The Golden Age of Steam Railways

Small Is Beautiful

Series 1 - Episode 1 Small Is Beautiful



This charming two-part film, first shown in December 2012, shows how a band of volunteers preserved derelict narrow-gauge railways and dinky Thomas-like steam engines. A lot of their labours in the 1950s to 70s were captured on remarkable colour cinefilm.

There’s the story of the Reverend Teddy Boston who bought a clapped-out engine called Pixie and built the Cadeby Light Railway in his rectory garden. Even more ambitious were two projects in north Wales: the Talyllyn railway that used to serve a slate quarry, and the Ffestiniog, whose restoration required a new tunnel through 271 metres of granite.

Fittingly, Jenny Agutter, forever associated with The Railway Children, is the narrator.


Part one of two. The story of the visionaries who rescued some of the narrow gauge railways that once served Britain's key industries, including its mines, quarries, factories and docks. Home movies reveal how volunteers set to work to bring the lines and steam engines back to life after they disappeared in the years following the Second World War. Narrated by Jenny Agutter.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Jenny Agutter
Director David Parker
Producer David Parker