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Great American Railroad Journeys

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In GREAT AMERICAN RAILROAD JOURNEYS, host Michael Portillo (Great Continental Railway Journeys) crosses the Atlantic for an epic trip down the East Coast of the United States. Following the 1879 guidebook Appleton's General Guide to the United States, he travels from New York City to historic Jamestown, Virginia. Along the way, he visits famous landmarks, samples local cuisine, and investigates America's diverse cultural origins and complex social history.

Episodes:

  • Canada: Edmonton to Jasper

    In the season finale, Michael Portillo continues west through the Canadian Prairie on his thousand-mile rail journey from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Jasper, Alberta. Edmonton prides itself on its modern light rail system, offering rapid transit to 80 million passengers per year. Michael hears how this growing city plans to keep pace. His journey across Canada's vast open spaces reaches a dramatic scenic conclusion in the Rocky Mountains. Deep in the Columbia icefield in a massive all-terrain Ice Explorer, Michael is awed by the scale, not least of the vehicle, but of the vast Athabasca Glacier. Traveling via Hinton to Jasper Michael learns of the race to lay transcontinental rails through the Rocky Mountains on two different routes. In the woodland around Hinton, Michael marvels at the scale of Canada's forestry industry and discovers how the enchanting beaver, once slaughtered for its fur, is now pampered.

    Length: 00:58:46
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022
  • Canada: Halifax to Prince Edward Island

    Michael Portillo begins a new journey on the tracks of the Ocean line to explore Canada's maritime provinces, en route to Quebec City. He begins in the Atlantic port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he discovers an 18th-century British hilltop citadel, manned at the time of his Appleton's guide by the 78th Highland Regiment. He learns of a catastrophic explosion in Halifax harbor in 1917, which killed 2,000 people and left 25,000 homeless. Former residents of an African Canadian community torn in two by the railway tell Michael of their struggle for redress. In the picturesque harbor town of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Michael discovers the first wave of Scots to settle in the region arrived on board a ship named "Hector." At the Northumberland Fisheries Museum, Michael investigates what it takes to keep Nova Scotia's top export on the menu. From Caribou, Michael catches the ferry to Prince Edward Island to meet its most famous resident at her beautifully-kept home. Charmed by the red-haired Anne of Green Gables and her fiery temper, he heads to PEI's provincial capital, Charlottetown, to see her record-breaking musical.

    Length: 00:58:56
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022
  • Canada: Kamloops to Calgary

    Michael Portillo boards one of the world's most famous trains, the Rocky Mountaineer, to cross the backbone of the North American continent from Kamloops to the spa resort of Banff. This magnificent journey takes him to the highest point of the 19th-century transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway line at Kicking Horse Pass, past Lake Louise and inside spiral tunnels blasted through the mountains. Reaching Banff, Michael follows his Appleton's guide to the luxurious Banff Spring Hotel, built by the railway company. In Calgary, Alberta, Michael saddles up with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, hears about their origins and learns about their role today.

    Length: 00:58:56
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022
  • Canada: Portage La Prairie to Saskatoon

    Michael Portillo strikes west across Manitoba into the province of Saskatchewan. Deep in the Prairie, he finds a network of railways once served the wheat farmers of Saskatchewan and learns how communities grew up around the grain elevators used to load the crop on to rail wagons. At Manitou Beach, Michael reaches the Dead Sea of Canada, a 14-mile lake three times saltier than the ocean. A Yellow Quill First Nations Elder tells him about the healing properties of the water. North east of the South Saskatchewan River at Batoche, Michael reaches the 1885 battlefield where the French-speaking Métis people and their indigenous allies lost their struggle against Canadian control.

    Length: 00:58:46
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022
  • Canada: Saint-Anne De Beaupre to Winnipeg

    Michael Portillo takes the fabulously scenic Charlevoix train along the north bank of the mighty St. Lawrence River to La Malbaie. Following his guidebook to the beautiful basilica at Sainte Anne de Beaupré, Michael discovers the racks of crutches discarded by the spiritually "healed" and meets modern day visitors in search of miracles. The Train de Charlevoix, built to transport pilgrims, now conveys tourists along the St. Lawrence River to the Murray lakes. The waterfall at Montmorency is a spectacular sight – especially from a zip wire! From Quebec, Michael relocates to Canada's Central Plains to begin a 1,000-mile journey across the vast Prairie aboard Canada's last transcontinental passenger line. On this leg, Michael explores the Manitoban capital, Winnipeg, the nation's chief railroad center, known as the "gateway to the west."

    Length: 00:58:56
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022
  • Canada: Springhill Junction to Quebec

    Toting his 1899 copy of Appleton's Guide to Canada, Michael Portillo travels on the Ocean train from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. Along the way he investigates the world's biggest tide at Hopewell Rocks and admires the dramatic rock formations and caves. In the Acadian fishing village of Neguac, New Brunswick, he discovers sea-farmers are producing up to 15 million oysters a year. Intrigued by a tale of 18th century ethnic cleansing, Michael visits an historic village to find out about the people and why Britain took such drastic action against them. Boarding the night sleeper for the next 400 miles of his journey, Michael heads for Quebec City, where old Europe survives in the New World. With its narrow streets and flights of steps, and a hotel modeled on a 16th century chateau, Quebec City was the heart of New France and reminds Michael of Paris.

    Length: 00:58:48
    Usage rights: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2022

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