Portillo's TV programme & War Department stock

by Vic Mitchell


Railway's TV-wise man, Michael Portillo, has told the story of WWI and the need for railways in his BBC series 'Railways of the Great War', which was repeated last week. In particular, the use of 60cm portable track was discussed. One of the lightweight Simplex petrol-powered locomotives was able to haul the first trains on the revived Festiniog Railway.


The highlight of the series was a long interview with Tony Rudgard, a local friend. He explained how his father, Harold, had been an innovative loco engineer on the Midland Railway and how, eventually, his skills benefitted our Army, greatly.


I witnessed his brilliant management style after he became chairman of the FR Society and I was appointed a director, unexpectedly, in the mid-1950s. Harold taught me concept promotion, which has helped in the expansion of my Middleton Press.


His military transport success is detailed by Tony in Part 2 of this TV series. All five episodes are excellent viewing, and can still be seen on BBC iPlayer – available until early December 2018. If you don't know how to access this, ask around computer friends. I did!


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