BBC Radio 4
Saturday 30 Oct, 2010
20.02 – 21.00
Sound recordist and Narrator: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt
A thrilling acoustic journey across the heart of Mexico from Pacific to Atlantic coast using archive recordings to recreate a rail passenger service which no longer exists.
Ride the train from Los Mochis to Veracruz and soak up the atmosphere of Mexico in this immersive acoustic journey.
It’s more than a decade since the Mexican State Railway System operated its last continuous passenger service across country. Sound recordist Chris Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel this route. He was part of a film crew working on a programme in the BBC TV series Great Railways Journeys. Now, in this ARCHIVE on 4, based on the original sound recordings, the journey of the ‘ghost train’ is recreated; evoking memories of a recent past, capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sounds of human life and wildlife along the tracks of one of Mexico’s greatest engineering projects.
The Sunday Telegraph:
Sometimes, radio can awaken the mind and sharpen the senses like no other medium. This ‘sound portrait’ of a now-abandoned railway line that used to run between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico is a good case in point. Captured by sound recordist Chris Watson more than a decade ago, it jostles with human, animal and mechanical life, and is more richly evocative of Central America than any TV travel show I’ve seen. [Pete Naughton]
It is over a decade since the Mexican state railway system operated its last continuous passenger service across the country but here sound recordist Chris Watson recreates its atmospheric journey with the help of the train recordings he made while working on the BBC television series Great Railway Journeys. His luxurious trip took him through desert and city, but it is the rocking rhythms of the train itself that prove most memorable. [Stephanie Billen]
The Financial Times:
El Tren Fantasma (8pm) is Archive on 4’s recollection of a trans-Mexico rail journey by sound recordist Chris Watson. From desert to rainforest, hummingbirds’ wings to the boom of heat rising from the Copper Canyon, it recalls a beloved passenger train system abandoned by privatisation. **** [Martin Hoyle]
The Daily Telegraph:
Sometimes, radio can awaken the mind and sharpen the senses like no other medium. This “sound portrait” of a now-abandoned railway line that used to run between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico is a good case in point. Captured by sound recordist Chris Watson more than a decade ago, it jostles with human, animal and mechanical life, filling the room with an atmosphere that is more richly evocative of Central America than any TV travel show I’ve seen. Diesel engines thrum, cicadas chirrup and passengers chatter, sing and argue. Close your eyes and go on holiday for an hour. [Pete Naughton]