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Portillo to take BBC railway trip


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Portillo to take BBC railway trip

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Michael Portillo was Defence Secretary in the 1990s

Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo is to present a documentary about cuts to the UK railway network for BBC Radio 4.

Portillo will present One Way Ticket: The Beeching Cuts Revisited for Archive on 4 on Saturday at 20:00 BST.

It will examine the cuts to the network recommended by Richard Beeching, chairman of the British Railways Board, in 1965.

Portillo also presents the BBC Two series Great British Railway Journeys.

As part of the Radio 4 programme, Portillo travels along the Settle to Carlisle line, which lost many of its stations during the Beeching era.

He also hears from former transport ministers about the impact Beeching's plans have had on government rail plans and policy over the past five decades.

The programme is being made by independent production company Made in Manchester.

Producer Ashley Byrne said: "Michael loves the railways and his passion for their history and heritage really comes through in this programme."

Portillo, who was Defence Secretary in the 1990s, recently caused controversy when he said he would not vote for the Conservative party's London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson.

He told the BBC's This Week he would back a candidate "who endorses a third runway for Heathrow airport".

Independent Siobhan Benita is the only candidate to do so, while Mr Johnson wants a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

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