Transcript: Episode 6 - Into the Wild | Dec 23, 2020

Aerial views show images of different mountain ranges and the high-altitude railways that cross them.

The narrator says FROM THE WORLD'S
MOST MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAINS.

By a steep mountain ridge, a train conductor says THIS IS THE
DEVIL'S NOSE.
I'VE SEEN IT MANY TIMES
AND IT STILL BLOWS MY MIND.

The narrator says TO ITS WILDEST WATERS.

A man in a red jacket stands by a funicular railway track says JUST HAVE A LOOK AROUND,
INCREDIBLE TERRAIN HERE, SO MANY
CHALLENGES.

The narrator says RAILWAYS HAVE SET OUT
TO CONQUER THEM ALL.

A man in a tunnel says TO DO 2500 BLASTS UNDER
GRAND CENTRAL REQUIRED A LOT
OF COORDINATION TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE DIDN'T DISTURB ANYTHING
ABOVE US.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)

The narrator says DRIVEN BY THE BOLDEST
ENGINEERS, FOR WHOM NO OBSTACLE
IS TOO GREAT.

An engineer says THEY TOLD ME, "BRUNO, YOU'RE
CRAZY, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE."

The narrator says IN THIS EPISODE, PENETRATING
THE GREAT WILDERNESS, FACING
NATURE HEAD-ON...

A woman on a hill says THIS IS REALLY WILD TERRAIN.
THERE'S A MORE THAN 400 FOOT
DROP AND THERE'S NO ESCAPING IT.

The narrator says WITH THE SOLUTIONS...

A woman at the moors says LIKE GENERATIONS OF MOOR MEN
BEFORE HIM, HE LOOKED TO THE
GROUND BENEATH HIS FEET.

The narrator says THAT MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE,
POSSIBLE.

A bearded man stands on a railway that runs across the ocean on a causeway and says THIS HAS GOT TO BE ONE
OF THE MOST HARD-FOUGHT PIECES
OF RAILWAY ENGINEERING
ON THE PLANET.
IT'S MAGNIFICENT; I LOVE IT.

The name of the show appears against black and white drawings of vintage and modern trains. It reads "Impossible railways."

The narrator says ACROSS THE WORLD, TOWNS AND
CITIES ARE OFTEN SEPARATED
BY VAST WILDERNESSES.
INHOSPITABLE LANDSCAPES,
PUNISHING TERRAIN AND EXTREME
WEATHER CAN MAKE CROSSING THESE
DIVIDES SEEM IMPOSSIBLE.
BUT TRAINS STOP AT NOTHING,
TACKLING PREVIOUSLY UNCHARTED
TERRITORY WITH SOME OF THE MOST
ADVENTUROUS RAILWAYS
ON THE PLANET.
OVERCOMING THE WORLD'S
WILDERNESSES POSES UNIQUELY
DIFFICULT CHALLENGES FOR EVEN
THE MOST PIONEERING OF RAILWAY
ENGINEERS.

A man on a vintage train crossing a forest says WILDERNESS LIKE THIS WOULD
STOP ANY TRAIN IN ITS TRACKS.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE FEAT
OF ENGINEERING.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)

Another man on a train says SO, THIS IS THE START OF
THE REAL CLIMB, WE'RE ONTO ONE
OF THOSE TIGHT CURVES.
THIS IS REAL MOUNTAIN
RAILROADING.

The woman at the moors says IT'S BLEAK, IT'S ISOLATED, IT
IS UTTERLY TREELESS.
HOW CAN YOU BUILD A RAILWAY
HERE?
WHAT WOULD YOU BUILD IT OUT OF?

The narrator says AND IT'S ONE SUCH SEEMINGLY
IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE THAT FACED
ENGINEERS IN NORTH AMERICA
IN THE LATE 1800S.
WHEN YOU'RE BUILDING A RAILWAY
ACROSS AN ENTIRE CONTINENT,
IT'S INEVITABLE THAT YOU'LL
ENCOUNTER WILDERNESS
ALONG THE WAY.
BUT WHEN THE TERRAIN AHEAD GOES
UNDERWATER...

An animation shows a train stopping at a cliff. The conductor says WHOA!

The narrator says THEN YOU COULD BE
LEFT WITH A SINKING FEELING.

The conductor says UH-OH.

The narrator says PROMONTORY SUMMIT, UTAH IS
IN THE HEART OF AMERICA'S
MOUNTAIN WEST.
IT'S AN EMPTY DESERT LANDSCAPE
WITH FEW SIGNS OF CIVILISATION,
AS ENGINEER DAN DICKRELL IS
FINDING OUT.

Dan is in his thirties, with short wavy red hair and a beard. He wears a blue T-shirt.

He drives a car through the Utah desert and says GOSH, YOU KNOW, THERE'S
REALLY NOTHING OUT HERE.
IF YOU'VE EVER DRIVEN ACROSS
THE WESTERN UNITED STATES,
THERE'S THESE VAST TRACKS OF
NOTHINGNESS.
THIS IS THE LAST PLACE I WOULD
EXPECT ANYTHING TO HAPPEN,
LET ALONE AN IMPORTANT PIECE
OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
IT'S FAIR TO SAY IT'S PRETTY
BARREN OUT HERE.

The narrator says HOWEVER, THIS UNLIKELY SPOT
DID PLAY HOST TO PERHAPS THE
MOST SIGNIFICANT MOMENT IN
THE ANNALS OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN RAILROAD.
(BELL RINGING)
SINCE THE INCEPTION OF
RAILWAYS, ENGINEERS HAD DREAMT
OF BUILDING A LINE THAT WOULD
CONNECT AMERICA'S EAST
AND WEST.
AND IN 1869, THAT WAS ABOUT TO
BECOME A REALITY.
(BELL RINGING)

Dan rides the train and says THIS IS A REALLY COOL MOMENT.
SO, I'M RIDING ON THE JUPITER,
WHICH IS AN EXACT REPLICA OF
THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE THAT WOULD
HAVE BEEN HERE WHEN THE TWO
RAILROADS MET FROM EAST TO WEST.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU COULD
RIDE FROM ONE END
OF THE CONTINENT TO THE OTHER.
I CAN'T DESCRIBE TO YOU HOW COOL
THIS IS BECAUSE THIS IS
A BEAUTIFUL REPRODUCTION, IT'S
PRISTINE CONDITION.
IT WEIGHS 16 TONS - ABOUT TEN
AFRICAN ELEPHANTS.
IT BURNS ALL OF ITS FUEL
IN ABOUT 30 MILES, WHICH IS NOT
A LOT.
IT GOES ABOUT 25 MILES AN HOUR,
2000 GALLONS OF WATER TO MAKE
THE STEAM.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)
IT'S A HUGE BUT BEAUTIFUL
MACHINE.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)

Now he stands by the tracks and says WELL, HERE IT IS, THIS IS
THE GOLDEN SPIKE, THIS IS
THE LOCATION WHERE THE TWO LINES
MET, AND WERE UNITED.

The narrator says BUT THIS TRICKY ROUTE
THROUGH PROMONTORY SUMMIT WAS,
IN FACT, ALWAYS PLAN B...
BECAUSE TRAVERSING THE STEEP
GRADES AND TIGHT CURVES OF THIS
MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN ADDED SIXTY
EIGHT KILOMETRES ONTO AN
ALREADY EPIC JOURNEY.
PLAN A, HOWEVER, WAS SEEMINGLY
IMPOSSIBLE.

Dan says THIS IS THE GREAT SALT LAKE.
IT IS A MIND-BLOWING SIGHT WHEN
YOU'RE HERE. IT'S SO MASSIVE,
IT'S SO MASSIVE, IT'S SO VAST;
YOU CAN'T SEE THE OTHER SIDE.
THE SKY AND THE WATER BLENDS
TOGETHER; IT'S INCREDIBLY BRIGHT
OUT HERE.

