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Riding The World's Most Famous Train: The Flying Scotsman | Full Steam Ahead EP4 | Absolute History

the age of steam

shaped how we live today

the victorians laid over 20 000 miles of

lines

in the biggest engineering project the

country has ever seen

connecting our towns with high-speed

links

revolutionizing trade and transportation

communication and recreation

it was the greatest transformation in

our history

but how did it happen to find out

historians ruth goodman

alex langland's shoveling coal is

something i'm going to get very very

familiar with

and pete again

of bringing the railways back to life as

they would have been during the golden

age of steam

i feel like i'm in a western this is

very definitely the best team engine

[Music]

they will be helped by armies of

enthusiasts who keep the age of steam

alive

on britain's 500 miles of preserved

railway

this is the way to experience train

travel isn't it

they'll follow in the footsteps of the

world's finest engineers

these are the men

[Music]

[Music]

like the impact of the railways

this is the story of how the railways

created

modern britain

the steam railways connected towns and

cities right across britain

revolutionizing the transportation of

goods

people even information

the way we communicate in britain has

never been the same

since the arrival of the railways and i

want to find out firsthand

just how they transformed britain's

postal service

in the second half of the 19th century

britain was in the grip of an electrical

revolution

i'm interested in finding out how

practically the railways facilitated

this new age in communications

[Music]

britain was becoming ever more connected

the introduction of express trains like

the flying scotsman

meant people began to see themselves as

belonging to one common culture

one economy and crucially one nation

before the railways most people in

britain thought of themselves as being

from

galloway or monmouthshire or derbyshire

they didn't really think of themselves

as being british but within a very short

time of the railways arriving

that had completely changed how did we

get to feel

so connected

in 1800 the quickest way to send a

letter was by horse-drawn mail coach

but it could take days to arrive

as the population became more literate

the volume of letters soared

so what was needed was a quicker more

efficient way of sending mail

in 1838 the introduction of mail trains

provided a solution

letters could now be conveyed in hours

rather than days

this is all the posts from loughborough

[Music]

nice little feature a ramp down the

stairs for sliding down the bags of

posts in this case or indeed any luggage

i suspect it's every child's dream but

i've seen a sign saying

don't use a slide

[Music]

at the great central railway in

loughborough

peter is bringing this postal service

back to life

helped by a team of enthusiasts

[Music]

peter's helping paul harrison load the

mail collected from the local area

we'll come in this door here okay

we have to call out the destinations and

then they're logged in on the train

right okay so we've got burton on train

train first the post was roughly divided

into sacks for the different areas that

the mail train was traveling to

she was just looking at the labels on

top there yeah yeah coalville

colgan coleville another cold

at a time when the people of victorian

london could expect up to 12

postal deliveries to their homes every

day and the suburbs around six

speed was everything in 1936

the role played by the railways in

speeding up the postal system was

immortalized in one of the first

documentaries about working life

nightmail

it tells the story of the postal special

carrying mail through the night from

london to glasgow complete with a wh

orden poem

this is the nightmail crossing the

border bringing the check and the postal

order

letters for the rich letters for the

poor the shop at the corner of the girl

next door

pulling up beater casted climb the

gradients against her but she's on time

[Music]

