The World's Most Scenic Railway Journeys


Series 2 - Episode 3 Mexico

Thursday 1:35am - 2:25am 5SELECT


When a programme includes the line, “For train manager Mauricio, each day brings new challenges…” you tend to fear the worst – to expect one of those railway docs padded-out with non-events involving lost tickets or timetable delays. Not a problem here, though; this ride-along on El Chepe, the Mexican line that runs from Chihuahua to the Pacific, has enough ludicrous views and intriguing facts to fuel a programme twice the length.

Just the aerial photography of the Copper Canyon region – the largest system of gorges in the world, like a whole family of Grand Canyons – could fuel a whole slow-TV special. And the running culture of the region’s Tarahumara people looks very cool.

It doesn’t hurt that the commentary is delivered by Bill Nighy (“Time is a fickle mistress…” he tells us at one point), or that the landscape keeps throwing up wonders like the world’s longest zip-wire. One for the bucket list.


Beginning in the mountaintop town of Creel, the Chihuahua Pacifico Express - or El Chepe for short - winds its way through the Tarahumara Mountains, home to the reclusive Raramuri people. Divisadero, Mexico's most panoramic station, offers the first glimpse of Copper Canyon. Created by six separate yet conjoined gorges, it is four times the size of the Grand Canyon. The train continues on to the Urique Canyon, which at 6,200ft deep it is the deepest in North America. The final leg crosses the state of Sinaloa, Mexico's breadbasket, before reaching Los Mochis and the gateway to the Pacific Ocean. Narrated by Bill Nighy.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Bill Nighy
Director Peter Gauvain
Executive Producer Tom Porter
Producer Peter Gauvain
Series Producer Clare Fisher
Nature Lifestyle