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Great American Railroad Journeys



Great American Railroad Journeys


Season 4

Saturdays from 7 December at 7:30pm Channel 017

In the fourth season of Great American Railroad Journeys, Michael Portillo sets out to travel the great Alaskan and Canadian railways with his trusty 1899 Appleton’s Guidebook. Experiencing spectacular scenery, remote wilderness, bustling state capitals, and the vast open spaces of the prairies, he makes surprising discoveries and uncovers fascinating details about the histories of Alaska and Canada. 

Journeying to the Last Frontier, in Alaska he discovers the 49th state was a Russian colony, purchased by the United States in 1867, and rides the 470-mile Alaska Railroad from Seward to Fairbanks through spectacular scenery and remote wilderness. He continues on the magnificent White Pass and Yukon Route Railway from Skagway to Carcross in Yukon, and  along the way discovers how huskies helped to build Alaska. In Canada, Michael turns to his 1899 Canadian Appleton’s which guides him through the world’s second-largest country and helps him explore its shared history with Britain and France. Moving east from Vancouver towards Calgary, Michael rides the legendary Rocky Mountaineer service. His journeys continue in Canada’s Atlantic Maritime Provinces and on to the north bank of the mighty St Lawrence River via Quebec City. His Canadian rail odyssey culminates as he traverses the vast prairie provinces aboard the nation’s last remaining transcontinental passenger line