Great American Railroad Journeys

November 2017

S1 Ep2 - Brooklyn To Montauk

3.0 0 x
From Manhattan, Michael follows his Appleton's General Guide east to Long Island. Beginning in Brooklyn, he hears the moving story behind the construction of the world's first steel suspension bridge high above the East River. He travels through New York City's first subway, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and follows in the footsteps of thousands of early 20th century holiday makers to Coney Island. In East Hampton he discovers home, sweet home, before his journey at the Montauk lighthouse on Long Isl...

S1 Ep1 - Manhattan: Grand Central To World Trade Centre

3.0 2 x
Michael Portillo explores America by rail following Appleton’s General Guide to the US of 1879 which was published at a key moment in American history: the turning point from 'new world' to the richest nation ever known. Michael's journey covers two rail itineraries: the first from New York City up the Hudson River to the Great Lakes, and the second from Philadelphia to Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the US.

Season 2 Episode 10 - Mattoon, Illnois To Memphis, Tennessee

3.0 10 x
Michael Portillo continues his 1,000 mile journey from Minnesota to Tennessee beginning and ending on the Mississippi River. Riding the mainline of mid-America, Michael stops at rural Mattoon, where he gets a taste of the tough early life, which shaped President Abraham Lincoln. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Michael struggles to split one rail compared with Lincoln’s estimated 700 a day. Basket in hand, Michael joins the Schwartz family apple harvest in Centralia and learns how to make apple ...
October 2017

Season 2 Episode 9 - Chicago To Champaign Illinois

3.0 9 x
In the nation’s rail capital, where tracks pass underground and over ground and are elevated into the air, Michael investigates the ultimate marshalling yard. At the ornate Palmer House Hotel, Michael recreates the original chocolate Brownie, invented by Bertha Palmer in 1893. He discovers the origins of the Sanitary and Ship Canal and uncovers the history of an incredible civil engineering project which raised the city to new heights. Heading deep underground Michael inspects a modern day sche...

Season 2 Episode 8 - Milwaukee To Chicago

4.0 10 x
Michael Portillo is in Milwaukee, the cream city on the shore of Lake Michigan and home to an American icon: the Harley Davidson motorcycle. Michael learns how the first magnificent machine was built in 1903 and hitches a ride. In Racine, Michael discovers a man who knew how to sort the wheat from the chaff and made a business out of it. Michael is blown away by the skyscrapers in Illinois’s Windy City, where he discovers how modern Chicago’s skyline replaced a largely wooden city, destroyed in...

Season 2 Episode 7 - Red Wing Minnesota To Portage Wisconsin

4.0 6 x
Steered by his Appleton’s Guidebook, Michael Portillo continues his rail journey along the Upper Mississippi to Red Wing, Minnesota, and the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of 'Little House on the Prairie'. Picking up the Empire Builder rail service he travels to Winona, where he takes to the water to find out how in the 19th century, the US Army Corps of Engineers made the Mississippi navigable and how the river is maintained today - not just for freight but for bald eagles and pelicans....
September 2017

Season 2 Episode 6 - Minneapolis-St Paul

3.0 11 x
Michael Portillo embarks on a new American rail journey that begins and finishes on the Mississippi River. It will take him 1,000 miles from the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby to Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. He discovers how Minneapolis harnessed the awesome power of the Mighty Mississippi to become a great industrial centre, the Mill City of the nation. And he finds how the city became the artificial limb capital of the world. In St Paul, Michael explores ...

Season 2 Episode 5 - Santa Fe New Mexico To The Grand Canyon

3.0 8 x
In the state capital of New Mexico, Michael explores the beautiful colonial architecture and is invited to visit a Native American pueblo.

Season 2 Episode 4 - La Junta To Colorado Springs

4.0 8 x
Michael Portillo reaches Colorado, where he follows in the footsteps of 19th century East Coast dudes who came to experience the cowboy life. At Bent's Old Fort, Michael is transported back to the Mexican American War of 1848 and finds himself inspecting the troops.
August 2017

Season 2 Episode 3 - Lawrence To Lamar, Colorado

3.0 11 x
In Lawrence, Kansas, Michael joins the Jayhawks basketball team before travelling through Tornado Alley to Topeka to meet one of the first storm chasers in America. Driving out on the Great Plains, Michael comes face to face with a herd of wild buffalo. Following the Santa Fe trail, Michael’s first stop is Dodge City, Queen of the Cow Towns, where he is caught up in a gun fight at the notorious Long Branch Saloon. He finds the Dodge City Cowboy Band still playing at gunpoint at the city depot a...