The narrator says THIS PHENOMENAL WATERY
WILDERNESS WOULD POSE ENGINEERS
WITH A COLOSSAL CHALLENGE.

Dan says STANDING IN THIS SPOT, IT'S
EASY TO IMAGINE WHAT THOSE
ENGINEERS FELT SO LONG AGO,
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY
ARE GOING TO CROSS THIS VAST
BODY OF WATER.
IT SEEMS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.

The narrator says UNTIL 1902, WHEN TAKING ON
THE 4400 SQUARE KILOMETRES
OF HOSTILE LANDSCAPE BECAME A
NECESSITY, AS THE ROUTE THROUGH
THE MOUNTAINS HAD BECOME
AN ARDUOUS BOTTLENECK.

On a boat, Dan says IT'S NOT EVEN A BAD DAY
AND IT'S REALLY CHOPPY OUT HERE.
THE WATER IS SIX TIMES SALTIER
THAN OCEAN WATER.
IT MAKES FOR A REALLY DENSE
AND POWERFUL WAVE.
AS AN ENGINEER, WHEN YOU WANT TO
BUILD SOMETHING, YOU HAVE TO
TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE
ENVIRONMENT, AND THIS IS
PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST
AGGRESSIVE ENVIRONMENTS THAT YOU
COULD BUILD ANYTHING, RIGHT?
EXTREMELY SALTY WATER, HIGH
HUMIDITY, HIGH HEAT
IN THE DESERT - IT'S NOT A VERY
HOSPITABLE PLACE FOR SOMETHING
THAT'S SUPPOSED TO LAST FOR A
LONG TIME - SO I WOULDN'T WANT
TO BUILD ANYTHING OUT HERE AT
ALL.

The narrator says THE MONUMENTAL SOLUTION
ENGINEERS CAME UP WITH WAS
THE LUCIN CUTOFF.
FOR A YEAR AND A HALF, THREE
THOUSAND MEN GRAFTED TO BUILD
TWO EARTH AND ROCK-FILLED
EMBANKMENTS, BRIDGED IN
THE MIDDLE BY AN IMMENSE WOODEN
TRESTLE.

Dan says THIS IS THE POINT WHERE THE
OLD ORIGINAL TRESTLE WOULD HAVE
STARTED, EXTENDING OUT INTO THE
LAKE.
IT WAS 12 MILES OF TIMBER; TWO
SQUARE MILES OF FOREST WERE USED
TO MAKE THIS IMMENSE WOODEN
STRUCTURE.

The narrator says IN 1904. A TRAIN PASSED OVER
THE LAKE FOR THE FIRST TIME,
CUTTING THE JOURNEY THROUGH
UTAH FROM 10 HOURS TO A MERE
TWO HOURS.
BUT, BY THE 1950S, CONDITIONS
HAD TAKEN THEIR TOLL
ON THE TRESTLE BRIDGE.

Dan says THE PILINGS THEMSELVES
WEREN'T DRIVEN THAT FAR INTO THE
LAKEBED, AND THE LAKEBED
IN THIS PARTICULAR LAKE IS VERY
SOFT.
SO, THE WEIGHT OF THE TRESTLE
ITSELF, AS WELL AS TRAINS, WOULD
CAUSE SUBSIDENCE - THE TRESTLE
WOULD SINK.
THE AGGRESSIVE NATURE OF SALT
INFILTRATING THE WOOD WOULD
CAUSE IT TO SPLIT
AND DETERIORATE.
ULTIMATELY, IT WAS DECIDED THAT
THE TRESTLE WAS TO BE TORN DOWN
AND REPLACED WITH SOMETHING
STRONGER.
IT'S TOO BAD; IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
A MAGNIFICENT SIGHT TODAY.
BUT, ULTIMATELY, THIS LAKE IS
JUST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE FOR A
WOODEN STRUCTURE.

The narrator says FACED WITH SUCH EXTREME
CONDITIONS ENGINEERS HAD TO
FIND A MORE ROBUST SOLUTION.
IN 1956, WORK BEGAN TO CREATE
ONE EPIC CAUSEWAY THAT WOULD
CARRY THE RAILWAY ON A
RAISED STONE EMBANKMENT ACROSS
THE ENTIRE SPAN OF THE LAKE.

Dan says THIS IS THE CAUSEWAY.
IT STRETCHES ALMOST AS FAR
AS THE EYE CAN SEE.
TONS AND TONS OF FILL ROCK ARE
DUMPED INTO THE LAKE, SOMETHING
TO BUILD A TRACK UPON.

The narrator says 75,000 TONS OF ROCK WAS
TRANSPORTED DAILY ON SIX OF THE
LARGEST BOTTOM-DUMP BARGES EVER
CONSTRUCTED.

Dan says SEEING WORKERS ON TOP OF THE
CAUSEWAY GIVES A SENSE
OF THE EPIC SCALE OF THIS WORK.
THE SIZE OF THE BOULDERS,
THE ELEVATION ABOVE THE LAKE -
IT'S MASSIVE, IT'S A MASSIVE
STRUCTURE.

The narrator says BUT, ONCE AGAIN, MOTHER
NATURE SHOWED HER HAND.

Dan says NOW, THESE ROCKS AND BOULDERS
THAT FILL THE CAUSEWAY LOOK
LARGE, BUT THE FORCES THAT THIS
LAKE CAN BRING TO BEAR ARE EVEN
LARGER.
BUT IT IS A TESTAMENT TO HOW
HEAVY THIS CAUSEWAY IS AND
HOW SOFT AND SQUISHY THE LAKE
BED IS, IT'S ALWAYS SINKING,
ALWAYS SUBSIDING.
AND SO, IT'S A CONTINUAL BATTLE
TO REPLENISH THIS STRUCTURE
IN A CONSTANT FIGHT AGAINST THE
ENVIRONMENT, THAT ENGINEERS,
THE RAIL LINE ARE CONTINUING
TO FIGHT, BUT IT'S TOUGH,
IT'S A TOUGH FIGHT.

The narrator says CRUCIALLY, CULVERTS THAT
HAD BEEN BUILT TO ALLOW WATER
TO FLOW THROUGH THE CAUSEWAY
HAD CRACKED TO THE POINT THEY
COULD COLLAPSE AND TAKE THE
TRACK OUT OF SERVICE.

Dan says DUE TO THE NATURE OF THIS
EXTREME ENVIRONMENT, THOSE
CULVERTS WERE FOLDING UPON EACH
OTHER, THEY WERE CONSUMED,
IT DIDN'T WORK.

The narrator says TO KEEP TRAINS RUNNING, THE
CRACKED CULVERTS WERE FILLED
IN.
BUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT, WAS
UNPRECEDENTED.
BLOCKING THE FLOW OF WATER
CREATED A STARTLING DIFFERENCE
IN SALINITY, WATER LEVEL
AND EVEN COLOUR.

The water colour to the left of the causeway looks blue as the one on the right looks crimson.
Dan says SO, THE ENGINEERS HAD TO COME
UP WITH A DIFFERENT PLAN,
A DIFFERENT SOLUTION, THAT
ULTIMATELY WOULD ENABLE THE LAKE
TO BREATHE ITS WATER AND ALLOW
RAILWAYS TO MOVE.

The narrator says IN 2016, THIS CLASH
WITH NATURE INSPIRED ANOTHER
INCREDIBLE FEAT OF ENGINEERING.

