The Train Now Departing is Arriving

A really very beautiful steam engine at Port Erin station.

It was only very recently that I wrote this article for Gef about the relationship between the Isle of Man and tellybox programmes.

Then I discovered this blast of steam from the past, available on the BBC iPlayer. It’s the Manx episode of a series called The Train Now Departing about vintage railways around the British Isles. It was made in 1988, to mark 20 years since the end of steam railways on the UK mainline, and celebrate the smaller lines that had survived.

Whether you remember the Island in the Eighties or not, this is a lovely warm hug of a programme. It’ll take you back to a simpler time when we only had to worry about things like the hole in the ozone layer caused by the pints of hairspray used each day to set everybody’s humongous back-combed dos.

The Manx railway industry in the Eighties was clearly a very blokey world, and all the voices you’ll hear in this show are male. It’s quite possible that various people’s dads, uncles, or grandads are featured here, whether in smart railway uniforms or pastel leisurewear. There are certainly some fine, rich, fruity, auld Manx tones to be heard among the whistles and hisses of the engines.

All aboard for a return trip to the summer of 1988. Journey time is 30 minutes.

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