The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track (2013) s01e03 Episode Script

Standing Room Only

This programme contains some strong language.
Britain's railway - the oldest and one of the busiest in the world.
Just slow down.
Slow down.
Surely this is illegal to be packed in like this.
A huge network under constant pressure.
Absolutely mental today.
No driver.
No driver? Come on guys, look for the driver and guard.
Where anything and everything can mean delay and chaos for thousands.
Back's against the wall.
He's got a suicidal female on board.
Train now 90 late, owing to hitting a pheasant.
I've heard everything now.
Filmed over a year across the nation - we go behind the scenes of an industry we all love to complain about.
Do you want a hand? So, oh no, that's ïÿ½323.
50 Oi! With the railway people determined to keep Britain moving.
To infinity and beyond! In to December at Reading Station.
It's Monday morning rush-hour.
40 miles west of the capital, this is the hub of the Thames Valley commuter belt, connecting Oxfordshire and Berkshire in to London, Paddington.
Unfortunately, after the one that's just landing now at No 8, the one behind it has been reported as leaving Newbury absolutely rammed.
So you might have a bit of a problem trying to squeeze them all on this one.
That's delivering shareholder value.
Why would you want to do this every day? More than 400 trains and 15,000 passengers pass through here every morning.
Station control, Reading.
Wheelchair user.
The station's Control Room is run by Phil and Mark.
(TANNOY): Passengers with off-peak tickets travelling in to London, your tickets are not valid on this service.
Your voice is much more photogenic than mine.
Phil's probably about the best one we've got.
Very clear and he's pretty darn pro-active.
Sometimes they get a bit frustrated with us when trains are late or disrupted, but we do our best to keep them moving.
Shall I do another pro-active Please use all available doors when boarding the train on platform 5, and move well down inside the They'll stand next to a door and that's it, all go in one door.
The Ensuring the trains leave Reading on time is the job of despatch staff like Angie Allen.
I'll see you later.
All right.
Bye.
I've got on my thermals today.
Have yer? Because I was freezing yesterday.
But it's been a lovely night.
It's not been raining and it's not been belting down yet, so even better.
Stand back, please, let everyone off.
Stand back.
Move in, please, move right down the carriage.
You've got a million and one things to remember.
You've got all the times of trains, you've got all the trains, where they're going.
All the connections.
It's absolutely full, if you want to move up that way, please.
Making sure people are safe on a train, making sure the trains aren't over-crowded.
Totally full.
Sorry.
Sorry.
Sorry.
Sorry, you need to stand back, sir.
It's completely full.
It keeps you fit, that.
Before she came to the railways, mother of five Angie worked as a care assistant in a hospital.
Hospitals are quite manic, but we don't deal with as many people in a hospital per day as what I do on a train station.
So you've got a big responsibility on your shoulders.
And I think if people would understand it they'd be a wee bit more kinder.
What's the first one to Paddington? Paddington, that'll be the 8:14.
8:14? Yeah.
Is it going to be on time? Hopefully, fingers crossed, yeah.
I wouldn't have thought so.
OK, thank you.
They don't realise that I've got a life beyond railway.
It's full, it's full here.
I go home, I cook, I clean, I'm like any It's a job, just like their job.
They go in to an office every single day, and you get lawyers, you get doctors.
We're here, we Just one small problem on this congested route can cause big delays.
Incident Response staff are on constant alert.
25 year-old economics graduate, Ben Rudkin, shunned a career in the corporate world to work on the railways.
This morning he's track-side in Trains on the lines closest to us, which is the main lines, are travelling at anything up to 125 miles an hour.
Incredibly dangerous place for people.
I haven't seen it Do you know what? I can see it from here.
Let me go and have a look.
I should be able to just haul him.
Oh, Oh, no, no, no, no.
I think his legs are missing, actually, but I think he's in one - I think what's remaining is in one bit.
Half an hour ago a driver reported seeing a dead dog on the line.
OK, yeah, no worries.
Well, look, I'm - what I'll do is I'll wait for one to go past each way, shall I? signallers have told Ben he has just two minutes to retrieve it before the next train passes Oh! All right, well, we'll go this way.
Ben will return the dog to its owners.
Right.
I really hope the Cool.
I think he's frozen solid.
I shouldn't laugh.
Do you have any identifying marks? Ronnie.
It's got a phone number on.
This is the most rubbish bit, this is an absolute pain in the arse doing, trying to Hi there.
I'm afraid I have what is probably some quite sad news, but - yeah, I'm afraid I've found - yeah, I've located Ronnie, who sadly sort No, you know, she - he or she is in, she's in quite - you know, she's in quite a good state, so if you'd The guy was, no, the guy thanked me and things for ringing, but he did sound I think they sound like obviously Ronnie was definitely a Platform 13 if you're quick, change at Slough, but you have to be quick, you've only got a couple of minutes.
