This film was first transmitted on BBC2, on the 3rd January 1980. Here is the original memo sent by Bob Bootle, Producer, Science and Features to BBC Promotions Department.
A railway dies when its heart is rotten and its owners no longer believe in it. In 1946, the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog line in North Wales died. It turned away passengers, trees grew through its track, and its upper section was soon to be drowned by a hydro-electric scheme.
From its early days when hordes of workmen struggled to build its mile long embankment across the tide-ripped Glaslyn estuary, the line had a threatened existence. Builders and engineers decades in advance of their time brought the Ffestiniog to life and kept it in being by the narrowest of margins. But the latest disaster seemed final.
This year the revived Ffestiniog line celebrates its 25th birthday. Its brightly polished locomotives haul 400,000 passengers a year from the harbour town of Porthmadog, through wooded valleys to the grimly fascinating slate town of Bleanau Ffestiniog. The track is rebuilt, the artificial lake circumvented; and the new line will soon be completed into the centre of Blaenau Ffestiniog with a new station where passengers can interchange with British Rail.
Railway expert Robert Symes, himself a founder member of the renowned Talyllyn Line, uncovers the background story of the Ffestiniog many brushes with death, and how a new generation of determined men brought it triumphant to life once more.
More information about the programme is contained on the cover.
The Line That Refused To Die
Bob Symes Collection