By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
Can everybody hear rumbling in the distance? Don’t fret, it’s merely exciting new episodes of MIGHTY TRAINS headed our way!
As a new season of MIGHTY TRAINS begins Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on Discovery, we caught up with host Teddy Wilson to let us know what’s on track as he travels the world for the new campaign:
Q: With the wild variation in conditions of the tracks, and conditions of the trains, how often during the filming of MIGHTY TRAINS have you honestly been a bit scared - or maybe even REALLY scared - for your safety?
Teddy Wilson: “Generally speaking, while shooting MIGHTY TRAINS I've felt safe, but there have definitely been some times I've thought, ‘Uh-oh!’ Back in Season 2 during our journey through Ecuador, a locomotive derailed a few kilometres ahead of our passenger train. We were delayed by several hours. And during our upcoming season, as we cross Australia on the world famous Indian Pacific luxury train, well, let's just say things don't go exactly according to plan. Tune in to find out what happens!”
Q: A thought struck me that I don't really know what's involved in "driving" a train, other than starting and stopping. So what are the things that you think are the most misunderstood about what it takes to operate a train?
Teddy Wilson: “Great question! The biggest technical insight I've gleaned from covering trains around the world has to do with inclines and declines, which relates to starting and stopping, as you mentioned. Regular trains are based on an 'adhesion railway' model and can only tackle limited grades of 2% to 3% maximum - not exactly steep slopes. Throw in slippery track conditions due to factors like rain, ice, and fallen leaves on the tracks, and it makes it even more difficult for trains to get the traction they need, even on fairly mild slopes. Railways like Switzerland's Bernina Express tackle major inclines though ingenious spiral tunnels, which allow greater elevation over shorter distances.”
Q: What can viewers expect to see in the new season?
Teddy Wilson: “In Season 3 of MIGHTY TRAINS we take you around the world on some of the most sought-after train journeys on earth - from the luxury of South Africa's Rovos Rail, to the sheer adventure of Thailand's railways, to the breathtaking arctic scenery of Norway's railways, to Italy's groundbreaking high-tech, high-speed railways, and much more.”
Q: Do you have nightmares about being surrounded by monkeys, as occurs in the Thailand episode, knowing that if the story were told in a different way, that could be the start of a horror movie? Can we look forward to any more occasions when you're surrounded by wild animals?
Teddy Wilson: “I got SUCH a thrill out of visiting the temple in Lopburi, Thailand, where monkeys have completely taken over. Those little thieves even stole my sunglasses. Later on during our upcoming season, we visit a game reserve in South Africa, bringing you up close with lions, elephants, buffalo, and lots of other wild animals.”
Q: Would you now describe yourself as perpetually motion-sick?
Teddy Wilson: “Thankfully, I don't really suffer from motion sickness! But don't even get me STARTED about how much I hate airplane turbulence … trains are a MUCH better way to travel!”