Documentary continues as staff help recover train services following day of disruption: IanWillott

Friday 13 Oct 2017

Documentary continues as staff help recover train services following day of disruption


A Network Rail worker who was in the control room hot seat on a day that the emergency phone rang several times causing disruption across the Great Western Mainline will feature in the sixth episode of behind the scenes documentary Paddington Station 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.

Ian Willott, route control manager, features in episode six as he deals with the disruption caused by a person being hit by a train, several falling trees, a signalling fault and a train passing a danger signal.

The combination of multiple issues meant it was a challenging day for Ian, who has worked on the railway for 42 years, with the line between Taunton and Exeter shut for a period of time after a person was hit by a train with the effects being felt more than 100 miles away at London Paddington as services were disrupted.

To make matters worse, a stormy day meant trees had fallen onto the track at several points across Network Rail’s Western route, including near Henley in Berkshire and Dilton Marsh in Wiltshire. Finally, a signal fault and a train passing a danger signal just outside London Paddington capped off a difficult day for Ian in the control room hot seat.

However, despite the numerous challenges Ian helped get services back on track at Brunel’s iconic station ahead of the evening peak. He said: “It was a difficult day but everyone pulled together to ensure we recovered the service and got passengers moving on time by the evening peak.

“The guys on the ground quickly arrived on site each and every time we had an incident and their hard work helped us open the railway as early as we could and ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.

“I hope people watch the documentary and get a better understanding of what Network Rail does and the range of challenges we face.”

The sixth episode of Paddington Station 24/7 will be aired on Monday 16 October on Channel 5 at 9pm with each episode shown on subsequent Monday evenings at the same time.


Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office -Western route
01793 389749

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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: