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TV List (Documentary Programmes)


The following are our favourite railway documentary programmes shown on TV in the UK. Unlike our ‘Film’ list, these programmes do not exclusively concern UK based railways.


The following table is a summary of each listed Programme. Scroll below the table to find Series and Episode details (note the table is too complex to be read on a smart phone however the detailed information under the table does appear).

Architecture the Railways Built
Tim Dunn
Three Series to date
From 2020
Around the World by Train
Tony Robinson
Channel 5
Two Series to date
From 2019
Britain’s Scenic Railways
George Clarke and Kevin Mcloud
Channel 4
One Series to date
Coastal Railways
Julie Walters
One Series to date
Extreme Railways
Chris Tarrant
Six Series
2012 - 2019
First Great Western
Channel 5
Two Series
2013/ 2014
Great Alaskan Railroad Journeys
Michael Portillo
One Series
Great American Railroad Journeys
Michael Portillo
Four Series
2016- 2020
Great Asian Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
One Series
Great Australian Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
One Series
Great British Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
13 Series to date
2010 - 2021
Great Canadian Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
One Series
Great Continental Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
Seven Series (37 Episodes)
2012 - 2020
Great Indian Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo
One Series
Great Model Railway Challenge
James Richardson and Tim Shaw
Channel 5
Two Series to date
From 2018
Great Rail Restorations
Peter Snow
Channel 4
One Series
Great Railway Journeys
Four Series
Hornby – A Model Railway World
Two Series to date
From 2021
Impossible Railways
Two Series to date
2018 -2019
Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways
Dan Snow
One Series
Making Tracks
Bob Symes/ Mary-Jean Hasler
Three Series
On The Rails
Mark Williams
One Series
Rail Away
Tom van der Plas/ Bob van der Houven
Dutch TV
55 episodes to date
From 1996
Railway Walks
Julia Bradbury
One Series
Railways of the Great War
Michael Portillo
One Series
Riding Britain's Railways
Dan Cruickshank
Nat Geographic
One Series
Scotland's Scenic Railways
Channel 4
One Series
Scotland's Scenic Railways with Julie Walters
Julie Walters
Channel 4
One Series
Secrets of the London Underground
Tim Dunn / Siddy Holloway
Two Series to Date (3rd due in 2023)
From 2021
Secrets of the Railways
Guy Walters, Dominic Selwood, Claire Barratt
Yesterday, UK TV
One Series
Steam Railways
BBC iPlayer
Up to 16 episodes available
Steam Train Britain
One Series
The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway
Julian Barratt
Four Series
2014 - 2019
The Golden Age of Steam Railways
Jenny Agutter
One Series
The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track
Kevin Whately
One Series
The Railways That Built Britain
Chris Tarrant
Channel 5
One Series
The Train Now Departing
One Series
Train Truckers
Simon Chadwick
Two Series
Trains that Changed the World
Liz McIvor, Christian Wolmar, Joshua Levine, Andy Robertshaw
One Series
Trains with Pete Waterman
Pete Waterman
Two mini-series
Trainspotting Live on BBC4
Peter Snow, Dr Hannah Fry Dick Strawbridge
One Series
Walking Britain’s Lost Railways
Rob Bell
Channel 5
Four Series
World’s Greatest Train Journeys from Above
One Series
World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys
Bill Nighy
Channel 5
Six Series
From 2019
Yorkshire Steam Railway: All Aboard
Mark Addy
Channel 5
Three Series to Date
From 2018

(1) The Architecture the Railways Built


Series One (2020)


1. Down Street tube station/Rotterdam Centraal station/Bennerley Viaduct

2. Ffestiniog Railway/Amsterdam Centraal station/The Landmark Hotel, Marylebone

3. King's Cross station/ Clifton Rocks Railway/ Dartmouth station/ Göltzsch Viaduct

4. Ribblehead Viaduct/ Settle–Carlisle line/ Surbiton station/ Hungerburgbahn

5. Metro-land/ Great Malvern station/ Glacier Express

6. St Pancras station/ Midland Grand Hotel/ Castle Howard station/ Stoosbahn

7. Snowdon Mountain Railway/ Hafod Eryri/ Severn Bridge Junction signal box/ Strasbourg-Ville station

8. 55 Broadway/ Helsinki Central station/ Wolferton station/ Barmouth Bridge

9. Stockton and Darlington Railway/ Hitachi Newton Aycliffe/ Chappel Viaduct/ Stockholm metro

10. Swindon railway village/ Jubilee Line Extension/ Milano Centrale station


Series Two (2021)