London Paddington is the gateway not only to the Thames Valley, but to Wales, the West Country and Heathrow Airport.
You can't stand there, it is too dangerous for kids.
Excuse me, excuse me, can you find somewhere for nine of us to go? Sorry? There's nine of us stood there.
Leave your luggage.
You and the little two go down to C, there's two seats for a disabled Surely this is illegal to be packed in like this.
So if you wanted me to rate this train it would be zilch.
It reminds me of the train abroad, that's what it reminds me Hi, is that Ron Newman? Hello, good afternoon, I'm calling from Lost Property at London, Paddington concerning your laptop computer.
If you want to just come to Paddington and when you get here just pop in and come and see us.
My name's Hayley.
In the run-up to Christmas, thousands of passengers belongings find their way to Paddington's Lost Property Office.
Yeah, OK.
Well, my name's Hayley, I'll just jot it down at the back for you.
This is where all the magic happens.
We get from pushchairs to skateboards to rollerblades, to three suitcases at a time sometimes, and the family have got off and left everything on there.
So somebody left their pedal bike and their little trailer thing on the train, and I don't know how you forget something like that.
I mean, we come across a few things that are not very nice.
I don't even want to say it, a pooey pair of pants.
Seriously, I am so sorry, but yeah, that's true.
I'm the person you spoke to Yes, that's right.
.
.
who's had a heart problem, and left my laptop on the train.
As far at the moment it hasn't come in.
Right.
Now the best thing for you to do is if you head down here to the gate lines.
Yes.
If you see, there's a lovely lady there, First Great Western member of staff.
Right.
Just get her to either radio through to a manager or to get someone to come over and see you and see what they can do for you, and more than likely they can let someone on that train know now.
thank you very much indeed.
Yeah.
Some of these bags, they have people's lives in them.
For you, you don't understand what the sentimental value is for it.
Sometimes it can be like, you know, their grandma or their parents or somebody that's bought it for them that is no longer with them.
We get loads of bags with just loads of wrapped up gifts.
It is nice to be able to reunite the people with the stuff, especially at Christmas time, you know, not everyone's got a lot of money.
You go out spending and losing stuff like that on the train it does kind of, you know, it's difficult.
Actually, I spoke to the owner today about that item, so they're going to head down, I think it's tomorrow about lunchtime and come and collect it, so that'll be nice.
So I'm going to reunite them with their Christmas presents A member of staff has found Mr Newman's laptop and returned it to Lost Property.
We've got it.
Right, OK.
We're at Paddington, it's been found, they found it on the train, the train was still here.
As at other major stations, Lost Property is operated by an outside commercial company.
There's a charge for every item that comes through the office.
He should be charged.
I mean it's only been in 10 minutes, it hasn't been put through the system, and he is an elderly man, it is Christmas, so I'm going to take the decision, I hope, to release the bag to him without a charge, bless him.
I'm going to charge him ïÿ½5 for the bag, and not ïÿ½20 for the laptop computer.
Brilliant news.
So if you want to just check the contents is all there.
It looks fine to me.
There is a collection fee.
That's fine.
Usually it would be ïÿ½20 for a laptop computer, but it's only ïÿ½5 for a bag.
So it'll just be ïÿ½5 today.
Right, I haven't got the money.
Can I give you a card? of course you can, yeah.
How's about that? Luckiest man alive.
Somebody else could have walked off with that.
OK, so that's your two receipts.
Right, thank you very much, indeed.
And that's everything.
You're welcome.
Thank you very much.
Take care.
Have a lovely Christmas.
Have a nice Christmas yourself.
Thank you.
You too.
OK.
Bye.
Thank you.
We get a lot of different property, we get a lot of different people, so it's nice.
We're always dealing with customers and members of the public, so no, pretty cool The commuter belt between Reading and London has some of the busiest trains in the country.
50 million passengers use the route every year.
Can I have one bacon and tomato toastie, one cheese and onion toastie, one cheese and bacon omelette with toast? We've only got white.
Yeah, that's fine.
Thank you, that's fine, thanks, babe.
Tonight, the 20:15 out of Paddington has 500 people on board.
Anything else? 7.
65, please.
So we've got a cheese and onion and cheese and tomato? Yes, please.
Oh, thanks, babe.
Big smiles.
Excuse me, I'm coming through.
Buffet staff members Lisa and Karen look after the catering for First and Standard class.
Omelette? Up and down, up and down.
But it's good, because we work together so often we're like left and right hand.
Oh, shit.
Wherever she goes, there's chaos.
Just look at it.
Constantly cleaning up after her.
Oh, mummy's off.
No-one else knows where anything else is.
I've tried, I've worked with her for months and I've tried to clean, but she won't let me, will you? She's got OCD.