to make the service even faster trains

didn't just transport the mail

they featured a new innovation the tpo

otherwise known as the traveling post

office

now the mail could be sorted on the move

too

darby lester

stafford each sorter has 48 pigeonholes

known as phillips representing different

towns

the mail must be sorted before the train

reaches its first destination

tpo historian brian hallett is on hand

to help

it's a race against time so what do we

do

is just take the bundles take the

bundles yeah and with your

trusty scissors you i left my trusty

scissors at home thank you very much

and am i going stance in stamps out does

it matter

normally you do stamps out

in its heyday the tpo workers picked up

sorted and delivered 500 million letters

a year

these men were key to the efficient

running of the country ensuring mail got

delivered on time

i suppose you must go quite fast at this

the tpo

sorters were among the fastest sorters

in royal mail

so they were known to sorting up to

three thousand letters an hour

per person per person three thousand

letters an hour what's that that's

300 every six minutes one a second you

it

i mean three three thousand letters an

hour is an immense amount

i think i managed to get close to one a

minute

and um i suspect someone else is gonna

have to

resort what i've done because i kind of

started losing track

these were the postal elite they were

faster

harder working and with the stamina to

sort at speed against the clock

the people that worked on here if you

were doing the northeast tpo

and you were based in newcastle you'd

travel down

the first night on the passenger train

and work

back to newcastle sorting that night

yeah the following night you would work

from newcastle to london

sleep over in digs during the day then

you work the next night back to

newcastle it must have been quite a

tight-knit bunch of guys

very much so can you imagine working

with a bunch of people

in the same coach for five nights of the

week

you've got to get on yeah if you didn't

get on you you didn't survive on the

traveling post office

yeah yeah despite working at speed on a

constantly moving train

there was no room for error the sorters

were responsible for making sure their

affiliates were empty when they finished

sorting

and the cleaners would actually go

through after the shift if they found

any letters

they'd get a bonus and that bonus would

come out of the sorter's salary

so you want to make sure they're yeah

fully clear otherwise the cleaner has

taken out more money

yeah once sorted

the letters for the first mail drop are

tied into bundles

tying up the letters pull the string all

the way down you pull the string down

and cut off the leg you need

yeah yeah so these now go in here

so now we need to tie that up ready to

go into the pouch

to drop off so if you want to tie that

on there

okay two or three times around with the

string and these labels

this is the same as the bags we're

loading on at the start so that just

tells you

where it's going that's right that's got

his label on

so that's ready to go down into the

pouch ready to be dropped off

i'm going off quite soon isn't it okay

all right that's a lot take it away

the tpo didn't just deliver and collect

from stations

it also picked up and dropped off posted

small towns and villages along the way

without the train even stopping

[Music]

the first use of this system was on the

london birmingham railway in 1838

within 70 years there were 245

in operation so the first thing to do is

get these flaps over so you get a very

neat

package where nothing can come apart

and you don't lose any of the mailboards

final one

[Music]

imagine doing this all night long

on a journey from edinburgh to london

okay so this is this is a

quite constant process i'm just getting

worn out doing this one

so there you have one male pouch ready

for dispatch

next the male pouch is attached to an

arm

on the outside of the train

just pull strong

some workers were so terrified of doing

this they paid a colleague to hang the

bags out for them

it feels quite weird so you bring the

bag to the edge

back to the edge

that flap just closes to stop it falling

off

you do find that they will come off so

we put a piece of string around it

just as an extra safety so we don't drop

the bag before we should do

it because that would just be a

nightmare i suppose if the bag falls off

before

the drop zone you've got to oh how do

you find it well the people who are on

the ground

have to walk back up the track yeah and

find all the letters

so this piece of string is actually

quite an essential but it is yes

further down the line ruth is getting

ready for the tpo's mail to arrive

oh i see and that's it locked in place

to collect the bags

so they're supposed to shoot in like

there because the train passes through i

certainly wouldn't like to be down that

end

when the bags came off the tree the real

thing is stand well clear

integer right as well as male pouches

being dropped off from the train

they could also be picked up with help

from tpo expert phil

payne she's preparing the mail ready for

the train to collect

i don't like these bags

i tell you what really i find

interesting is how much they look like

saddlebags you know

they still got that form from the old

stagecoach days haven't they

it's leather made you know by a saddler

you know

there's a lot of work goes into these

it's all hand-stitched yeah yes at least

there'd be no other way to do it would

there be six layers in that

so many of these at older crafts you

know carry on

a life in the automated railways for

donkey's years

you couldn't find anything else to

replace that

kind of um quality of leather uh to do

the job that it's about to do

i mean like trying to hit in that it's

gonna need to take some punishment so

they stuck with leather on the tpo

there's three minutes to go before the

mail pickup

you push the top lever down yeah and

then push the whole thing down in one

smooth operation

until it clicks in place at the bottom

yeah you only do that once you've called

board

then after you've done the exchange the

mailbags will come in

and we'll call net and that's when you

release it to bring the net back in

okay and i can't practice this now can i

there's no way you can practice it now

you've only got one chance

right that hasn't really already you

have to do because we can only put the

net out

in safe locations so how many letters

would be in one parcel like this

i should imagine anything up to about a

thousand girls

in weight bags will come about 60 pounds

50 pounds

of post so the train hits it at full

speed

they're doing around about 70 80 miles

an hour okay

if it ever went wrong you'd be picking

up letters down the track

for weeks so that's that one done

look at those up there yep

quite a white so as you can see yep good

there we go the leather pouches are

attached to a stand by a spring clip

it's not really a one-man job is it

definitely not there

after word is received that the tpo is

approaching from the nearby signalmun

the bags are swung out ready for

collection

yeah right ready

[Music]