11. Wemyss Bay station/ Blackfriars station/ São Bento station

12. Royal Albert Bridge/ Saltash station/ Wolverhampton Low and High Level stations/ Gällivare station

13. Connel Bridge/ Windsor & Eton Central and Riverside stations/ Gniezno railway depot

14. Piccadilly line Extension/ Plzeň station/ Causey Arch

15. Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway/ Lynton and Barnstaple Railway/ Catesby Tunnel/ Leipzig station

16. Barrow Hill Roundhouse/ Bath Green Park and Bath Spa stations/ Łódź Fabryczna station

17. Sheffield station/ Bennerley Viaduct/ Lisbon Orient station

18. Bristol Temple Meads station/ Southend Pier Railway/ Haapsalu station

19. Huddersfield station/ Hohenzollern Bridge/ Midland Hotel/ Morecambe Promenade station

20. Wingfield station/ Welland Viaduct/ Malmö Central station and City Tunnel


Series Three (2021)


21. Newcastle Central, High Level Bridge, Ballochmyle and Laigh Milton Viaducts, Oberweißbacher Bergbahn

22. Wharncliffe Viaduct, Three Bridges, Ballater station, Rossio station, Brentford Dock

23. Charing Cross station, Hungerford Bridge, Borås Central station, Ordsall Chord

24. Bramhope Tunnel, Dresden Hauptbahnhof, Fawley Hill

25. Saltburn, Brislington tram depot, Aleksandrów Kujawski station

26. Bishopstone station, Stockholm Central station, Selby Diversion

27. London and Greenwich Railway, Žampach Viaduct, Alnwick station

28. North Staffordshire Railway Company and Stoke station, Byker Viaduct, Elbląg Canal

29. Margate and Ramsgate stations, Dom Luís I Bridge, Mail Rail

30. Birmingham Curzon Street Station, Copenhagen Metro, Bekonscot model village


(2) Around the World by Train


Series One (2019)

1. France, Germany, Hungary, Turkey

2. India & Burma

3. Thailand & Malaysia

4. Australia

5. Japan

6. USA


Series Two (2020)

7. France

8. Argentina and Peru.

9. Mexico, on board El Chepe

10. Canada

11. Vladivostock and Trans-Siberian Express

12. Fjords of Norway.

(3) Britain’s Scenic Railways


One Series

1. Lake Windermere and Fourth Bridge

2. Yorkshire Moors and Royal Albert Bridge

3. West Highland Line

4. Yorkshire Moors and Anglesey

5. Britain’s Scenic Railways at Xmas


(4) Coastal Railways


One Series

1. West Highland Railway

2. The East Coast Line (Newcastle to Edinburgh)

3. The Great Western Road (Devon and Cornwall)

4. Wales to Liverpool (Aberystwyth to Liverpool via Tywyn, Ffestiniog railway and Snowdonia.


(5) Extreme Railways


Series One (2012)

1. Congo's Jungle Railway

2. Australia's Outback Railway

3. India's Monsoon Railway


Series Two (2015)

4. Railroad to Mandalay

5. Crossing the Andes

6. One Way Ticket to Siberia

7. Slow Train to Guantanamo Bay

8. The Great Japanese Train Ride

9. The Railway That Created Canada


Series Three (2016)

10. Ice Train to Nowhere

11. Night Train to Patagonia

12. The Diamond Railway

13. Trans-Caucasus Railway

14. On the Xmas Express


Series Four (2017/18)

15. Destination Timbuktu

16. Crossing the Baltics

17. Return to Yugoslavia

18. Railway to The Holy Land

19. Railways of the Holocaust


Series Five (2019)

20. Conquering the Alps

21. The Train in Spain

22. A Railway Too Far?

23. The Reunification Express


Series Six (2019)

24. Railways of the Western Front

25. Last Train to Transylvania

26. The Eastern Express

27. Crossing the Emerald Isle

28. The Lunatic Express


(6) First Great Western


Two series

Series 1: 8 episodes

Series 2: 4 episodes


(7) Great Railway Journeys

Series 1: Great Railway Journeys of the World (1980)