Dan says SO, THIS IS THE BRAND NEW
BRIDGE THAT ENGINEERS HOPE WILL
SOLVE THE CAUSEWAY'S PROBLEMS
ONCE AND FOR ALL.
THE NEW PILLARS ARE DRIVEN 200
FEET DOWN, EVEN THOUGH THE LAKE
IS ONLY 35 FEET DEEP.
THE PILINGS THEMSELVES ARE STEEL
CORE COVERED IN A SPECIAL
MATERIAL TO PREVENT,
EFFECTIVELY, ENVIRONMENTAL
DAMAGE ERODING AND DESTROYING
THE COLUMNS.
SEE, AS WE PASS UNDERNEATH
THE BERM HERE, THIS ALLOWS
THE RAILWAY TO ADD AND REMOVE
MATERIAL TO HELP FLOW CONTROL
IN BETWEEN THE NORTHERN
AND SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE LAKE.
THE NORTHERN PART'S MUCH
SALTIER, SO THE WATER EXCHANGES
THROUGH.
WOOD COULDN'T MAKE IT, CONCRETE
COULDN'T MAKE IT, SO HOPEFULLY
THIS IS THE SOLUTION THAT WILL
SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS FROM A
MATERIAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE
FOR THE RAILWAY.

The narrator says THIS WATERY WILDERNESS
BAFFLED ENGINEERS FOR DECADES,
BUT DESPITE THE STRUGGLE,
THE RAILWAY ULTIMATELY WON.

Dan says THIS HAS GOT TO BE ONE OF
THE MOST HARD-FOUGHT PIECES
OF RAILWAY ENGINEERING
ON THE PLANET.
NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR
THE PEOPLE THAT KEEP THIS LINE
IN SERVICE IN SUCH A TOUGH
PLACE.

(WHISTLE BLOWING)

As he watches the train cross the causeway, he says OH, WHAT A COOL SIGHT TO WATCH
THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING
ON THE GREAT SALT LAKE.
OH, THIS IS AWESOME.
AND IT'S TRULY IMPRESSIVE THAT
THE ENGINEERS HAVE DONE AS WELL
AS THEY HAVE TO KEEP THIS RAIL
LINE RUNNING IN SUCH A HARSH
ENVIRONMENT.
IT'S MAGNIFICENT; I LOVE IT.

The narrator says FOR OTHER RAILWAYS, TACKLING
WILDERNESS INSPIRES UNIQUE
SOLUTIONS...

A man on a train says THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD GET
TO A HIGH POINT TO SEE HOW
THE LAND WAS SET OUT.
HE HAD TO CREATE A PICTURE IN
HIS MIND OF WHAT THE TERRAIN WAS
LIKE.

The narrator says CLEVERLY CONCEIVED
BY THE ENGINEERS OF THE WORLD'S
IMPOSSIBLE RAILWAYS.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE GREAT WILDERNESS RAILWAYS -
TRAINS TRAVERSING THE TOUGHEST
TERRAIN ON THE PLANET,
PRESENTING ENGINEERS WITH
SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEMS,
REQUIRING PIONEERING
SOLUTIONS...

Dan says THIS HAS GOT TO BE ONE OF
THE MOST HARD-FOUGHT PIECES
OF RAILWAY ENGINEERING
ON THE PLANET.

The narrator says TO REACH THEIR ULTIMATE
DESTINATIONS.
TRAINS LOVE FLAT TERRAIN.
GRADUAL GRADIENTS ARE FINE TOO.

An animation shows a train moving smoothly across flat terrain and gradual gradients, but failing to climb up hills or run through the wilderness.

The narrator says BUT SCALING A MIGHTY CLIMB IN
A SHORT DISTANCE THROUGH DENSE
WILDERNESS IS AN ENGINEER'S
WORST NIGHTMARE.
NEW ZEALAND'S NORTH ISLAND
IS AN EPIC WILDERNESS OF
IMPENETRABLE RAINFORESTS AND
SOARING VOLCANOES...
IT'S A TERRAIN THAT WOULD BE
SEEMINGLY INCOMPATIBLE
WITH BUILDING A RAILWAY.
YET, TAKING ON THIS RUGGED
LANDSCAPE IS THE MAIN TRUNK
LINE.
IN THE LATE 1800S, ENGINEERS
WERE TRYING TO CONNECT ITS TWO
MAJOR CITIES - AUCKLAND
AND WELLINGTON - BY TRAIN.
BUT THERE WAS ONE SPOT ON THE
ROUTE WHERE PROGRESS REACHED
AN IMPOSSIBLE IMPASSE.
AMONGST THE RUGGED, OVERGROWN
WILDERNESS WAS THE CENTRAL
PLATEAU.
LOCAL RAILWAY EXPERT PAUL
MAHONEY IS TAKING THE RAILWAY
TO THIS CHALLENGING LOCATION.

Paul is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair, and wears gray trousers, a blue shirt and a black blazer.

He says I'M AT OTOROHANGA RAILWAY
STATION ABOUT TO GET THE TRAIN
DOWN TO RAURIMU.
THIS RAILWAY WAS SURVEYED FROM
THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH, BUT FOR
14 YEARS, RAURIMU WAS A STICKING
POINT FOR ENGINEERS.

The narrator says BUT IN 1898, IT FELL TO
ENGINEER ROBERT WEST HOLMES TO
CONCEIVE A PLAN TO SURMOUNT
THE WILD LANDSCAPE.
HOWEVER, IT WOULDN'T BE AS
SIMPLE AS CARVING A PATH
THROUGH THE UNTAMED BUSH OF
RAURIMU; AS HERITAGE ADVISOR
KAREN ASTWOOD IS DISCOVERING
FOR HERSELF.

Karen is in her thirties and wears jeans, a bright blue puffer jacket, a deep purple scarf and a colourful beanie.

She says WHEN ENGINEERS WERE TRYING TO
MAKE A RAILWAY THROUGH THIS
AREA, THEY HAD SUCH A LOT OF
TROUBLE.
IT WAS A REAL NIGHTMARE.
COMING DOWN FROM THE CENTRAL
PLATEAU, THERE'S A MORE THAN 400
FOOT DROP AND THERE'S NO
ESCAPING IT.

The narrator says FACED WITH A DISTANCE OF
JUST TWO KILOMETRES IN WHICH TO
NEGOTIATE THE PRECIPITOUS RISE
BETWEEN THE VALLEY AND THE
PLATEAU, THE GRADIENT OF ONE IN
15 WOULD BE TOO STEEP FOR
STANDARD LOCOMOTIVES.

Karen says THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT UP
THAT GRADIENT IN THE TRAIN WOULD
BE TO USE SPECIALIST TRAINS, BUT
THE COST OF MAINTAINING THOSE
WAS SIMPLY TOO PROHIBITIVE.
THERE WAS TALK THAT THE LINE
MIGHT HAVE TO BE REROUTED.
THE GOVERNMENT DIDN'T WANT THAT;
THEY'D ALREADY SPENT ENOUGH
MONEY ON THE PROJECT.
OVERCOMING THE WILDERNESS HERE
WAS SEEN AS THE LESSER OF
SEVERAL EVILS.

The narrator says EVEN RIDING THE RAIL LINK
TODAY...
(WHISTLE BLOWING)...THE JOURNEY IS A REMINDER
OF WHAT HOLMES WAS FACED WITH.

On the train, Paul says THIS WAS COVERED IN A THICK
NATIVE FOREST.
IT'S VERY RUGGED COUNTRY.
HERE'S THE SORT OF FOREST THEY
WERE WORKING IN.

The narrator says WITH HELP FROM TECHNOLOGY
THAT HOLMES COULD ONLY HAVE
DREAMT OF, KAREN IS GETTING
A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THIS
UNCULTIVATED LANDSCAPE.

On a chopper, Karen says THIS IS REALLY EXCITING.