on the mail train there's less than a

minute to go before the pickup

peter is preparing to drop the net are

we in quite a dangerous area here

we're in a very dangerous area because

this is the location where the

couches will come flying in once and hit

the net

so the faster the train's going the

harder they come in

yes at 85 miles an hour they couldn't

land anywhere from

hitting the ceiling and onto benches the

male was picked up and dropped off

simultaneously

on the postal special from london to

glasgow these exchanges took place

34 times a night so the crew had to know

the route

intimately if the net is put out too

early it could hit a signal or a bridge

so the team looks for a trackside board

indicating the exchange apparatus is

approaching

do you want to get to the net so this is

a lever yeah and you're going to say

well one of my colleagues are going to

shout board

now no no you want two bridges

and 45

[Music]

it's it

okay net net well done

okay it's all right we still got a net

yes

whoa

quite substantial isn't it oh it's

remarkably physical

something as light as a letter oh my

goodness

that that was a flash wasn't it yeah all

done very quickly

it's almost like magic suddenly you know

these two parcels have

miraculously appeared and yeah it's it's

the mail ready to be sorted i suppose

be already yeah we can't just stand

around get home get it out there and

get it back out to the next stop we need

to get the lads working

yeah for over 130 years tpo's worked

across the country

picking up and dropping off mail but as

trains got faster

the exchanges became more dangerous so

in 1971

the service was scrapped on a modern

train you can't even open the window

now these days it gets car checks aren't

you

do many people fall out um they didn't

have many

uh accidents with the tpo crew it was

more

the driver and the fireman looking out

when they shouldn't have done

well to watch them getting that getting

hit by the bags

standing up on the standard and there's

quite a few stories about the firemen

losing the head

literally so it's quite a dangerous

occupation once the mail was collected

the process of sorting started all over

again

it was a never-ending cycle even tea

breaks were taken on the goal

[Music]

another one crew ran from

you know say nine at night until six in

the morning they had to eat

and so they provided them with basic and

they are basic

cooking facilities to be careful because

it's hot

because they didn't actually have a meal

break while they were working

they'd carry on working have their tea

pie and carry on sorting

do you fancy a pie thank you very much

[Music]

before the railways few people traveled

beyond their local towns or villages

so felt little connection with other

parts of the country

but the railways forced the change that

was to finally get the nation

working in sync the traditional way of

telling time back in the medieval period

was to use the position of the sun and a

sundial and it would have been

watched by one of the church members who

would have come out

and he would have checked that sundial

and when the time was right he would

have gone in

and rung the bell and everyone in this

community would have heard that bell

they would have known what time it was

what time to say masses and what time to

say prayers

as the sun rises earlier in the east

than it does in the west

cities across britain could vary in time

by up to 30 minutes

in an age when the horse was the fastest

mode of transport

the odd minute difference here and there

didn't matter

but once high-speed trains began

connecting britain's towns and cities

this became a problem

[Music]

london was four minutes ahead of reading

11 minutes ahead of bristol

18 minutes ahead of exeter

[Music]

resulting in some very confusing

timetables

something had to be done alex has come

to bristol corn exchange to meet railway

historian david turner

so what's going on up there well

actually we have two minute hands on

this clock

okay the red one is london time

the darker one is actually bristol time

right okay so that that darker hand is

10 minutes essentially behind the other

red hand

which is reflecting the two different

time zones yeah so when the railways

came this brought with it

greenwich meantime because the railways

needed everything standardized they

needed trains to be

meeting at the right places and for you

know everybody along the line all the

staff to have the same time

standardizing time across britain

coordinated the railway network

allowing it to run more efficiently and

making towns and cities

more connected but some areas were

resistant to change

how are people over here in the west of

england reacting to that they

they kind of feel the railways invading

them the area

there is a nickname for london time and

it's called cockney time

it's a sort of kind of derogatory term

for that time from over there yeah and

the people

are quite resistant so apparently in the

commercial

halls in bristol this gentleman stands

up with his grandfather's pocket watch

yeah and he argues if one hand was good

enough for my grandfather it's good

enough for me

this is an invasion the other time is

coming in

invading the area and

changing people's rhythms their way of

life that have been in existence for

well centuries

this was a time of change in britain

while steam was revolutionizing how we

traveled and communicated

a new source of power was being

developed alongside it

one that would change the world

electricity

the first use of electricity was a

revolutionary communication system

the telegraph

it allowed messages to be sent long

distance down a wire

instantaneously

but to connect towns and cities cables

would need to be laid between them

and with ready laid corridors through

the countryside

the railways provided the perfect routes

the railways themselves took advantage

of this new system

to ensure that a safe distance was

maintained between trains

[Music]

