7 hrs. 18 mins.
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Legendary steeplejack and all-round national treasure Fred Dibnah shares his passion of steam powered machines as he unearths the best of our steam heritage.
THE STORY OF THE TRACTION ENGINE
From the first steam powered road carriages at the beginning of the 19th century and the early development of the traction engine for work on farms, to the great road locomotives, showmans’ engines, steam lorries of the 20th century and the birth of the preservation movement, Fred tells the story of steam power on the roads. Filmed on location at some of Britain’s major traction engine collections – Thursford, Strumpshaw, Hollycombe – and with enthusiasts and builders of replicas of some of our earliest steam vehicles.
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST ENGINES
Fred travels around Britain to unearth some of Britain’s biggest and most powerful steam engines. Starting near his Bolton home he takes us to see the biggest mill engine in Britain in Trencherfield Mill at Wigan Pier and goes to see groups of enthusiasts who are dedicated to preserving some of these engines at the Northern Mill Engine Society in Bolton and Ellenroad Engine House near Rochdale. He visits the biggest pit head winding engines in Britain at Astley Green Colliery Museum in Lancashire and the Scottish Mining Museum. He takes us to the biggest steel rolling mill engine at Kelham Island in Sheffield and some of the biggest pumping engines at Papplewick Pumping Station, Bratch Pumping Station and Kew Bridge Steam Museum. On the way he tells us some of his stories about mill engines and disasters.
ON THE ROAD WITH FRED
The story of Fred’s epic journey round Britain on his traction engine in 2004 for the television series Made In Britain. This specially edited version covers the first half of the journey with all the teething troubles Fred and his mate Alf Molyneux had as they set off from Bolton for the first time; then we follow them on the engine to Cumbria, Central Scotland, the North-East and Yorkshire. For the first time you will see all the bits of Fred you never saw on the television – every stage of this first half of the journey and every stop along This is given extra poignancy by the fact that Fred passed away later in 2004.