First shown: 29 Mar 1963

“Forget motorcars.

Get rid of anxiety.

Adhere to the rhythm of the Somerset and Dorset Joint railway.

Dream again that ambitious victorian dream which caused this long railway still to be running through deepest quietest flattest remotest least spoiled Somerset”

Musings, poetry and facts as we travel down the line.


“There is always something to see in a railway station.”


“You really see much more country once you have got out of the railway station from a train that you ever do from a motorcar.

No hoarding, no roadsigns, no lorries in front of you, no neurotics hooting behind you.”


“You know I am not just being nostalgic and sentimental and unpractical about railways.

Railways are bound to be used again.

They’re not a thing of the past.

And it is heartbreaking to see them left to rot.

And to see the fine men who serve them all their lives made uncertain about their own futures and about their jobs.

Whats more it is wrong in every way when we all of us know that road traffic is becoming increasingly hellish on this overcrowded island.

And in 10 years from now there will be three times as much traffic on English roads as there is today.

What will the West Country be like then?

How will we get anywhere in summer?

Except via railway.

How will we see any country?

Expect from a train.

I think it is more than likely that we will deeply regret the branch lines we’ve torn up and the lines we’ve let go to rot.

I mean even in America!

They are already building new suburban railway lines.”


“For me England stands for the Church of England, eccentric incumbents, oil-lit churches, women’s institutes, modest village inns, arguments about cow parsley on the altar….”

John Betjeman, Coming Home, BBC Broadcast.


  1. Nationalism = Dangerous
  2. What is Englishness?
  3. Is this question relevant now?
  4. What is the difference between Englishness and Britishness?
  5. Why do people find it important to define Englishness/Britishness?
  6. Is it important to have a national identity?
  7. Is Englishness cultural?
  8. Is Englishness religious?
  9. Is Englishness political?
  10. Is Englishness economic?
  11. Is Englishness social?
  12. Is Englishness active?
  13. Can architecture define what Englishness is?