The narrator says AND FROM THE SKY,
THE EXTRAORDINARY SOLUTION
THAT HOLMES CAME UP WITH CAN BE
VIEWED IN ALL ITS GLORY... ..THE RAURIMU SPIRAL.

Karen shows the railway from above and says WHAT WE CAN SEE BELOW IS ONE
OF THE MOST AMBITIOUS AND
BRILLIANT PIECES OF WILDERNESS
ENGINEERING IN THE WORLD.
HERE COMES A TRAIN, SO WE'RE
GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE HOLMES'
MASTERPIECE IN ITS FULL GLORY.

The narrator says FOLLOWING AN INTRICATE
ROUTE, THE SINGLE TRACK SNAKES
ITS WAY AROUND, TO LENGTHEN THE
LINE AT A SHALLOW GRADIENT.

Karen says THE RAURIMU SPIRAL IS
A REALLY IMPRESSIVE AND COMPLEX
SET OF ELEMENTS WHICH IS REALLY
COMPACTLY PUT TOGETHER.

The narrator says BUT HOLMES' MASTERPIECE WAS
ANYTHING BUT STRAIGHT FORWARD.
THE SPIRAL TWISTS AND TUNNELS
UNDER ITSELF.
UP FIRST THROUGH A GIANT
HORSESHOE CURVE AND THEN A PAIR
OF TIGHT QUARTER TURNS, BEFORE
WINDING ROUND ON ITSELF
IN A COMPLETE CIRCLE TO REACH
THE PLATEAU.
IT EXTENDS A DISTANCE OF JUST
TWO KILOMETRES AS THE CROW
FLIES TO CREATE A TRACK AN
INCREDIBLE 6.8KM LONG.
SEEING THE SPIRAL FROM HOLMES'
PERSPECTIVE REVEALS THE CURVES
CLOSE UP.

Paul says SO, THIS IS THE START OF
THE REAL CLIMB.
WE'RE ONTO ONE OF THOSE TIGHT
CURVES THAT ARE 150 METRES
RADIUS AND WE'RE ON A ONE IN 50
GRADE.
THIS IS REAL MOUNTAIN
RAILROADING.
THEY HAD TO FIT THIS RAILWAY
TO THE LANDSCAPE AND IT WAS VERY
DENSE FOREST HERE, SO THEY
COULDN'T ACTUALLY SEE VERY FAR
TO DO THE SURVEYING.

The narrator says A PROBLEM MADE WORSE BY THE
TREACHEROUS TERRAIN WHICH GAVE
HOLMES NO NATURAL VANTAGE
POINTS TO PLOT A ROUTE FROM
ABOVE.

Paul says THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD GET
TO A HIGH POINT TO SEE HOW
THE LAND WAS SET OUT.
HE HAD TO DO A LOT OF EXPLORING
TO CREATE A PICTURE IN HIS MIND
OF WHAT THE TERRAIN WAS LIKE.
SO, THIS IS AN AMAZING RAILWAY
LOCATION ACHIEVEMENT.

The narrator says THESE DAYS, ENGINEERS WOULD
CARRY OUT AN AERIAL SURVEY
AND SIMPLY TAKE TO THE SKIES.

Karen says WOW, IT'S REALLY INCREDIBLE
TO SEE THE SPIRAL FROM THIS
ANGLE; YOU CAN REALLY GET
AN APPRECIATION OF WHAT A
MASTERSTROKE OF ENGINEERING IT
IS.
ALL THE LOOPS AND CURVES, EVEN
THE SMALL ONES ARE REALLY
CRITICAL BECAUSE THEY LESSEN THE
WEAR AND TEAR ON THE TRAINS
AND ON THE TRACK AS WELL.

The narrator says BUT MAPPING A ROUTE WASN'T
THE ONLY CHALLENGE THAT HAD
TO BE OVERCOME TO PULL OFF THIS
AUDACIOUS CONSTRUCTION.

Karen says OKAY, THE TRAIN IS ENTERING
THE FIRST TUNNEL, WHICH CURVES
AROUND, AND THEN THERE'S A
REALLY SHORT GAP AND IT GOES
INTO THE SECOND TUNNEL.

Paul says SO, COMING OUT OF
TUNNEL NUMBER TWO, WE'RE MORE OR
LESS HALFWAY ROUND THE SPIRAL
NOW.
LOOKING BACK, YOU CAN SEE JUST
WHAT RUGGED COUNTRY THIS IS.

The narrator says CARVING A PATH THROUGH
THE IMPENETRABLE FOREST, STEEP
RAVINES AND SHEER CLIFFS HAD TO
BE DONE BY HAND.

Paul says SO, THE SPIRAL WAS
ENTIRELY CONSTRUCTED BY PICK AND
SHOVEL AND SOME DYNAMITE
BLASTING.
AND THIS IS A HIGH RAINFALL
AREA, THE WORKERS LIVED IN TENT
CAMPS AND IT WAS PRETTY TOUGH
GOING.
WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT!

The narrator says IN 1908, THE FIRST TRAIN
TRAVELLED DOWN THE RAURIMU
SPIRAL, ALMOST FOUR DECADES
AFTER THE NORTH ISLAND MAIN
TRUNK LINE WAS FIRST CONCEIVED,
FINALLY TAMING WHAT HAD SEEMED
LIKE AN INDOMITABLE
WILDERNESS.
OVER A CENTURY LATER, IT'S
STILL CONSIDERED ONE OF
NEW ZEALAND'S GREATEST FEATS
OF ENGINEERING.

Karen says THIS MUST HAVE BEEN SO
COMPLEX TO TRY AND LAY OUT, AND
IT REALLY IS JUST A TRIBUTE TO
HOLMES' GENIUS AND ALSO THE
ENGINEERS THAT HE WORKED WITH.
IT'S JUST-- IT'S SPECTACULAR.

Paul says 80 YEARS AFTER HOLMES LAID
OUT THE SPIRAL, I WAS RIDING
WITH THE CHIEF CIVIL ENGINEER
OF THE RAILWAYS AND HE'D BEEN
INVOLVED WITH TRYING TO IMPROVE
THE ROUTE OF THE RAILWAY, READY
FOR ELECTRIFICATION, AND THE
MODERN ENGINEERS WERE STILL NOT
ABLE TO IMPROVE ON GEORGE
HOLMES' SPIRAL LOCATION.
IT'S A MASTERLY PIECE
OF ENGINEERING THAT SURVIVES
TO THIS DAY.

(music plays)

The narrator says STEEP GRADIENTS AND THICK
FOREST MAY BE A CHALLENGING
COMBINATION, BUT SOME OF THE
WORLD'S MOST OUTLYING
REGIONS...

The woman at the moors says 1300 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL
WITH NO OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES,
IT IS AN IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE.

The narrator says HAVE INSPIRED THE MOST
INGENUOUS WILDERNESS RAILWAYS.

(music plays)

The narrator says WILDERNESSES - VAST EXPANSES
OF SOME OF THE MOST GRUELLING
TERRAIN ON THE PLANET - TACKLED
BY EXTREME RAILWAYS WITH
COURAGEOUS FEATS OF
ENGINEERING.

Karen says IT'S REALLY INCREDIBLE TO
SEE THE SPIRAL FROM THIS ANGLE.

The narrator says BUT IMAGINE THE CHALLENGE OF
BUILDING ONE OF THE EARLIEST
RAILROADS IN BRITAIN.
IF YOU HAVE GOODS TO DELIVER,
THEN THE RAILWAY MAKES
COMPLETE SENSE.
THAT IS, OF COURSE, IF THERE IS
A RAILWAY THAT CAN BE USED.

An animation shows a train conductor groaning at the abrupt end of a railway.

