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The series follows a year in the life of the railway, as we meet some of the seven hundred staff and volunteers who share their passion for the golden age of steam. Over the series we meet engine drivers and firemen, chefs, engineers, and visiting celebrities including artist David Shepherd and pop mogul Pete Waterman. As well as visiting engines including ‘Tornado’, ‘Oliver Cromwell’, and the vintage ‘Sir Berkeley’ that helped build the Great Central 110 years ago.
Across the series we discover the history of the railway, including the story of the TPO – the ‘Travelling Post Office’ where the post was sorted on mail trains as they sped through the night, and the ‘Windcutters’ – freight trains that carried coal from the Nottinghamshire coalfields to London and the South of England.
Special Gala events include visits by engines such as TORNADO, the first Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive to be built in Britain since the 1960s, and there are plenty of vintage visitors too including a replica of Stephenson’s ROCKET and SIR BERKELEY – an engine that helped build the railway 110 years ago! Other steam engines making regular appearances on the series include the BR standard class 7 OLIVER CROMWELL and the FAIRBURN tank engine.
As well as covering events happening along the line, the series delves into the fascinating world of the engine and wagon sheds where old locomotives, carriages and wagons are restored back to working life by the skill and passion of the engineers. One engine, the JINTY tank engine that was rescued from a scrapyard has been rebuilt over a fifteen year period by her owner and a small band of volunteers and makes her restoration debut at the Great Central.