunders9 February 2020 (2020-02-09)1.124
In Derbyshire, Rob travels along a stretch of what was once part of the London to Manchester express route, through the glorious countryside of Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park.
82"The Durham Coalfields"Lucy Joyner16 February 2020 (2020-02-16)0.952
Rob Bell explores the era when our modern railways were born in the industrial heartlands of the North-East, where for over 150 years coal was king. Visiting former collieries, living museums and meeting former miners, he tells the story of the 1822 Hetton line, the world's first railway designed for steam locomotives.
93"North Wales[20]"Rosie Saunders3 April 2020 (2020-04-03)1.268
Rob Bell travels to Bangor, where he explores a lost line that was built in 1801 to transport Welsh slate from the local quarry, down to the sea.
104"Royal Deeside [21]"Rosie Saunders10 April 2020 (2020-04-10)1.018
Rob journeys through the Scottish Highlands, following a path cut by the world's first global star - Queen Victoria.
115"Norfolk [22]"Lucy Joyner17 April 2020 (2020-04-17)1.348
Rob follows the line of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway from King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth, discovering a lost railway through some of the quietest parts of England, but also some of the richest country estates of all.
126"Edinburgh [23]"Rosie Saunders24 April 2020 (2020-04-24)1.243
Rob follows the Waverley Line, which stretches for 100 miles south from Edinburgh.

Series 3 (2020)[edit]

No. in
Title [19]Directed byOriginal air date [19]U.K. viewers
131"North Devon"Matt Cottingham27 November 2020 (2020-11-27)1.513
Rob explores two of North Devon's former railways - the Ilfracombe branch line of the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) that ran from Barnstaple to Ilfracombe, and the Barnstaple to Lynton line.
142"Walking Scotland's Lost Railways: Highlands"Matt Cottingham4 December 2020 (2020-12-04)1.537
Rob is in the Scottish Highlands recounting the history of the Callander and Oban Railway, which ran through west Scotland's rugged countryside for 57 years.
153"Cotswolds"Matt Cottingham11 December 2020 (2020-12-11)1.392
Rob examines the history of the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, which was in use for over 100 years until its closure in 1969.
164"East Midlands"Matt Cottingham18 December 2020 (2020-12-18)1.217
Rob is in the East Midlands, examining the impact of Edward Watkin's Great Central Railway, which ran from Manchester, through the Midlands and onto London.

Series 4 (2021)[edit]

No. in
Title [19]Directed byOriginal air date [19]U.K. viewers
171"Walking Yorkshire's Lost Railways"Matt Cottingham15 October 2021 (2021-10-15)N/A
Rob is in Yorkshire, looking into the history of the line built to connect York to Hull, via Beverley, and the part played by "The Railway King" George Hudson.
182"Walking Cornwall's Lost Railways"Matt Cottingham22 October 2021 (2021-10-22)N/A
Rob travels across Cornwall's first two railway lines—the Portreath Tramroad and Redruth and Chasewater Railway, where he learns more about the vital role they played in the county's mining industry.
193"Walking Kent's Lost Railways"Matt Cottingham29 October 2021 (2021-10-29)N/A
Rob visits Kent and the abandoned Elham Valley Railway, where he delves into its important past during the two world wars.
204"Walking Northern Ireland's Lost Railways"Matt Cottingham19 November 2021 (2021-11-19)N/A
Exploring the lost railways of Northern Ireland, Rob travels along the route of its first railway to be built, from Belfast on the east coast, via Armagh, to Bundoran on the west coast.


  1. ^ Segal, Victoria (8 February 2020). "TV and Radio Picks of the Week - The Times". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  2. ^ Horsford, Simon (21 September 2018). "On the trail of Britain's lost railways - The Telegraph Horsford.S p.21 September 2018". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  3. ^ "TV preview: From the brilliantly addictive Bodyguard to excruciatingly awkward Wanderlust - The Independent O'Grady.S p.14 September 2018". Independent.co.uk. 14 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Walking the lost rail line from Sheffield to Manchester with TV's Rob Bell - The Star Blackledge.R p.26 September 2018". Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Burnham-On-Sea railway history to be featured on national TV show - Burnham-On-Sea.com p.19 October 2018". 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "BARB Four-screen dashboard". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ Thomson, Charles (8 March 2016). "TV highlights from Saturday, September 15 - The Yellow Advertiser p.14 September 2018". Yellow Advertiser. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Series 1 Episode 1 Scotland - Radio Times". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Episode 2 Series 1 - Radio Times". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Daily Telegraph p.28 September 2018". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Episode 3 Series 1 - Radio Times". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Dartmoor Railway to feature on Channel 5 - Railway Advent Holden.M p.20 September 2018". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Episode 4 Series 1 - Radio Times". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Lakeland Motor Museum team to feature in TV's Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Cumbria Crack p.11 October 2018". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  15. ^ "New Channel 5 series 'Walking Britain's Lost Railways' - torstourofthetor p.24 June 2018". 24 June 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Episode 5 Series 1 - Radio Times". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Inside Soap p.9 October 2018". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways Episode 6 Series 1 - Radio Times". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d e f "Walking Britain's Lost Railways – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Episode 3 North Wales - Radio Times". Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Episode 4 Royal Deeside - Radio Times". Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Episode 5 Norfolk - Radio Times". Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Walking Britain's Lost Railways - Episode 6 Edinburgh - Radio Times". Retrieved 24 April 2020.

External links[edit]