Cardiff, capital city of the principality of Wales, is a vibrant centre whether you are a tourist, sports fan or a rail enthusiast. The city and its hinterland abounds with rail activity: Long distance express passenger trains from First Great Western and Virgin Trains, inter regional services from Wales and West and, naturally local commuter services. Rail Freight is abundant! Much of it is steel traffic to and from the Welsh CORUS facilities and raw materials from the docks. But there is also wagon load and containers from Freightliner's recently opened terminal at Wentloog (SWIFT). Ticket to Ride was at Canton when the first of the EWS Spanish built class 67 left for acceptance trials. By the time the film was completed in spring 2001 these units were a common sight. Newport is an important traffic centre, particularly for the docks. We catch the activity before pressing on to Llanwern and the Severn Tunnel. The English side of the estuary is very different. We visit Bristol Parkway, have a quick look at the work in progress on the new station there and at the recently opened Royal Mail centre, then it's onto Filton Abbey Wood, a station built especially for the new MOD procurement centre of the same name. We look at Avonmouth and the freight that it generates, and Clifton with the famous Brunel suspension bridge dominating the gorge before arriving at Templemeads. This is the major interchange station of the southwest and is currently being expanded. Train operator Thames Trains has joined the action with its new service to Oxford. From Bristol we make an excursion west to the seaside resort of Weston super Mare and call in at the Mecca for German railway modellers ?Model Masters" to see their newly refurbished shop and layout before heading back towards Bristol. On the way we look at the Portishead branch, that is to be re-opened to rail traffic and look at the freight potential that it offers. As a rail based "day out" the old Bristol dock and maritime museum at the floating harbour is worth consideration. It's still rail connected and has a nice collection of pre 1940 wagons on show. Then back to Templemeads which will be the starting point for part two of this rail excursion. Part 2 Bristol to Portsmouth, is by far the the more photogenic section, Bath, the Avon and Wylye Valleys, rural Wiltshire and Hampshire, interrupted by heavy haul at Westbury and the ceaseless activity at Southampton. Narrated RT 65 mins ©FHP 2000
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