Lynn, my sister-in-law, was complaining about there being too many TV programmes about trains…
there’s been Indian and African Railways, Michael Portillo’s retreading of John Betjeman at home and across Europe, there’s been Dan Snow’s useless history. ITV even got in on the act with Chris Tarrant. Now, there’s a film about model railways the Joy of (Train) Sets (geddit?).
The film about railways modelers, like all the films listed above, was great as long as you forgot that is about trains. The point is that the railway system, in full-scale or miniature, is a unique machine that combines people and technology. It integrates and networks, just like the computer and the internet.
At ground level, it’s pretty simple. It’s about service and punctuality. But at a more elevated and conceptual level, it can be about issues of space and time; from that perspective, it is almost as good as a Tardis.
I have a feeling that trains are popular because at least 50pc of the population love them…and that they provide an easily accessible metaphor for what is happening in cyberspace.
Anyway, the film about models was terrific. There were moments when is was impossible to tell tat you weren’t seeing something full size! You can watch the film, here
We may expect TV films about Chinese, Japanese and American railways soon. Actually, Latin American trains would be good.