1. Coast to Coast (New York to LA) -  Ludovic Kennedy

2. The Long Straight (Sydney to Perth) -  Michael Frayn

3. Deccan (Bombay to Cochin) -  Brian Thompson

4. Confessions of a Trainspotter (London to Kyle of Lochalsh) -  Michael Palin

5. Zambezi Express Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Michael Wood

6. Three Miles High (Lima to La Paz) -  Miles Kington

7. Changing Trains (Paris to Budapest) -  Eric Robson


Series 2: Great Railway Journeys (1994)

1. Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar - Clive Anderson

2. Cape Town to The Lost City -  Rian Malan

3. St. Petersburg to Tashkent -  Natalia Makarova

4. Derry to Kerry - Michael Palin

5. Santos to Santa Cruz - Lisa St Aubin de Terán

6. Karachi to The Khyber Pass - Mark Tully


Series 3: Great Railway Journeys (1996)

1. Crewe to Crewe

2. Aleppo to Aqaba

3. Great Zimbabwe to Kilimatinde

4. The High Andes to Patagonia

5. Mombasa to the Mountains of the Moon

6. London to Arcadia

7. Halifax to Porteau Cove


Series 4: Great Railway Journeys (1999)

1. East to West

2. Granada to Salamanca

3. Tokyo to Kagoshima

4. Los Mochis to Veracruz

5. Guantanamo to Pinar Del Rio

6. St. Louis to Dogon Country

7. Singapore to Bangkok


(8) Great Alaskan Railroad Journeys


One Series

1. Ninilchik to Spencer Whistlestop

2. Anchorage to Wasilla

3. Talkeetna to Denali

4. Fairbanks to Juneau

5. Skagway to Carcross


(9) Great American Railroad Journeys

Four Series - 55 Episodes


Series One (2016):

New York City to Niagara Falls / Philadelphia to Jamestown


Series Two (2017):

St. Louis, Missouri to the Grand Canyon / The Twin Cities to Memphis


Series Three (2018):

Massachusetts to Toronto/ Reno to San Diego


Series Four (2020):

A re-edited version of Great Alaskan Railroad Journeys and Great Canadian Railway Journeys


(10) Great Asian Railway Journeys

One Series (10 long, 20 short Episodes)

1. Hong Kong

2. Chiang Mai to the River Kwai

3. Bangkok to Hua Hin

4. Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An

5. Hue to Halong Bay

6. Jakarta to Borobudur

7. Yogyakarta to Surabaya

8. Penang to Cameron Highlands

9. Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru

10. Singapore


(11) Great Australian Railway Journeys

One Series

1. Port Augusta to Darwin

2. Sydney to Broken Hill

3. Adelaide to Perth

4. Canberra to Melbourne

5. Kuranda to Townsville

6. Newcastle to Brisbane


(12) Great British Railway Journeys


13 Series to date - 245 Episodes

(13) Great Canadian Railway Journeys


One Series

Eps 1 to 5: Halifax to La Malbaie

Eps 6 to 10: Vancouver to Calgary

Eps 11 to 15: Winnipeg to Jasper


(14) Great Continental Railway Journeys


Seven Series (37 Episodes)

Series 1: France, Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland

Series 2: Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Czech, France

Series 3: Russia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Israel, France

Series 4: Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Germany, and Spain.

Series 5: Romania, Switzerland, Morocco, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands

Series 6: Ukraine

[Remainer of Series 6 repackaged as Great Indian Railway Journeys]

Series 7: Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden


(15) Great Indian Railway Journeys

One Series

1. Amritsar to Shimla

2. Jodhpur to Delhi

3. Mysuru to Chennai

4. Lucknow to Kolkata


(16) The Great Model Railway Challenge

Two Series to date

Series One (2018): 6 Episodes

Series Two [2019]: 8 Episodes


(17) Great Rail Restorations

One Series

1. Brake Composite Carriage 1912 - Llangollen

2. 1864 Carriage- Isle of Wight

3. 1960 Pullman- Birmingham

4. Queen Victoria's Carriage

5. The Time Train


(18) Hornby - A Model Railway World

Two Series to date

Series 1: 10 Episodes

Series 2: Starts 16 January 2023


(19) Impossible Railways


Two Series to date

Series One (2018)

