James May's Toy Stories: The Great Train Race

James May's Toy Stories: The Great Train Race


In James May’s uplifting series of toy-related stunts back in 2009, one didn’t turn out to be quite as uplifting as intended. May’s attempt to run a model train along miniature track all the way from Bideford to Barnstaple in Devon ended in failure, disillusion and the smell of burnt-out electric motors.

But it really matters to May to see his childhood treasure, a tiny scale model of the Flying Scotsman “with realistic chuffing sound”, make the ten-mile trip. So he’s trying again, and this time there are three British trains (including a prototype running on a hydrogen fuel cell) competing against three German ones, including one powered – I kid you not – by sauerkraut. It makes for a ridiculously enjoyable watch.


The presenter tries to construct a functioning 10-mile-long model railway between the Devon towns of Barnstaple and Bideford. His previous attempt to complete the challenge ended in failure in 2009 after series of equipment problems, but James refuses to accept defeat - and even challenges the German owners of the world's largest toy railway museum to a race along the route.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Will Daws
Series Producer Tom Whitter