If there is a railway heaven on Earth, it is Sardinia. An incredible 626 kilometres of narrow gauge railways and 374 kilometres of standard gauge are packed into an island the size of Wales. In the 1960s it was thought that the entire system was destined for closure, but now there has been a transformation. The railways are being upgraded and, at the time of this programme, no less than five steam locomotives had been fully restored and three of them are seen in fast and furious action.
A deep blue sea washes gleaming white sands against a backdrop of the least known and wildest mountains of Europe. Vast areas are penetrated by only mule tracks and diminutive railcars, diesel locomotives and steam engines of the Ferrovie della Sardegna. Visitors are encouraged to 'play trains' and locomotive crews have become adept at at photographic run pasts. Paradise is an overused word but there is none other than to adequately describe Sardinia.
We were tempted to offer money back if this programme did not encourage the viewer to visit Sardinia. But there could be some who hate steam, can't bear diesels, abhor narrow gauge, (and standard gauge), grow dizzy in the highest mountains, balk at unfailingly hospitable 'foreigners' and turn away from pasta and pizza. So we didn't.
For those who can stand the prospect of an hour of railway paradise, whatever your views, in unsurpassable surroundings, sit back and watch railways of the kind you thought had long disappeared and enjoy the Railways of Sardinia.