signal boxes communicated the position

of a train

along its route using the electric

telegraph

and this is all using telegraph

technology

that's how you're communicating with the

other signal box yes for a series of

bells

relayed for telegraph that's right

at milton keynes museum bill griffiths

is showing alex how to use the first

commercial electric telegraph to send

peter a message

developed by cook and wheatstone in the

1830s

it took some getting used to

peter's going to be sat at the other end

of the line waiting for a message

um can you show me how this thing works

well you

as you can see you've got a range of

lessons there and you actually have to

point to the letters and you do that by

moving these handles in opposite

directions so you have to spell out

every every letter

alex's telegraph machine is connected to

peters by wires

and moving switches on one moves the

needles on the other

the anticipation right okay so i'm going

to

send uh peter a message answer

m so if i then go why

my my friend there's no space bar is

there here

okay just watching these arrows so

they both point to f that makes an f

in an age before telephones being able

to send

instant messages known as telegrams was

revolutionary

but there were limitations there's no u

and there's no c

either we're missing letters here there

are

and i used to worry about that i thought

well how on earth do you send messages

when you've got some lectures missing c

is quite important i use quite important

we actually do it all the time don't we

we send messages without certain

lectures and we get used to it

so if you left it in most occasions if

you left a letter

out of a word or misspelt it yeah and

they had this problem they did

and people would understand by the whole

message

ah we're receiving

we obviously had a couple of drinks are

you receiving me i think that is

okay so let's see what comes through

oh i b

e by before i before

always came to pick me up on my mistakes

peter isn't he

soon railways became the hub of

communication

with telegraph offices to send and

receive telegrams

for the public for businesses and even

the police while

criminals could make their getaway on a

train the fastest mode of transport at

the time

the long arm of the law could now get

there even faster

it was the well-known murderer john

tahoe who was caught

and he thought he got away with it got

on the train got away

and they were able to signal from uh

that slow to paddington

they couldn't telegraph his name that

wouldn't mean anything to him but of

course they were able to telegraph a

description

of what he looked like and they

recognized his cello or they thought

they did

getting off the train so you've got all

the bobbies at the other end knowing

what this guy looks like that's right

and that's how they got him

an unprecedented i mean something we

take for granted nowadays because it's

unprecedented back in that day yeah well

i think it was the beginning of making

our whole lives much quicker and that's

a road that we've traveled on from then

until now so everything's got speedier

to start off with

it was just use a sort of emergency

service uh i don't think it'd be used

every day

but then of course business found out

how useful that would be to get the

information really quickly

yeah so that took off and then of course

the news

and then spread to be used in more and

more different ways

every time i send an email

i should be thinking about this machine

because this is basically

where it all began telegrams meant

breaking news stories could be sent to

newspaper companies in london's fleet

street within minutes

the victorian age saw a boom in

newspaper sales

thanks to the railway network that

distributed them

printer patrick rowe is showing peter

how a newspaper proof

would have been quickly assembled once

news came through the telegraph system

so you're you're putting it in upside

down

yes it's just easier to read from left

to right the way you you normally would

right the letters are all back to front

so that when you ink them up and print

them

they're the right way around it wasn't

just the railways that boosted

circulation

in the 19th century homes were

increasingly being fitted with gas or

even electric lighting

providing more time for reading is that

rubber or metal

it's zinc and the tones are produced by

these dots

and the smaller the dot the the lighter

the tone and the larger the dots

the the darker the tone yeah

it's like you're doing this with bits of

meccano

sorry what are these so these are coins

these are the very old-fashioned type

called temple coins

where you can see what's going on the

two wedges yeah and as you turn

the key make makes the wedges take up

more space

yeah so it compresses so it locks

everything the type and

locks it all up nice and right nice and

firm

so we put the type in so i'll have to

ink it up and

uh proof it

before the railways newspapers had been

a luxury item

the times cost five pence a third of the

daily wage of a station porter

but when the daily telegraph dropped its

price to a penny

in 1856 other papers soon followed suit

that's better oh that's good

that's so crisp isn't it basically they

are the proof the proof and i would be

taking this to

somebody would need to check it before

it goes together

with the lines of type to make put the

whole pages together

so flying scotsman breaks world speed

record so we just need to check the

picture oh my goodness i can see the

driver

although headlines were still handset

the body of text was set

using state-of-the-art machinery

then the proof finalized the newspaper

was then ready for printing

as newspapers became more affordable

circulation

soared driving a need for better

printing methods

by the 1860s rotary printing presses fed

by rolls of paper

five miles long were able to print up to

twelve thousand pages per hour

newspapers could now be printed through

the night

[Music]

