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There is no Next Episode of Full Steam Ahead planned.
Series exploring how the expansion of railways in the Victorian era transformed Britain. Historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn find out how the railways transformed the British diet, rescuing a nation that was struggling to feed itself. Alex and Peter load a flock of sheep onto a train, discovering how the mass transportation of livestock by rail transformed the quality and quantity of meat available to Victorian consumers. Ruth follows in the footsteps of Britain's herring girls, revealing how the North Yorkshire Moors Railway revived the fortunes of Whitby, turning it into a thriving fishing town. Alex looks at how pioneering farmers attempted to use steam power to increase production. Peter discovers how steam-powered engines revolutionised production at Britain's oldest brewery. In Yorkshire, Ruth sees how farmers created a monopoly on rhubarb. Meanwhile, Alex boards a locomotive on the watercress line in Hampshire.
At the National Railway Museum, Alex and Peter help get the most famous locomotive in the world, the Flying Scotsman, into steam. The team take a ride of a lifetime as the loco travels along its original route, connecting London and Edinburgh, and Alex finds out what it is like for catering staff with 250 hungry mouths to feed. Peter heads to the Great Central Railway to find out how the railways revolutionised the delivery of mail right across Britain and is put to task on the travelling post office. Ruth finds out what the role of the wheel-tapper entailed and helps to tyre a wheel with a steel band at the South Devon Railway workshop. In Bristol, Alex discovers how the railways were responsible for bringing the nation into sync, as he visits a clock with two minute hands. Meanwhile, Peter learns how the railways brought Britain current news for the first time.
In this episode, the team head to the South Devon Railway to explore the life of the branch line before the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. Ruth hand-milks a local breed of cow and discovers how the railways came to the rescue when a deadly disease wiped out almost the entire stock of London cattle.
After undergoing an eyesight test, Victorian-style, Peter joins the footplate crew on the South Devon line. But it is not all plain sailing when it comes to driving the milk train through the night. We meet Dave Knowling, a steam-engine driver of 63 years' experience, who shows Peter how it is done and why it is so important to keep one eye closed when shovelling coal. Working on the Victorian railways was dangerous - 500 lost their lives and 16,000 were injured in one year alone. Ruth discovers those who lost a limb on the Great Western Railway were catered for by a special prosthetic limbs workshop.
Alex and Peter take a trip to Strathspey Railway and find out about one of Scotland's most lucrative exports, while at the Gwili Line, Ruth finds out why a young, Welsh entrepreneur became the first person to introduce mail order catalogues - thanks to the railways.
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.