“Great Continental Railway Journeys” is the name of the BBC series, featuring the popular host Michael Portillo, which promotes railways and the landmarks along the routes traveled.
The filming of the series began today in the Croatian region of Istria, and Portillo will explore Croatia by rail, dedicating a total of four episodes to the country.
When it comes to railways in Croatia, we are used to hearing complaints and grievances. However, BBC star Michael Portillo has a different perspective. He proudly dons the uniform of HŽ (Croatian Railways), HRT reported.
“This is a beautiful uniform and shows that the people working here love their job, which is so nice to see,” said Michael Portillo, BBC presenter.
He also remarked how it’s fascinating to see machinery that seems more at home in a museum than at a train station.
People in Britain are nostalgic for old railways.
“In my country, there is incredible nostalgia for the old railways. If people in Britain see this, they would be thrilled. These are old signal boxes that are much more reliable than computer systems that can suddenly shut down,” he told HRT.
Michael’s host at the Vodnjan station is Alen.
“As you can see, everything remains as it used to be, but it has its own charm. That’s why they come to film here, to show it. This is the telephone we use to communicate between stations, to exchange information about whether the train is on schedule or not,” added Alen Pajić, a train traffic controller.
However, don’t think that the BBC came here just to film museum equipment. Michael is a great advocate for slow rail travel.
“It’s the best way to explore landscapes and people! And who knows, perhaps the romance of your life might happen on a train,” he said.
It sounds like something out of a 19th-century novel, but 21st-century television has great power, making this a significant promotion for both the railways and Croatia.
“He promotes the trend of slow travel, which doesn’t work in our everyday lives when we go to work, school, etc. Slow travel is for weekends and vacations,” said Željka Mirčić from HŽ Infrastructure.
“One of their shows is watched by 9 million viewers in the UK alone. But if we consider that it will be broadcasted outside the UK, we can only imagine the reach of such a program,” added Kristina Mamić from the Croatian Tourist Board.
“So, we wish our colleagues from the BBC a safe journey as they head to Buzet tomorrow and then travel from Rijeka to Lika and Dalmatia,” HRT concluded.