Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Discovery's Mighty Trains Season 2!

This week, I had the opportunity to interview Teddy Wilson, host of Discovery's Mighty Trains. With the Season 2 premiere airing October 14 at 7 p.m. (ET) I was able to ask Teddy about the challenges, rewards and highlights of being part of documenting railway operations around the world!
Trackside Treasure: What are some of the challenges of creating a series like Mighty Trains?
Teddy: Bringing viewers the 360-degree insider's view of the experience, from dispatching to onboard staff, bringing the viewers along on the journey. Being in the moment! Sometimes the filming catches everything in one trip along a route, but sometimes another filming run is required. It's challenging, especially with jet lag! There is one overall crew and two camera teams catching the trackside scenery and following the characters in each episode. And when a train ahead derails, the production schedule has to...be adjusted!

Trackside Treasure: What is the most rewarding part of creating a series like Mighty Trains?
Teddy: I have one of the easiest jobs in the production crew! A dream job. When one is passionate about trains, it's easy to talk to passengers and crews. The production crew members are professionals. [Self-effacingly, Teddy says] the host can always be replaced! Mighty Trains features the engineering and mechanics of each train, the history of the line as well as the actual ride.

Trackside Treasure: How are train people different from, say, plane people?
Teddy: Train people are always knowledgeable and passionate. Each and every one is well-informed, and always talks to people willingly. It's interesting to find out why passengers want to ride the featured trains. People relate to trains. They take us to a different time. Trains capture our imagination more than other forms of travel. Trains are something special.

Trackside Treasure: Besides train and travel enthusiasts, is there a wider community that Mighty Trains is trying to reach? 
Teddy: The first season connected with people, from hardcore train fans to those who've caught the travel bug. The series is not travel only, neither is it engineering only.

In the first episode of Season 2, it's the Rocky Mountaineer between Vancouver-Banff and Jasper-Vancouver. 
Episode two is Ecuador's Tren Crucero, the 'Train to the Clouds' to Quito, which is the second-highest national capital on Earth. The ride reaches 3,000 metres from sea level, in the Andes Mountains, including the Devil's Nose perpendicular rockface. 
Trackside Treasure: Train riding is drama, movement, history and geography, all in one.
Teddy: Agreed, it's not the same as flying. Going home to visit family in Ottawa, I have the option of flying. I prefer to go by train! And I go through Kingston!

Trackside Treasure: During a recent trip aboard VIA Rail to Toronto, I spent some spare time watching Porter and Air Canada flights taking off from the Billy Bishop Toronto Island airport! Will Mighty Trains ever run out of operations to profile?
Teddy: I don't imagine so. I wondered that myself, early on. There is a plentiful reservoir out there. We could go ten seasons!

Trackside Treasure: This blog just celebrated ten years!
Teddy: Congrats on ten years, Trackside Treasure!

In the third episode of Season 2, it's India's Delhi-Mumbi Maharajas' Express, an eight-day trip crossing the Thar Desert. Classic dining cars transport passengers to another time. Subsequent episodes feature the Madrid-Barcelona line in Spain which covers 625 km in 2.5 hours, trains on the North and South Islands of New Zealand and freight operations and sustainable forestry in Sweden.

Trackside Treasure: Would Mighty Trains consider profiling GO Transit? It's an exacting network to operate, because commuters don't like to be late!
Teddy: That decision is above my pay grade, but we did feature Japan's Shinkansen in Season 1 - an intercity run with a reputation for being highly punctual.

Trackside Treasure: Time for the lightning round! Choose your preferred option or pass if you feel the need:
Freight or passenger? Freight
Economy or first class? Economy
Carry On or Checked Baggage? Carry On
Diesel or Steam? Steam, but diesel's OK, too.
1940's or 1990's? 1940's
Camera or pen and paper? Pen and paper
CN or CP? Pass!
Head east or head west? Interesting! Head west
Winter or summer? Summer, but fall's OK, too.
Dining car or dome car? Dome car!
Mighty or Trains, nevermind, trick question!

Trackside Treasure: How will you be celebrating the airing of the first episode of Season Two?
Teddy: We're doing something new - our first-ever Facebook Live after the show. Live from the basement of 'the guy with the train in his basement' - Jason Shron! Starts at 8 p.m. (ET) from Jason's place.
[Count me in!]

Trackside Treasure: Any final words, Teddy?
Teddy: This Season has such fascinating subject matter. I hope we do train lovers proud. We've kicked it up a notch this season. 

Trackside Treasure: Well, I'm off to our monthly Associated Railroaders of Kingston meeting now.
Teddy: Say 'Hi!' to the train gang tonight.
[I did!]

If you can't wait, here's a Preview of the first episode of Season two of Discovery's Mighty Trains. For those with short attention spans, check out the Youtube trailer.

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