and delivered to the railway station in

the early hours of the morning

[Music]

this is news today and it's chip paper

tomorrow and that was only possible

because of the railways

[Music]

newspapers could be on sale in towns and

cities all over britain

before breakfast

for the first time it was possible to

wake up to national news

hot off the press

inside the newspapers readers were

bombarded with adverts for goods and

services

from health pills and skin creams

to job vacancies

even babies

in victorian britain having an

illegitimate child

carried a huge stigma

but amongst the classifieds were adverts

purporting to solve an unmarried

mother's problem

at a time before adoption and fostering

laws

it was perfectly legal to hand your

child over to whoever you wanted

even a complete stranger

social historian dr meg arno has spent

years researching these adverts

tell me why on earth are these very

lovely sounding

adverts such a problem okay we have an

advertisement

here wanted a child to adopt by a

respectable married couple

who have no children of their own

premium required

30 pounds it could actually be a genuine

couple who have no children

and they want to adopt

but there is some code there that

suggests to me that it might actually be

something different

they're saying they want a really quite

significant premium

of money to be handed over with the

child that is they want 30 pounds

they will take a child if you pay them

30 quid yes

we could well be talking about uh baby

farmer

a form of human trafficking the term

baby farmer was coined in the 19th

century to describe

people who profited from taking on

infants for a fee

often with the intention of selling them

on deliberately neglecting them

or even to dispose of them all together

the railways made it possible for

unmarried mothers

to travel far away from the people they

knew and hand over their child on a

station platform

all the while remaining entirely

anonymous

the very last baby farmer to hang in

britain was rhoda willis who

died in wales in august 1907.

so rhoda willis advertised for

a child to adopt and someone very

quickly answered her

ad with a newborn baby which she picked

up

at a railway station along with eight

pounds

and then she caught the train back to

her lodgings in cardiff

and and then her landlady found the body

in her room

and she also confessed to actually

killing the child on the train

gosh before she even got home before she

even got home

and i have come across other cases where

there are allegations that these infants

were killed on trains

so another you know the darkest element

at the worst end of it's an

utterly cynical murdering

trade what was most important to a new

a woman with an illegitimate child who

she was trying to get rid of was that it

was

kept secret because her reputation

was shredded by having an illegitimate

child

and the railways provided that secret

somewhere environment

nefarious activities almost any sort

really

a new place rather paradoxically

a new place is no different is it from

the internet the internet is an amazing

thing

and this new flow of information and

communication across the world but

part of the information that flows is

criminal is criminal

[Music]

as the 19th century progressed new

railway lines

funded by entrepreneurs began to spread

to every corner of britain

initially there was little coordination

in building these new routes

but gradually they began to be linked up

making long-distance rail travel

possible

linking scotland and england were two

competing routes

the west coast line and the most

celebrated

the east coast line

the most famous locomotive to work this

route has just undergone

10 years of restoration costing four and

a half

million pounds

the flying scotsman the most iconic

steam engine

of all time i mean look at the size of

those wheels

phenomenal aren't they railway companies

on the west coast and east coast lines

were competing to provide the quickest

service

to do this they needed ever more

powerful locomotives

so in 1923 one of the greatest engineers

of the age

sir nigel grizzly gave us the flying

scotsman

the first locomotive to officially reach

100 miles an hour

the journey from london to edinburgh had

taken 10 and a half hours

now behind the flying scotsman it took

just eight

rail operations manager noel hartley is

prepping it to go back out on the main

line

hi noel great to meet you yeah right

well the flying scotsman service

traveled between

edinburgh and london but this locomotive

enabled a non-stop service up right

that's right it had it had a few

features um to enable it to do that so

it had

um enough coal to get from london to

edinburgh or vice versa

which was nine tons the loco also needed

a huge amount of water

it could carry 5000 gallons but that

just wasn't enough

to prevent it having to stop to refill

there was an ingenious solution

water troughs were placed between the

rails along the route

by luring a scoop into the trough the

flying scotsman could collect an extra

12 000 gallons of water

without stopping

[Music]

another issue was crew fatigue normally

a driver would do

you know um four five six hours on a

shift but because it was going to be

an eight hour nine hour journey they

needed to change the crew halfway

so they invented a corridor tender

mainline steam engines pulled a tender

where the coal and water was stored

but this meant the driver and firemen

were cut off from the rest of the train

gresley's inclusion of a corridor

through the tender meant the crew could

now pass from the footplate to the

carriages behind

tight squeeze there peter right there

i've been laying off the donuts alex

look my goodness look at

the this of a corridor enabled the

flying scotsman to make the first ever

non-stop service between london and

edinburgh in 1928.

