A DORSET railway will be steaming onto television in a BBC documentary on the history of rail.

The Swanage Railway will be featured in a new programme series Locomotion – Dan Snow’s History of Railways about how the development of railways influenced society and economics in Britain and around the world.

Historian, broadcaster and presenter Dan Snow, together with his production team, filmed for a day on the railway on July 12 last year.

He was able to experience the steam locomotive footplate firsthand thanks to Swanage Railway volunteer driver Tony Hallworth.

Mr Hallworth said: “I was interested to meet Dan Snow and learn more about his new documentary series.

“The Bodmin and Wenford line, on which I used to work for British Railways as a steam locomotive fireman in the early 1960s, was one of the first railways to be built in the country.”

Mr Snow enjoyed a footplate ride on the 1940s express Bulleid Pacific class steam locomotive between Swanage, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden Park and Ride.

The Southern Railway locomotive was rescued from a Welsh scrapyard and transformed from a rusting hulk to a gleaming steam machine after several years of meticulous restoration work.

Liz Sellen, chairman of Swanage Railway Trust, said: “I’m sure that Dan’s footplate ride on our largest steam locomotive was a real thrill and the highlight of his visit to our re-laid railway through the Isle of Purbeck.

“Dan and his colleagues were a delight to work with and everyone on the Swanage Railway is looking forward to watching his new documentary series about the history of railways – from their invention to the height of their power and influence.”

The documentary will explore how primitive 18th century tracks for carrying coal carts developed into the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution and the railway system that we recognise today.

The first episode of Locomotion – Dan Snow’s History of Railways will be shown on Tuesday, January 15, at 9pm on BBC Two.