Michael Portillo’s ‘Middy’ visit to be broadcast on the BBC on Friday

Michael Portillo with Driver Paul Ebsworth (left) and John Reeve (right) Marketing Manager. ANL-170601-101804001
Michael Portillo with Driver Paul Ebsworth (left) and John Reeve (right) Marketing Manager. ANL-170601-101804001

Part of Suffolk’s rural history will be shown to a national audience on Friday night when the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in Wetheringsett is showcased in the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys.

Presenter, broadcaster and former MP Michael Portillo visited the line, affectionately known as ‘Middy’ back in May will feature in the broadcast on BBC 2 on Friday at 6.30pm.

Michael Portillo at Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in May. ANL-170601-101751001

Michael Portillo at Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in May. ANL-170601-101751001

Marketing Manager John Reeve told the Diss Express said he was “extremely excited” to see the final programme.

“I am in charge of marketing at the railway and I got this email from the production company, saying they were considering doing a piece on us,” he said.

“I thought ‘I can’t believe this’ and I jumped on that straight away, and it went from there.

“He came over with the team, and it was jolly nice. He spent three or so hours with us, we steamed an engine for him, gave him a ride on one of the trains and a locomotive, and a little bit of driving instruction.

Michael was very charming and interested and everything you could have hoped for

John Reeve, Marketing Manager, Middy

“Michael was very charming and interested and everything you could have hoped for.”

The episode is the final leg of Portillo’s journey, following the route of the North Country Continental service to Harwich.

The Middy, based at Brockford Station in Wetheringsett, will reopen for this year at the Easter weekend, on April 16 and 17.

A group of enthusiasts led an effort to resurrect the line in 1991, and is Suffolk’s only standard gauge railway museum.

It also runs regular steam trains and has a programme of carriage and wagon restoration projects.

For more on the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway and to see their full calendar of events, see www.mslr.org.uk