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
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.