The narrator says BUT IN THE WILDERNESS, TRACKS
CAN BE HARD TO COME BY.
FINDING YOUR WAY THROUGH COULD
BE A ROCKY ROAD.
IN DEVON IN THE SOUTH WEST
OF BRITAIN SITS A HUGE EXPANSE
OF HARSH, MAGICAL AND ANCIENT
LANDSCAPE.

Cassie is in her thirties, with shoulder-length straight brown hair and wears a white sleeveless top.

She says THIS IS DARTMOOR NATIONAL
PARK, WHICH IS JUST SHY OF 1000
SQUARE KILOMETRES OF AMAZING
WILDERNESS.
IT'S FULL OF PONIES, ROLLING
HEATHLANDS FULL OF GORSE,
AND IT'S MOST FAMOUS EXPORT -
GRANITE.

The narrator says AND IN THE 1800S,
THAT GRANITE WAS IN DEMAND.
WITH THE BRITISH INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION AT FULL STEAM,
BUILDINGS WERE GETTING TALLER,
BRIDGES WERE GETTING LARGER,
AND ENGINEERS WERE LOOKING
CLOSE TO HOME FOR SUPPLY TO
MEET THE EVER-INCREASING
DEMAND, AS HISTORICAL
ARCHAEOLOGIST CASSIE NEWLAND
IS FINDING OUT.

Cassie says YOU CAN REALLY SEE AROUND
HERE THAT THE GRANITE JUST
SORT OF COMES OUT OF THE GROUND.
IT'S EVERYWHERE YOU STEP,
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, WHICH IS
WHY PEOPLE HAVE USED
THIS RESOURCE IN THIS PLACE
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

The narrator says DARTMOOR MIGHT HAVE BEEN
FULL OF GRANITE FOR ALMOST 300
MILLION YEARS, BUT IN 1820 THE
ENORMOUS CHALLENGE WOULD HAVE
BEEN BUILDING A TRANSPORT
SYSTEM TO GET THE ROCK TO
CIVILISATION.

Cassie says IT'S BLEAK, IT'S ISOLATED, IT
IS UTTERLY TREELESS.
YOU CAN GO FROM FROSTBITE TO
HEATSTROKE IN A BLINK.
HOW CAN YOU BUILD A RAILWAY
HERE?
WHAT WOULD YOU BUILD IT OUT OF?

The narrator says ENTREPRENEUR GEORGE TEMPLAR,
DECIDED HE COULD DEFY THE ODDS
AND BUILD A RAILWAY TO
TRANSPORT GOODS FROM HIS
QUARRY AT HAYTOR.

Cassie says THIS IDYLLIC LITTLE
OASIS IS ACTUALLY HAYTOR QUARRY,
AND IT WOULD HAVE FELT
INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT 150 YEARS
AGO; WE'D BE SURROUNDED BY
BUSTLING MEN HARD AT WORK
DRILLING HOLES AND BLASTING WITH
DYNAMITE TO TAKE VAST CHUNKS OF
GRANITE OUT FROM THE CLIFF
WALLS, THE AIR WOULD BE THICK
WITH DUST, IT WOULD BE
COMPLETELY UNPLEASANT.
JUST BEHIND ME, IF YOU CAN SEE
THE LOG IN THE POND, THAT LOG IS
ACTUALLY THE BASE OF A DERRICK -
A KIND OF CRANE THAT WOULD HAVE
BEEN USED WITH THE WINCH THAT
YOU CAN SEE IN THE BACKGROUND
TO LIFT THESE HUGE BLOCKS
OF GRANITE.
SO, YOU WOULD TURN THIS
HANDLE...
(CREAKING)

She turns the crank and says OOH!...AND IT WOULD CRANK A CABLE TO
LIFT UP THE ARM, YOUR JIB ARM
OF YOUR CRANE, WHICH IS JUST
OVER HERE... IF YOU'RE VERY
CAREFUL AND DON'T FALL IN.
IT'S THIS HUGE, HUGE LENGTH
OF WOOD WITH A SOCKET AT ONE END
THROUGH WHICH ALL YOUR WINCHING
GEAR WOULD PASS, RIGHT THE WAY
DOWN TO THE BASE OVER HERE,
WHICH WOULD FIT INTO A METAL
SOCKET IN THE GROUND AND
ALLOW YOU TO PIVOT AROUND TO
LOTS OF DIFFERENT POINTS IN THE
QUARRY, LIFTING STONE THAT'S
BLASTED OFF FROM THE SIDE TO
PLACES IT CAN BE WORKED, AND
ALSO LIFTING IT ON TO THE WAGONS
TO TAKE IT AWAY.
SO, THE CHALLENGE OF HAYTOR IS
GETTING THE GRANITE OUT, BUT AT
1300 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL WITH
NO OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES, IT
IS AN IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE.

The narrator says TEMPLAR HAD REALISED
THAT BUILDING A TRACK OUT OF
THE QUARRY WAS THE ONLY OPTION.

Cassie says LIKE GENERATIONS OF MOOR MEN
BEFORE HIM, HE LOOKED TO
THE GROUND BENEATH HIS FEET, AND
HE BUILT THE RAILWAY FROM
GRANITE.

The narrator says THIS ENGINEERING MARVEL BORN
OUT OF THE GROUND IS THE HAYTOR
GRANITE TRAMWAY - AMAZINGLY
DEVELOPED TO TRANSPORT
THE VERY GRANITE THAT IT WAS
MADE OF, FROM THE QUARRY
TO A CANAL FOR DISTRIBUTION.

Cassie says NOW, THIS RAIL HERE IS THE
PERFECT PLACE TO SEE HOW SKILLED
AND ARDUOUS A JOB IT IS
TO PRODUCE A GRANITE RAILWAY
BECAUSE, USING A CHISEL AND
A HAMMER, YOU GOT TO CUT THIS
LOVELY PRECISE LINE RIGHT
THE WAY ALONG YOUR RAIL
FOR THE WAGON WHEELS TO RUN IN.
THE ONE GOOD THING ABOUT HAVING
INVESTED ALL THAT TIME IN
CREATING A GRANITE RAIL IS YOU
DON'T THEN NEED SLEEPERS;
THE STONE ITSELF IS SO HEAVY, IT
HOLDS IT IN PLACE.
NOW, GRANITE IS INCREDIBLY HARD.
THE MAN HOURS THAT GO INTO
TAKING OUT A SLICE OF GRANITE
LIKE THIS ARE INCREDIBLE.
AND IF YOU THINK YOU DO THAT
OVER TEN MILES, WORTH OF
RAILWAY, THE LABOUR IS
EXTRAORDINARY.
THE FIRST THING YOU'VE GOT TO DO
IS SPLIT YOUR ROCK INTO
MANAGEABLE CHUNKS, AND YOU DO
THAT USING A FEATHER AND TARE
METHOD - THESE SLOTS HERE ARE
REMNANTS OF THAT PROCESS.

The narrator says THE INGENIOUS FEATHER AND
TARE METHOD IS STILL USED
TODAY, THOUGH MADE MUCH EASIER
WITH THE HELP OF MODERN TOOLS,
AS DEMONSTRATED BY DARTMOOR
NATIONAL PARK EMPLOYEES LEE
AND ANDY.

Andy is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short gray hair. He wears glasses and a black zip-up jacket.