mr nigel grisley designed these engines

he

just emphasizes the genius of the man

and he really pushed the engines to push

the boundaries of speed

he did by using the simple innovation of

the corridor

swapping crews halfway meant the job of

looking out for more than

700 signals and shoveling nine tons of

coal

could now be shared

so we're getting to see parts of the

flying scotsman

that other enthusiasts can't reach well

there's one other innovation that made

the flying scotsman once the world's

fastest locomotive

but to get to it you have to go under

the engine

and what you need to do is find

something to hold on to and pull

yourself up between the frames

don't break anything i'll try not to

including yourself

steam engines conventionally had two

cylinders but grizzly's flying scotsman

had three cylinders enabling it to run

more smoothly with greater power

there we go raining oil

and then you basically pull it open oh

whoa

it's quite a bit isn't it this is

obviously one of the dirtiest jobs that

you have to do on a steam engine playing

out the smoke

there's a dirty job that needs doing no

yeah me as your man

although once the pinnacle of

engineering the flying

scotsman is at its heart a steam

locomotive

still requiring long and complicated

procedures to get it up and running

it obviously isn't the case of just

turning an ignition key and starting

this thing up there's actually quite a

warm-up phase isn't there

there is a warm-up phase you've got

around a 24-hour period

of warmth gently warming the engine

through before you even light the fire

you've got to check

inside the firebox to make sure that

nothing's leaking so can we have a look

in the firebox

yep you can uh just obviously lower

yourself down and um

and slide in there get reminded of

winnie the pooh doing this

oh my goodness you can just feel the

residual heat here

when was it when was when was the loco

three days ago so it's still reasonably

warm

yeah wow it's amazing the heat coming

off of this yeah

three days later goodness this this is

what i imagine

hell's like before you light the fires

yeah

once the firebox has been checked it

must be loaded up with coal

you're going to do it in one in one

swing so start from there and then round

them straight in

momentum otherwise

[Music]

without breaking the shovel idea

it's a small hole it is a small one well

i've made she got through that

ah this right peter we won't go out the

station

put it near the firehole door until it

gets burning properly

what we need to do is throw it on top of

that coal at the front

what there we go all right the fire is

in the fire box

we have fire okay so the fire is going

quite well now

it's time to put a little bit more coal

on top my go

well no the pressure's on now

[Music]

revenge of the dish best served cold

okay so is it all right if i put some on

there just so it goes in the right place

yeah you go on then that's great

[Music]

what's the master at work yeah

you can see why in order to graduate

into a mainline

loco you had to work your way up you had

to work your way through the

shunting the branch lines clearing the

whole shebang

well all of the oiling as well you know

knowing all the component parts

so that you're prepared and trained to

take on a piece of technology which is

effectively the concord of its age

keeping passengers goods and mail

services running across the rail network

created a whole new array of

the railways employed a workforce of

half a million

from engine drivers and firemen

engineering crews

boilermakers through to guards

[Music]

signalmen and porters

but none of the trains could run if it

wasn't for this one job

[Music]

the wheel tapper there is a ring there

isn't there

okay it was the job of the wheel tapper

to check the wheels before each journey

in the case of the flying scotsman and

its carriages it would mean tapping over

120 wheels

[Music]

a cracked wheel like a cracked bell does

not sound the same as one in good

working order

they do not ring true that one rings

quite nicely

nice isn't it that's ringing like a bell

really you can hear it echoing down the

rail

that's right this one

doesn't ring quite like the other one

but you i don't think you would see the

crack

well unless it was really obvious right

so so

it might be just a hairline crack

somewhere

so that is the point of the tapping then

it's defining things that you couldn't

see with a naked eye

yeah but the old wheel tappers would

they'd be tuned to that they'd know

exactly

if you didn't if that's what you're

doing because i mean that was an entire

job wasn't it

oh that's all they did

[Music]

