Experienced globetrotter Chris Tarrant is fascinated by train travel: How the engines and tracks were built, how they are kept running and how they revolutionised remote communities. Join him as he explores some of the world's oldest and most stunning railway routes. Along the way there are breakdowns and unexpected detours. Why did a planned two-day journey through the Congo actually take six days? Why has the original Adelaide to Darwin railway, which took 100 years to complete, now been largely abandoned? Why did the Konkan railway require 92 tunnels and 2,000 bridges? Drivers, engineers and locals explain all as Chris enjoys some truly unforgettable and treacherous train rides. EPISODE ONE - "CONGO'S JUNGLE RAILWAY" This week Chris Tarrant is in West Africa to experience one of the greatest surviving African railways of the colonial era. Built by French colonists at a cost of tens of thousands of African lives, this railway connects the capital, Brazzaville, far inland on the Congo River, to the coast 310 miles away. It has remained a vital lifeline for both people and freight in a country with few roads and thousands of square of miles of impenetrable jungle. EPISODE 2: "AUSTRALIA'S OUTBACK RAILWAY" In this episode, Chris Tarrant crosses the Australian Outback, to find out the truth about an amazing railway. The 2,000 mile-long Adelaide to Darwin Railway is commonly known as GÇ£The Ghan LineGÇ¥. ItGÇÿs named after the luxury passenger service that runs on it and the name "Ghan" is said to derive from the Afghan-run camel trains that ferried people and goods across the Outback in the 19th Century. EPISODE THREE - "INDIAGÇÖS MONSOON RAILWAY" This week Chris Tarrant is travelling on the Konkan railway which runs down the west coast of India connecting the port cities of Mumbai and Mangalore. Although the British Empire built 40,000 miles of track across this vast sub-continent between, they stayed clear of this narrow, boggy strip of land as it was such a treacherous and difficult environment in which to build a railway. As a result Western India remained undeveloped until over 100 years later when a brave Indian engineer took on the daunting task. Known as GÇÿThe PeopleGÇÖs RailwayGÇÖ it opened in January 1998, finally connecting the remote villages along the route to the outside world.
Chris Tarrant's Extreme Railways Series 1