Andy says SO, WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE,
WE'RE DRILLING A LINE OF HOLES
DOWN THE LENGTH OF THE GRANITE
WHERE WE WANT THE SPLIT TO BE.
TO MAKE THE HOLES IN THE
19TH CENTURY, THEY WOULD HAVE
USED A TOOL LIKE THIS, WHICH
AS YOU CAN PROBABLY HEAR, IS A
FAIRLY HEAVY PIECE OF IRON.
IT'S CALLED A JUMPER, SORT OF
ACTS LIKE A DRILL.
WE'VE DRILLED THE HOLES ALONG
THE GRANITE SLAB NOW.
AND THE NEXT STAGE OF THE
PROCESS HERE IS TO USE THE
FEATHER AND TARE TOOLS.
TWO TYPES OF TOOL HERE; WE HAVE
THIS METAL IRON CHISEL, WHICH IS
THE TARE IN THE PROCESS, AND
THESE TWO THINNER STRIPS OF IRON
WHICH FIT DOWN THE SIDE OF IT
IN THE HOLE.
ONCE YOU'VE GOT THIS ARRANGEMENT
IN THE HOLE, IF YOU HIT THIS ON
THE TOP WITH A HAMMER, IT
WILL FORCE IT DOWN AND FORCE
THE GRANITE SIDEWAYS.
IF YOU DO THAT ON EACH
OF THE HOLES ALONG THE LENGTH,
EVENTUALLY THE STRESS WILL CAUSE
THE GRANITE TO SPLIT ALONG
THE LINE WE WANT IT TO.
THAT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE,
SO THAT'S READY FOR THE NEXT
STAGE.
I THINK THAT'S IT.

They both start hitting the iron pieces with the hammer.

Andy says WE HAVE NOW SUCCESSFULLY SPLIT
THE SLAB EXACTLY WHERE WANTED IT
TO.
SHOWS IT'S A VERY EFFECTIVE
AND QUICK TECHNIQUE, REALLY.

The narrator says THIS TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUE
LEAVES YOU WITH THE PERFECT
BUILDING BLOCKS FOR CREATING
YOUR TRACK.

Cassie says THAT'S LIKE MODULAR
ENGINEERING BECAUSE WHEN YOU'VE
FINISHED WITH YOUR QUARRY OVER
THERE, YOU CAN REUSE THIS STUFF.
IT'S LIKE A KID'S TRAIN SET; YOU
JUST PICK THE BITS OF RAIL UP,
PLONK THEM DOWN ON THE WAGON,
PULL IT OFF ON YOUR CARTS TO
WHEREVER YOU NEED IT.

The narrator says THIS ASTOUNDING FEAT
OF ENGINEERING IS MADE MORE
IMPRESSIVE BY THE SPEED OF ITS
CONSTRUCTION, PRECIPITATED
BY AN IMPORTANT COMMISSION.

Cassie says SO, SOON AS GEORGE TEMPLAR
HAD WON THE CONTRACT TO BUILD
LONDON BRIDGE, HE HAD TO GET
THIS RAILWAY IN AS QUICKLY AS
POSSIBLE.
THE QUARRY OPENED IN 1819 AND
THIS RAILWAY WAS OPEN BY 1820.
THAT IS AN ASTOUNDING FEAT
OF WILL.

The narrator says BUT SOLVING THE CHALLENGE
OF BUILDING THIS RAILWAY IS
ONLY HALF OF THIS INCREDIBLE
ACHIEVEMENT.
AS STEAM LOCOMOTIVES HAD ONLY
JUST BEEN INVENTED, TEMPLAR
USED THE MORE COMMON ENGINE OF
THE DAY - GOOD OLD HORSE POWER.
THE PROBLEM WAS HOW TO AVOID
YOUR PRIZED EQUINE ENGINE
GETTING CRUSHED BY A LOAD
OF GRANITE.

Cassie says SO, GRADIENT IS ALWAYS AN
ISSUE FOR EVERY RAILWAY, BUT
HERE, WHERE YOU'VE GOT JUST
REGULAR WAGON WHEELS RUNNING ON
GROOVES CUT IN STONE, IT'S
PARTICULAR PROBLEM.
INSTEAD OF THE HORSES PULLING
THE WAGONS, WHAT THEY
EFFECTIVELY HAVE IS THE HORSES
BRAKING THE WAGONS FROM BEHIND,
AND UP TO 12 WAGONS, EACH
OF THEM CARRYING THREE TONNES
OF GRANITE BEING SORT OF SLOWLY
LOWERED DOWN THE HILL ON THESE
RAILS.
SO, YOU'VE GOT THE HORSES
BEHIND, BUT FOR TRICKY BITS
WHERE THERE'S AN INCLINE OR
POINTS, YOU'VE GOT A MAN WITH A
STICK - A TWELVE FOOT POLE -
THAT HE JAMS AGAINST THE WHEELS
AS AN EXTRA BRAKE.
THE WHOLE THING IS AT THE
ABSOLUTE LIMIT OF HUMAN SKILL
AND INGENUITY.
AND THE REASON THE HORSES WENT
DOWN WAS NOT JUST TO BREAK IT,
BUT TO PULL THE WAGONS BACK UP
THE HILL FROM THE OTHER END.
SO, IT'S ALL THANKS TO TEMPLAR'S
PRAGMATIC SOLUTIONS THAT THE
GRANITE FROM THE HIGH TOURS CAN
NOW BE FOUND IN SOME OF OUR MOST
ICONIC BUILDINGS - NELSON'S
COLUMN, THE BRITISH MUSEUM,
LONDON BRIDGE - AND IT'S ALL
DOWN TO THIS PERFECT YET SIMPLE
RAILWAY.

The narrator says IT'S ANOTHER TENACIOUS
SOLUTION TO REACH INTO THE
WILDERNESS.
BUT FOR SOME REMOTE RAILROADS
TO INFILTRATE THE WILDS...

A bearded man in the woods says IF LOCOMOTIVES WERE GOING
TO MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON
THE LOGGING INDUSTRY, THE ENGINE
WOULD HAVE TO BE COMPLETELY
RETHOUGHT.

The narrator says THE LOCOMOTIVE REQUIRES
ENGINEERING BRILLIANCE.

(music plays)

The narrator says WILDERNESS - HOME TO SOME OF
THE WORLD'S MOST DARING
RAILWAYS, BUILT BY INTREPID
INNOVATORS OVERCOMING
THE ODDS.
FROM UNCHARTED LANDS,
TO WATERY VISTAS, ENGINEERS
ARE ALWAYS PUSHING FORWARDS.
BUT SOMETIMES, THEY CAN BE
STOPPED IN THEIR TRACKS.
WHEN YOU'RE BUILDING A
RAILWAY ACROSS THE WILDERNESS
AND THE SEASONS CHANGE... ..AS AN ENGINEER, YOU NEVER
QUITE KNOW THE LAY OF THE LAND.

The animation shows the train going through different weather seasons until the ice on a lake collapses and the train goes in the freezing water.

(CONDUCTOR YELPING)

The narrator says COVERING AN AREA GREATER THAN
WESTERN EUROPE, THE TIBETAN
PLATEAU IN ASIA IS THE LARGEST
AND HIGHEST PLATEAU ON EARTH.
WITH DRIFTING SAND DUNES AND
ALPINE WETLANDS, TEMPERATURES
SWING FROM A BONE-CHILLING
MINUS FORTY DEGREES IN THE
WINTER, TO A SWELTERING THIRTY
DEGREES IN THE SUMMER.
IT'S A TREELESS AND WINDY
WILDERNESS.
ON THE FACE OF IT, THIS IS
THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH
FOR A RAILWAY.
BUT THE QINGHAI-TIBET RAILWAY
HAS TAKEN ON THIS CHALLENGE.
FOR A CENTURY, CHINA HAD DREAMT
OF CONNECTING WITH THE
INACCESSIBLE REGION OF TIBET.
IN 1974, WORK ON A RAILWAY
BEGAN AT XINING, CUTTING ACROSS
THE RUGGED NORTHERN EDGE
OF THE PLATEAU TO GOLMUD.
BUT WHEN ENGINEERS TRIED TO
HEAD SOUTH TO LHASA, THEY
ENCOUNTERED A SEEMINGLY
IMPOSSIBLE OBSTACLE...
550 KILOMETRES OF UNSTABLE
TERRAIN, WITH A PERMANENTLY
FROZEN LAYER BELOW THE SURFACE,
KNOWN AS PERMAFROST.
SENIOR ENGINEER MR. JINCHANG
WANG WAS PART OF THE TEAM IN
CHARGE OF FINDING THE SOLUTION.