1. Urban Adventures

2. Into the wild

3. Crossing Chasms

4. Reaching new Heights

5. Waterworld

6. Need for Speed


Series 2 (2019)

1. Extreme Wilderness

2. Building Bridges

3. Into the Blue

4. City Limits

5. Full throttle

6. The Sky’s the Limit


(20) Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways

One Series:

1. Railways From their Beginnings

2. Development into National Network: (The Budget Airlines of the Victorians)

3. Late 19th Century to WW2 (How the Railways Changed War)


(21) Making Tracks

Three Series:

Series One

1. From Great Central Railway

2. From Mid-Hants Railway

3. From Middleton Railway,

4. From North Yorkshire Moors Railway

5. From Bluebell Railway

6. From Kent and East Sussex Railway


Series Two

1. From East Lancashire Railway

2. From Talyllyn Railway

3. From Austria

4. From Severn Valley Railway

5. From Ljubljana, Slovenia

6. From Keighley and Worth Valley Railway


Series Three

1. From Foxfield Railway

2. From Paignton and Dartmouth Railway

3. From St Florian, Austria

4. From West Somerset Railway

5. From Bolzano, Italy

6. From Midland Railway Centre


(22) On The Rails

One Series

1. Cornish Steam Giant

2. Rocket Men

3. Brunel

4. Moving Mountains

5. The Carriage Kings

6. Gorge Stephenson

7. Death on the Tracks

8. Big Country

9. Speed and Power

10. Out of Steam

11. Going Underground

12. Diesel Generation


(23) Rail Away


55 episodes to date

(24) Railways of the Great War

One Series

1. A Railway War Begins

2. Railways and Railwaymen Called to Action

3. Keeping the War Moving

4. On Track to Victory

5. Railways and Remembrance

(25) Railway Walks


One Series

1. The Peak Express (Monsal Trail)

2. Discovery Snowdonia (Mawddach estuary)

3. The Birth of Steam (Cornwall)

4. The Whiskey Train (Speyside Way)

5. Harbouring History (Weymouth/ Portland)

6. Gateway to the Highlands (Callander to Loch Tay)


(26) Riding Britain's Railways

One Series

1. George and Robert Stephenson

2. Tunnel Revolution

3. War Revolution


(27) Scotland's Scenic Railways

One Series

1. Union of South Africa, farewell tour of Scotland after 50 years of service.

2. The Flying Scotsman

3. The Jacobite steam train

4. Old Speyside railway

5. Royal Deeside steam Railway

6. West Highland line and the Forth Bridge

7. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Caledonian Sleeper, Wes

8. Flying Scotsman, West Highland Line, Wemys Bay Station

9 West Highland Line, Forth Bridge, Blair Castle

10. Strathspey Steam Railway, Forth Bridge, Glenfinnan

11. West Highland Line and Edinburgh Waverley Station

12. East Fife Railway, Atholl Highlanders


(28) Scotland's Scenic Railways with Julie Walters


North Berwick, the Jacobite steam train, herring gutting in Mallaig, visit to remote Duirinish in the western Highlands

(29) Secrets of the London Underground

Two Series to date (3rd series due 2023)

Series 1 (2021)

1. Holborn

2. North End

3. Piccadilly

4. Euston

5. St Mary's

6. Clapham


Series 2 (2022)

1. Charing Cross

2. Waterloo & City

3. King William Street and Knightsbridge

4. Brompton Road and St Pauls

5. London Bridge and Ongar

6. King’s Cross and Marlborough Road

7. Elizabeth Line and Angel

8. Quainton Road and Kingsway

9. Greenwich and Notting Hill

10. Baker Street and Edgware Road


(30) Secrets of the Railways

One Series:

1. The Nazi Gold Highway

2. Mystery of the Mountain

3. The Gold Rush Railway

4. Hitler's Arctic Railway

5. The Liverpool to Manchester Line

6. Rainforest Railway


(31) Steam Railways


A miscellaneous collection of programmes from the BBC archives celebrating steam

Up to 16 Episodes available including:

