Great rail journeys of the future with Michael Portillo

Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys have captured the imaginations of millions of TV viewers as he explores the vast world of rail travel, its fascinating history, and what it can reveal about a country.

In this episode Michael shares his thoughts on how far we’ve come in Britain when it comes to our railways, and what we need to be thinking about in the future.  

As well as a broadcaster and film maker, Michael is also a former Member of Parliament. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s he held a number of senior Ministerial roles in the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Minister of State for Transport. Looking back on his time in government, as well as his travels and film making adventures, he reflects on how the rail industry has changed over time, the political obstacles that have held Britain back, and what our priorities should be now.   

This episode is the full interview with Michael, excerpts of which were included in our previous feature on “Reimagining our railways and stations”. In that episode we explored how innovation and new technologies are shaping the future of the rail industry as it rises to the huge challenges the 21st Century is throwing at it. Like the disruption of a global pandemic, the need to decarbonise our economy, the march of digital technology, and the importance of putting people and the passenger experience at the heart of all of that. 

Music on this episode is by Phill Ward Music ( 

Show notes

To learn more about the UK’s first ‘Station Innovation Zone’ and how the Catapult is supporting Bristol Temple Meads station to trial new technologies, click here 

And if you’re interested in applying for our Station Innovation Zone Competition – we’re looking for up to 10 innovators with technology, products or services which can improve passenger experience when travelling through stations – then click here to learn more 

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