(JINCHANG SPEAKING IN MANDARIN:)

Jinchang is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short straight brown hair. He wears glasses, a white shirt, a blue V*neck sweater, and a blue zip-up jacket.

The translator says PERMAFROST IS
A MIX OF SOIL AND SAND BOUND
BY ICE WITH A TEMPERATURE THAT
REMAINS BELOW ZERO FOR AT LEAST
TWO YEARS.
IF THE FROZEN SOIL IS ALWAYS
BELOW ZERO, IT WILL PROVIDE A
SOLID AND STABLE FOUNDATION
FOR BUILDINGS ABOVE IT.
HOWEVER, THE SURFACE LAYER CAN
MELT AND ITS LOADBEARING
CAPACITY CAN DECREASE, DAMAGING
ALL THE ARCHITECTURE ABOVE.

The narrator says WITHOUT SOLID LAND TO LAY A
TRACK ON, ENGINEERS HAD TO FIND
AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION.
(JINCHANG SPEAKING IN MANDARIN:)

The translator says SO, WE BUILT A BRIDGE,
INSTEAD OF LAYING TRACKS.

The narrator says THIS IS THE QINGSHUIHE
BRIDGE.
AT 11.7 KILOMETRES LONG, IT IS
THE LONGEST BRIDGE OVER
PERMAFROST IN THE WORLD.
BUT BUILDING IT WAS A FEAT
OF REMARKABLE ENDURANCE.
USING TECHNIQUES DERIVED FROM
DECADES OF RESEARCH, ENGINEERS
HAD TO DIG DEEP ENOUGH TO REACH
THE SOLID BASE BELOW.
(JINCHANG SPEAKING IN MANDARIN:)

The translator says SO, THERE MUST BE FOUR PILES
BENEATH EVERY PILLAR.
THE PILE FOUNDATIONS ARE 20
TO 30 METERS DEEP.

The narrator says TO REACH THOSE DEPTHS, A
ROTARY DIGGING MACHINE IS USED.
THE HOLES ARE THEN FILLED
WITH CONCRETE.
BUT AS HEAT IS RELEASED BY
A CHEMICAL REACTION DURING
THE CONCRETE MIXING PROCESS,
THE DANGER IS DAMAGING
THE PERMAFROST.
SO, THE WORK NEEDED TO BE
COMPLETED DURING THE HARSH,
WINTER MONTHS.
BUT TO SET AND STRENGTHEN,
CONCRETE MUST BE KEPT ABOVE
FIVE DEGREES, WHICH MEANS IT
HAS TO BE HEATED BEFORE IT'S
POURED.
SO, CHEMICALS ARE ADDED TO
THE MIXTURE TO HELP SPEED UP
THE SETTING PROCESS AND
SAFEGUARD THE PERMAFROST.
THIS PHENOMENAL BRIDGE
SPANNED THE MOST DIFFICULT
SECTION OF THE QINGHAI-TIBET
RAILWAY AND ENABLED ENGINEERS
TO FINALLY COMPLETE THEIR
JOURNEY ACROSS THE PLATEAU.

(JINCHANG SPEAKING IN MANDARIN:)

The translator says BUILDING A RAILWAY UNDER
EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS ON
THE QINGHAI-TIBET PLATEAU IS TEN
TIMES MORE DIFFICULT THAN
BUILDING A RAILWAY ON NORMAL
SOLID GROUND.

The narrator says IT TOOK AN ARMY OF MORE THAN
600 MEDICS AND 17 OXYGEN
STATIONS TO SUPPORT
THE CONSTRUCTION TEAM.
REACHING ALTITUDES OF OVER 5000
METRES, MEANS THAT OXYGEN IS
45 percent LOWER.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)
TODAY, JUST TRAVELLING THE
ROUTE GIVES A REAL SENSE OF
THE CONDITIONS THAT THE WORKERS
FACED.
EVEN PASSENGERS ON THIS HIGHEST
STRETCH OF RAIL NEED TO HAVE
ACCESS TO OXYGEN.
COMPLETED IN 2006,
THE RAILWAY WAS MAINLY USED
BY TOURISTS VISITING THE
ONCE-ISOLATED REGION OF TIBET.
TODAY, IT'S A VITAL PART
OF EVERYDAY LIFE FOR THE
LOCALS, WITH THE NUMBER OF
TRAINS ALMOST DOUBLING IN JUST
OVER A DECADE.
BUT NONE OF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE
QINGSHUIHE BRIDGE.

(JINCHANG SPEAKING IN MANDARIN:)

The translator says BEING PART OF THE OPERATION
AND MANAGEMENT OF THIS WORLDWIDE
ENGINEERING PROJECT IS MY GLORY
AND MY DUTY.

The narrator says PERMAFROST MIGHT BE
A FORMIDABLE OPPONENT, BUT
AROUND THE WORLD, RAILWAYS
MUST CROSS MANY DIFFERENT
LANDSCAPES, AND ONE THAT
PRESENTS AN ALTOGETHER
DIFFERENT CHALLENGE IS A WOODY
WILDERNESS.
IN THE LATE 1800S, FUELLED
BY THE GOLD RUSH, THE DEMAND
FOR TIMBER ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
WAS SKY HIGH.
THICK PINE FORESTS ON THE
WESTERN SLOPE OF THE CENTRAL
SIERRA NEVADA WILDERNESS
OFFERED AN ABUNDANT SUPPLY.
HORSES AND OXEN WERE THE USUAL
METHOD OF TRANSPORT, BUT TO
MEET DEMAND, LOCOMOTIVES WITH
THEIR SUPERIOR POWER BEGAN TO
APPEAR.
BUT GETTING THEM THROUGH THICK
FORESTS WAS FAR FROM EASY.
ENGINEER CHRIS POTTS IS
AT THE SITE OF A ONCE PROLIFIC
LOGGING OPERATION.

Chris is in his thirties, with short light brown hair and a beard. He wears glasses, jeans, and a white shirt.

As he walks along the tracks of a railroad in a wooded area, he says THIS IS THE SUGAR PINE
RAILROAD, LOCATED IN CALIFORNIA
SIERRA NEVADA FOREST, AND THESE
SURROUNDINGS ARE WHAT WOULD BE
TYPICALLY SEEN IN THE EARLY
LOGGING CAMPS.
THESE TRACKS HERE ARE ACTUALLY
QUITE MODERN, MADE OF STEEL,
STURDILY FIXED INTO PLACE, AND
WELL MAINTAINED.
THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT THE EARLY
RAILROADS WOULD HAVE HAD NO
SUCH LUXURY.
EARLIER RAILROADS WERE MADE
OF THE LOGS THEY MILLED.
THE TRACKS WOULD HAVE ONLY EVER
BEEN TEMPORARY.

The narrator says QUICKLY LAID TEMPORARY
TRACKS WOULD WEAVE THEIR WAY
THROUGH THE TREES.
THE TRACK'S TIGHT CURVES AND
MAKESHIFT NATURE WERE A RECIPE
FOR DISASTER FOR THE RECENTLY
INTRODUCED ROD LOCOMOTIVES.
THESE HUGE TRAINS WERE
POWERED BY PRESSURISED STEAM,
WITH THEIR HORIZONTALLY MOUNTED
PISTONS DRIVING ONLY A SINGLE
SET OF WHEELS.
ALL THE POWER FROM THE ENGINE
CONCENTRATED IN A SMALL AREA,
MEANT POOR TRACTION AND A
LIMITED ABILITY TO CLIMB
GRADIENTS.

