Friday 15 Sep 2017
Behind the scenes documentary at London Paddington Station continues as more than one million people tune in for opening episode
A Network Rail worker who was in the control room hot seat on the day a bizarre incident led to London Paddington coming to standstill will feature in the second episode of behind the scenes documentary Paddington 24/7.
The eight-part series follows railway workers on the Great Western Mainline as they deal with the biggest modernisation of the line for generations, major incidents which are causing disruption on the railway, huge sporting events as well as the day-to-day challenge of running one of the UK’s busiest stations.
Neil Latham, route control manager, features in episode two as he deals with one of the most unusual incidents to ever affect Paddington.
With the railway already stretched owing to soaring track temperatures a pigeon was then electrocuted by overhead wires causing it to shoot up at speed and damage a bridge just outside Paddington, making it too dangerous for trains to run in and out of Brunel’s iconic station.
The incident meant it was deemed unsafe for trains to pass under the damaged bridge until a full inspection was carried out. With speeds of trains already reduced owing to track temperatures as high as 52 degrees centigrade the documentary follows Neil and his team as they work tirelessly to return the railway to normal.
Neil explained how the pigeon incident was like no other he has seen or heard of. He said: “You often hear that every day is different on the railway, but that day with the extreme temperatures and a pigeon rocketing up and damaging a bridge really was like no other.
“The team in the control room have many years’ experience between them but nobody has come across anything quite like it and the bridge affected was the worst one it could have been. We had no choice but to stop trains as the safety of passengers comes first.
“The guys on the ground quickly arrived on site and we got the railway open as early as we could. I hope people watch the documentary and get a better understanding of what Network Rail does and the range of challenges we face.”
The second episode of Paddington 24/7 will be aired on Monday 18 September on Channel 5 at 9pm with each episode shown on subsequent Monday evenings at the same time.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.