is showing ruth how defects were

recorded on a form

and clipped onto the wagon

if it was a serious fault they put a red

card in it which means it's it's totally

out of um

[Music]

if a faulty wheel caused the train to

break down or derail

the network could come to a standstill

delaying goods

passengers and mail so damaged wheels

had to be sent to the workshop for

repair

wheels such as those on the flying

scotsman are composed of a wheel pan

and a separate steel tire

it meant that if the tire cracked or

wore out the whole wheel wouldn't need

replacing

at the south devon railway workshop ruth

is helping engineer richard elliot fit a

new tire to a train wheel

first the tyre is heated to make it

expand

this is the tyre itself that's the steel

band that's the tyre itself that's the

sorry

and this is just a fire all the way

around it

yeah a gas fire in this place you've got

about the same as your

pyrrole grill oh my goodness yeah

yeah just a series of flames so all

you're doing

is warming it to about 220 degrees right

gas mark 8 for you for about 25 minutes

how do you know when it's cooked enough

well basically

she'll go a nice golden color all over

and the modern technology gives us

things called temple sticks which are

basically waxes that melt at specific

temperatures

the other way that are doing it more

victorian for you

um was basically the spit on it so when

i do any harm if i try this bit

yeah give it a go see if you can see how

hot it is i

missed got my fit in his rubbish

we've been getting you a glass of water

hopeless

have you gone oh you're much better

oh look at that bubble jump see the

bubble jumps yep all right so we're

after a little bit hotter today we're

not quite

although some modern elements have been

introduced the method is exactly as it

would have been in the age of steam

so obviously our crayon is saying we're

we're hot enough

right and if we can spit on it it's

rather dry because

so it just hits and and forms into a

ball and skids around on it

so we're we're probably about hot enough

hey connect so let's go for it let's

switch her off and put her in

once the tire is expanded the wheel pan

is inserted

the tire must fit within a thousandth of

an inch of the wheel diameter

that's also accurate the tire is pressed

and as it cools it shrinks onto the

wheel pan

excellent it's hot it's all spun down

hold on that was really exciting thank

you

i know you made it look so calm

professional but i i found that pretty

exciting actually

that's good right cup of tea

in the days of steam the bigger the

driving wheels

the faster the local could go

on small locomotives the wheels are

around three feet in diameter

but the flying scotsman's wheels are

more than double this size

it was a locomotive built for speed a

racehorse of the locomotive world

with the loco now in full steam it's

ready to recreate the legendary route

connecting london and edinburgh don't

make them like they used to do they

no look at this amethyst that's actually

named

travelling in style isn't it are we here

in here good stuff

with rival railway companies competing

to attract passengers

the range and quality of services they

offered was of paramount importance

head steward kieran flynn is training

alex in the exacting

standards expected by first-class

passengers

back in the 1930s do we know when this

started then

serving food on track the first the

first meal served on the train was 1878

right and the papers at the time

reported that um the food was all lovely

and that

even though the train was traveling at

60 miles an hour and the brakes were

applied

nothing was spilled nothing was broken

right they were quite impressed by that

in the time so i've got quite a lot to

live up to today i i got a

i got a feeling that's not going to be

the situation for me today

kieran is showing alex how to lay a

table for a five-course dinner

our main plate here that's right our

salad plate goes on top here

yep okay and our side plate there that's

correct to the left

okay now cutlery so right hand side with

the knife so you have your starter knife

on the outside

right the main knife on the inside

working in towards the main course

and then these um great scissors

great scissors yeah right this really is

fine dining isn't it

so if you had a bunch of grapes and you

needed to get through the stem yep

that's what that's yeah right that's it

just now

kieran providing service in style in a

regular restaurant is hard enough

but how hard is it doing it on a train

that's doing 60 miles an hour it can be

quite tricky

the main thing is just to not fight it

is if you try and

uh fight against it then you'll you'll

slam into the walls a bit harder

is to be prepared for it and just kind

of try and bounce up whatever you land

on

right and walk with your legs slightly

wider apart right okay

okay so a bit of a gate yeah sort of sea

legs in some ways isn't it

having good having good sea legs

in the 1920s and 30s the flying scotsman

was the pride of the nation

first-class passengers were expected to

dress smartly

[Music]

