Full Steam Ahead

It’s Full Steam Ahead for historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn as they bring back to life the golden age of steam and explore how the Victorian railways created modern Britain.

  • Updated Tuesday 12th July 2016
  • Posted under TV, History
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Steam train with Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: LION TV Join us for our new Open University series in partnership with the BBC Full Steam Ahead where historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn re-live the golden age of steam and explore how the Victorian railways created modern Britain.

To complement the series, we've complied a range of fantastic learning resources to take your knowledge of the railways further. You can:

The first episode of Full Steam Ahead will be broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday 21st July 2016 at 8.00pm. Full broadcast details, and watch again links, can be found on bbc.co.uk.

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Select the image below to download your free poster. 

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University

How did the railways transform the British Isles since their introduction in the 19th century? What impact did they have on lives, work and travel for people living in the Victorian era and nowadays? Find out the answers to these questions and much more by downloading this free, double-sided poster produced by The Open University. 

Find out more about the fascinating history of the railways

Try a free course on the railways and heritage

Take it further with The Open University

Episode six

In the final episode the team find out how the combination of increased leisure time and affordable rail transport brought a new kind of freedom for working-class Victorians.

Ruth travels along the beautiful south Devon coast from Paignton to Kingswear where she helps get a paddle steamer prepared for a journey up the River Dart.

At Swanage, Peter finds out what it was like to work on the excursion trains and the impact mass tourism had to the area. Alex discovers how railways enabled geologists and amateur fossil-hunters to explore Britain’s prehistoric past.

In the heart of the capital, Ruth visits the landmark hotel built by the Midland Railway at St Pancras Station and finds out how the railways made London a tourist destination before embarking on a Victorian shopping spree.

The steam fair comes to town and Peter helps prepare the gallopers while Alex takes to the road in a steam car and discovers just how fast they could go.

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Episode one The first episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at the way Britain changed in the 19th century due to the railways Read more
Episode two This episode looks at when railway companies realised there was money to be made from moving people as well as goods. Read more
Episode three Find out how the railways saved many people from being malnourished and transformed the British diet. Read more
Episode four This episode focuses on the most famous locomotive in the world, the Flying Scotsman as well as the railways' role in... Read more
Episode five The team head to the South Devon Railways, in this episode, and looks at the milk trains. Read more
Episode six The final episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at how more free time and rail transport allowed Victorians to travel... Read more

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