Chris says THIS IS A ROD LOCOMOTIVE'S
WORST NIGHTMARE; THEY COULD ONLY
TRAVEL ABOUT 4 percent GRADES AT THEIR
MAX, AND THIS RIGHT HERE IS
ABOUT 12 percent, ALMOST THREE TIMES AS
MUCH AS A ROD LOCOMOTIVE COULD
USUALLY GO ON.
WITH THE ROUGH TERRAIN,
THE TIGHT CURVES AND THE STEEP
GRADES, THE ROD LOCOMOTIVES
WOULD HAVE A HARD TIME MAKING IT
HERE.

The narrator says BUT IT'S NOT JUST THE
TERRAIN THAT THE ENGINEERS WERE
BATTLING WITH.

Chris says WHEN THE ROD LOCOMOTIVES WENT
DOWN THE TRACK, THE ACTION OF
THE PISTON MOVING BACK AND
FORTH AND BACK AND FORTH WOULD
HAVE EASILY TORE THE TRACKS
RIGHT OUT OF THE GROUND.
IF LOCOMOTIVES WERE GOING
TO MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE
LOGGING INDUSTRY, THE ROD ENGINE
WOULD HAVE TO BE COMPLETELY
RETHOUGHT.

The narrator says AND IN 1877, ENTREPRENEURIAL
LOGGER-CUM-INVENTOR EPHRAIM
SHAY PROPOSED A SOLUTION WITH
THE INTRODUCTION OF HIS
RADICALLY RE-DESIGNED
LOCOMOTIVE.

(BELL RINGING)

Now Chris rides a vintage locomotive and says THIS IS INCREDIBLE!
(WHISTLE BLOWING)
I'M RIDING THE NUMBER 10 SHAY -
THE LARGEST NARROW GAUGE SHAY
EVER BUILT.
STANDING UP HERE, YOU CAN TRULY
APPRECIATE THE POWER, THE STEAM,
THE HEAT OF THE FIRE, AND
THE PISTONS MOVING UP AND DOWN.
WHAT A FEAT OF ENGINEERING,
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE.

The narrator says THIS IS A SHAY LIMA
LOCOMOTIVE AND IT'S IMPRESSIVE
BEYOND ITS MIGHTY POWER.

Chris says AT FIRST GLANCE, YOU'D BE
FORGIVEN FOR CONFUSING THE SHAY
WITH A ROD LOCOMOTIVE, BUT
ACTUALLY, IT WAS A REVOLUTION
IN DESIGN - IT COMPLETELY
TRANSFORMED THE LOCOMOTIVES FOR
THE LOGGING INDUSTRY.
WILDERNESS LIKE THIS WOULD STOP
ANY ROD TRAIN IN ITS TRACKS,
BUT NOT THE SHAY.
(WHISTLE BLOWING)

He says WHOO!
(LAUGHING)
WHOO!

The narrator says THE KEY TO SHAY'S DESIGN IS
THAT INSTEAD OF USING RODS TO
POWER JUST ONE SET OF WHEELS,
IT USES GEARS TO SHARE THE
POWER BETWEEN SIX SETS OF
WHEELS.
IT'S A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE THAT
TRANSFORMS HOW A LOCOMOTIVE
USES ITS POWER AND GIVES THE
SHAY ITS UNIQUE APPEARANCE.

Chris says WHAT A MONSTER OF
ENGINEERING.
THIS IS HOW IT WORKS -
THERE ARE THREE GIANT
PISTONS, AND THESE MASSIVE
PISTONS WORK IN A VERTICAL
DIRECTION.
AS THE POWER GENERATED BY THE
STEAM FROM THAT BOILER IS
TRANSFERRED INTO THIS GEAR
TRAIN, IT IS SENT DOWN TO THE
BEVEL GEARS.
AND THESE GEARS WORK WITH A TWO
TO ONE RATIO, WHERE THE SMALLER
GEAR SPINS TWICE AS FAST AS
THE LARGER GEAR.
AND THE WAY IT WORKS IS IT TAKES
THAT SPEED FROM THE SMALLER GEAR
AND TRANSFORMS IT INTO TORQUE,
MEANING THAT THIS TRAIN CAN GO
UP 14 percent GRADES - UNHEARD OF FOR
TRAINS OF THIS AGE - AND CAN
TAKE HUGE LOADS ACROSS HUGE
DISTANCES.
THERE'S A BEVEL GEAR ON EACH
ONE OF THESE WHEELS, ESSENTIALLY
MAKING IT A TWELVE WHEEL DRIVE.
PRETTY COOL.

The narrator says BY REALIGNING THE CYLINDERS
AND GEARING THE POWER TO EACH
SET OF WHEELS, THE SHAY ALSO
HAD INCREASED TRACTION AND
WOULD BE FAR BETTER SUITED TO
THE DEMANDS OF THE CHALLENGING
LOGGING LANDSCAPE.

Chris says SO, ONE OF THE KEY
DIFFERENCES HERE IS THAT THIS
TRAIN OPERATES WITH THREE
VERTICAL PISTONS, MEANING THAT
IT WAS A LOT LESS DESTRUCTIVE
THAN THE ROD LOCOMOTIVES OF ITS
TIME, WHERE THEY OPERATED WITH A
HORIZONTAL PISTON, MEANING THAT
IT WAS LESS DESTRUCTIVE TO THE
TRACKS.

The narrator says AFTER ITS INTRODUCTION IN
1878, THE SHAY LOCOMOTIVE WAS
AN INSTANT SUCCESS STORY,
ENABLING THESE RELATIVELY SMALL
ENGINES TO MOVE HEAVY GOODS AT
LOW SPEEDS OVER ROUGH TERRAIN.
OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, MORE
THAN 300 SHAYS WERE PRODUCED,
TOTALLY TRANSFORMING THE
LOGGING INDUSTRY.

Chris says THE SHAY TRAIN WAS
PERFECTLY EQUIPPED TO BRAVE EVEN
THE MOST CHALLENGING OF
WILDERNESS.
THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE FEAT
OF ENGINEERING, JUST THE SHEER
POWER!
I LOVE IT!

(WHISTLE BLOWING)

(music plays)

The narrator says FOR CENTURIES, RAILWAYS
HAVE CARVED PATHS THROUGH
THE WORLD'S MOST UNFORGIVING
WILDERNESSES.
THROUGH EXCEPTIONAL
CREATIONS...

Karen says IT'S SPECTACULAR AND YOU
DON'T FIND THIS TYPE OF THING
IN MANY PLACES IN THE WORLD.

Paul says IT'S RAINFOREST RAILWAY
ENGINEERING AT THE WORLD'S BEST.

The narrator says AND CUTTING EDGE
SOLUTIONS...

Dan says SOMEDAY, THEY'LL HAVE TO
BUILD A TRAIN ON MARS OR ON THE
MOON OR WHATEVER, BUT THIS IS
ABOUT AS CLOSE AS THAT GETS ON
EARTH.

The narrator says ENGINEERS CONTINUE TO
SUCCEED, CREATING IMPOSSIBLE
RAILWAYS.

Karen says ENGINEERING VERSUS
THE WILDERNESS?
I THINK ENGINEERING WON.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Matthew Skilton.

Producer-directors, Tom Weller and Scottie McKinnon.

Executive producer, Neil Edwards.

Series producer, Sharon Ryan.

Distributed by Two Four Rights.

Produced in association with Yesterday.

Copyright 2018, TwoFour.

Watch: Episode 6 - Into the Wild