even peters made an effort peter oh

oh my goodness white yeah

on a railway powered by steam how am i

stealing

how long are you going to stay right

long enough because it's only for

dining i'm not intending to go up there

and shovel it

not particularly happy ruth word on the

grapevine

we've got a trainee waiter

i've got my sea legs my gate watching

where i'm going

to serve food on a swaying train without

spilling it

waiters were blindfolded and trained to

walk along a white line on the carriage

floor

as the trains speeded along

this is quite rocky rolly

are you alright

in 15 minutes i need to have these

customers

head chef tony keane is challenged with

cooking high quality restaurant food

in a tiny kitchen at over 80 miles an

hour

how many meals are you looking at

preparing then on a train like this um

on average we're doing around 250 diners

across the different classes 250 diners

yeah we cook a lot of the meals to order

there's 250 people that will do 1500

plates of food

today individual plates of food which

all have to be washed by hand

by my guys down there both inside the

wall with hot water

with space limited early victorian

dining cars had an open-air veranda at

the kitchen end

which was used for jobs like peeling

potatoes

inside the food was cooked on an open

fire

you're cooking on gas though i mean

imagine what it would have been like

cooking on

on coke i can't imagine the the the salt

the mess

respect goes out to those guys um we

we have we have operational issues along

those lines but not as

hardcore as it would have been done in

the past it would have been a proper

workhouse in those days

in 1925 passengers on british trains

consumed over seven and a half

million meals on long distance journeys

they were up to three sittings tables

could be reserved by telegram

wow

the first pullman dining cars designed

by american engineer george pullman

were made in detroit workshops and

shipped to britain

but the flying scotsman didn't just

cater for diners

they also tempted passengers with other

luxury services

from a cinema to a hairdressing salon

passengers could also listen to music on

headphones

for the business traveler there was even

a dictaphone service

we've both dressed up for this

experience do you think that most of the

people

who were doing this for real were also

you know the well-heeled the

well-dressed

well london and edinburgh were the two

largest cities in the british empire

certainly

in terms of finance so it's such an

important connection

that not being able to communicate

easily and quickly between business

people

must have been absolutely a godsend

and you can just imagine the whole train

can't you buzzing with really important

conversations

as well as with people off on their

holes to to the highlands of scotland

the flying scotsman is crossing the

royal border bridge

the gateway to scotland

but in the restaurant car there's a

crisis

the kitchen is running low on salmon

modern trains have the ability to call

ahead to the next station to stock up on

supplies but not in the age of steam

we're down to our last couple of salmon

and there was no way of communicating

from the flying scotsman or indeed

any train in the period so if you wanted

to get some

more salmon and potatoes or indeed if

something had gone wrong on the train

and you need to get a message out you

had

to write it down rip off the note

and then if you had your handy potato

you can make an incision in the side

fold it up slip it in and as you pass a

signal box

throw it out

that potato has gone to signal box that

signal box will telegraph forward

and when we reach our next stop our

supplies will be waiting for us

[Music]

gooseberry jelly

[Music]

i'm just going to get some cream

[Music]

for the first time in nearly two decades

the flying scotsman is arriving

in edinburgh that was great wasn't it

absolutely the flying scotsman enabling

communication between edinburgh

journey of a lifetime

[Music]

wow we have just gone from london to

edinburgh on the flying scotsman

there's linking up of britain at such

speed i know you start to sort of

really get that sense don't you for

being one country it's the sort of

galvanizing of a nation that the

railways afford us isn't it

not just through the ability to travel

at great speed but also through things

like the telegraph as well as

technological developments

if you don't have the telegraph you

don't have instantaneous messaging

therefore you don't have

news so to speak yeah yeah and then you

get the transportation of all that news

out from the big publishers to every

corner of the country

and then you can write to people about

the news you've read yeah and that goes

on the mail

yeah it's quite amazing we think in our

own lifetime

profound changes that we've seen because

of the digital revolution you know

there's

this internet revolution we can back

project those and we can see all those

same elements

i think so we can really understand what

it must have been like for people to

move

from that sort of pre-railway age and

everything in your life is very

localized

to this sudden slum of connecting up

very global once you've got it you

forget how

you lived without it yeah that's very

true that's very true you see people's

lives change

utterly it's still a remarkable

achievement though getting from london

to edinburgh in the speed we did

today and in the style that we did today

yeah we'll speak for yourself next time

we see how branch lines revolutionize

trade

turning welsh wool into a world-renowned

business

putting scotch whiskey on the map

this is a bit like being on a pogo stick

and making devon britain's biggest

producer of milk

this is the railway milk industry