- Flying Scotsman

- Let’s Imagine

- The World About Us

- The Rainhill Story

- Tuesday Documentary

- In View

- The Past at Work

- The Great Railway Cavalcade (150 at Rainhill)

(32) Steam Train Britain

(Scenes on preserved railways)

One Series:

1. Behind the Scenes

2. Opening New Station

3. At South Devon Railway

4. Trainee Takes Driving Test

5. East Lancashire Railway

6. Welsh Highland Railway/ South Devon

7. East Lancs/ Wales

8. South Devon/East Lancs

9. Ffestiniog/ Welsh Highland/ South Devon

10. Welsh Highland/ East Lancs

(33) The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

(Story of Crossrail)


Series 1: 3 episodes (2014)

Series 2: 2 episodes (2017)

Series 3: 2 episodes (2019)

Series 4: 2 episodes (2022)


(34) The Golden Age of Steam Railways

One Series:

1. Small is Beautiful

2. Branching Out


(35) The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track

(Behind the scenes of the rail network)


One Series: 6 episodes

(36) The Railways That Built Britain

(Follow on from Extreme Railway Journeys)


One Series

1. Boom, Bust and Blood

2. How the Railways Won the War

3. Steam is Dead, Long Live the railways


(37) The Train Now Departing


One Series

1. The Long Drag (Settle–Carlisle line)

2. The West Highlander

3. The Holiday Line (Waterloo to Exmouth)

4. Steam on the Isle of Man

5. Lines of Industry (industrial railways)

6. The Survivors (preserved railways)


(38) Trains that Changed the World

(Liz McIvor, Christian Wolmar, Joshua Levine, Andy Robertshaw)

One Series

1. First impact

2. Age of Freedom

3. Brave New World

4. Metal Monsters

5. World on Move

6. Supertrains


(39) Trains with Pete Waterman

Two mini -series


Series 1:

Rocket Science/How Trains Won the War/ High Speed Revolution

Series 2:

Privatisation/ Eurostar and Pendolino


(40) Train Truckers


Two Series

Series 1: 6 episodes

Series 2: 6 episodes


(41) Trainspotting Live on BBC4

One series

3 episodes


(42) Walking Britain’s Lost Railways


Series One:

1. Elgin to Portsoy

2. Sheffield Victoria via Woodhead to Manchester Piccadilly

3. Dartmoor

4. Penrith to Cockermouth

5. Somerset and Dorset

6. Ruabon to Barmouth


Series Two:

7. Monsal Trail

8. The Durham Coalfields

9. Bangor – Penryn

10. Royal Deeside

11. M&GN: King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth

12. Waverley Line


Series Three

13. Ilfracombe branch

14. Callander and Oban Railway

15. Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway

16. Great Central Railway, Manchester to London.


Series Four:

17. York to Hull, via Beverley

18. Portreath Tramroad and Redruth and Chasewater Railway

19. Elham Valley Railway, Kent

20. Lost railways of Northern Ireland


(43) World’s Greatest Train Journeys from Above


One Series

1. Glacier Express, Switzerland

2. Winnipeg to Churchill

3. El Chepe, Mexico

4. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

5. The Ghan, Australia

6. Bergen Line, Norway


(44) World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys


Series One: (2019)

1. Canada

2. Spain

3. New Zealand

4. Wales

5. Norway

6. Switzerland


Series Two: (2020)

1. Scotland

2. African Safari

3. Copper Canyon

4. France

5. New Zealand

6. Finland

7. Sri Lanka


Series Three: (2021)

1. Cornwall

2. Scotland

3. Sicily

4. Lakes & Dales

5. Italy

6. Bavaria


Series Four (2021)

2. Taiwan

3. Norway

4. Austria

5. Welsh Boarders


Series Five (2021)

1. Australia India Pacific

2. Alaska

3. -

4. Sweden

5. The Far North Line

6. York to Edinburgh


Series Six (2022)

1. Scotland, Coast to Coast

2. Pacific Surfliner

3. Power through the Peak District

4. From the Quinta de Vargellas, Portugal

5. The Neapolitan Line, Italy

6. Africa

7. Denver

8. France

9. Spain

10. Queensland, Australia


(45) The Yorkshire Steam Railway: All Aboard

Three Series to date

Series 1: 6 Episodes

Series 2: 6 Episodes

Series 3: 6 Episodes


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