My boyfriend Gary, he's got OCD.
So I come in to work and I've got to be like this in work and at home.
It's like oh, help me, help me.
Here you are, darling.
Mind, it's hot, you enjoy, don't burn yourself.
People don't realise that when we say it's freshly made, it's freshly made.
I think they just think it's bunged in a microwave, you know.
Scrambled eggs, a tiny, tiny little bit of milk, a tiny bit of butter.
Anything else? 3.
85, please.
I am not Delia Smith.
I am just a chef.
I'm the same age as Nigella.
I wish I had her money and her cooking ability.
There you are.
Not bad for train food, is it? It's taken me three minutes.
Lisa, baby.
Oh, thank you, hon.
Oh, my god, Lisa, there's hundreds getting on.
It is, standard, right through.
Bacon and tomato on brown, Lis.
Bacon and tomato on brown.
You've got bacon and cheese coming now.
thank you.
We might be running out of cheese.
Sausage baguette and cheese and tomato toastie on white, please.
Thank you.
I'm going to ring somebody in stores now to see if they can get me some more on board.
That's 4.
35, please.
Joe, it's chaos.
You haven't got any cheese there, have you? Is there a Tesco's or something? If you get it I'll give you the money and I'll claim it back.
Anything else? I've done lots of jobs.
I've been in night-clubs, bars, hotels.
This time of night, the similarities are very much the same.
I deal with drunk men, drunk women.
Hi, babe.
can of Guinness, please.
Fights, you name it, we have it on the 20:15.
Anything else? 3.
40, please, babe.
How much? Don't start.
much? Locking hell.
Don't swear.
Ooh.
Did he swear at you, babe? Didn't swear at me.
He wouldn't dare.
She's quite fit, verbally fit.
I've seen her reduce grown men to Thanks, babe, lovely.
You's absolutely fabulous.
Oh, what a darling.
We've got cheese.
Thank you.
Anything else? That's 5.
30, Hooray, finished.
We need another drink.
You could open the bar, No, no, no, this is a very sensible plan.
I'm pleased that we've been able to reach agreement with the Department for Transport.
I think our customers will see the difference.
Unchanged since it was last expanded 25 years ago, Reading Station lies at the heart of the Thames Valley's congestion problem.
To reduce disruption and make room for more trains, Network Rail has begun a massive 10 year upgrade.
ïÿ½900 million is being spent on new Over Christmas the railways will shut down to allow some of the most The schedule is on the next slide here, a lot of work at Reading - new 12 car platform, new train detection in the station platform.
Programme Director, Robbie Burns, has to make sure it's done on time.
These platforms are going to be worked on at Christmas, and then at Keybridge, over to the west of Reading, is going to be slid in to place over a period of about 94 hours.
So that's kind of high risk, and unless we do that in the time we've got, we're going to have a queue of trains coming from Southampton waiting to use that bit of railway.
And we have one slight glitch.
Rightly, the public is unimpressed, and the Department for Just maintaining the old railway in this part of the world is a full- Funded by both the government and train companies, Network Rail is responsible for keeping every inch of track up and running, and their engineers have to work around a A lot of times, passengers are sat on that train watching us thinking what are we doing? We can't obviously work while their trains But as Christmas shoppers and football fans make their way home on Saturday afternoon, the 24/7 railway has come to a halt one mile outside Reading Station.
Mate, this is, this is a Julian, this is a bloody circus, mate.
Someone needs to take control of it.
The wheels of a freight train have cut through vital track cables.
As a result, Route Control in Swindon are unable to monitor the position of trains Until the problem's solved, trains are running at just 5 miles per Engineers have been instructed to wait for rail investigators to arrive before repairing the cables.
After three hours, track technician Mark Kislingbury is told that the investigators won't be coming after all.
I'm on site, of course I'm on bloody site.
Thank you very much.
Cheers.
Bye.
Locking hell, are you on site? Two and a half hours ago I could have done it in perfect daylight.
Two and a half hours ago we could have cured this in 20 minutes.
It's all the arguing amongst themselves.
It's weird, isn't it? I just don't understand it.
Nige, can we get this lead off.
Well, we've had a train come off.
You've got two feeds that go to one rail, two feeds go to the other rail.
He's managed to cut the same cables going to the same rail.
Miraculous.
Just done untold damage.
The train has just gone past, sat there for three hours waiting to be safe enough to go across.
All we've got to do now is cut out this damaged section and replace it with As a further result of the signals problems, Network Rail will be fined up to ïÿ½200 per minute by the Come on to the front of the carriage.
Keep going, there's no more room up here.
And until Mark fixes the fault, most of the 2,000 passengers at Reading Station will be going nowhere.
Right, keep going up the train.
Busy.
Where are we going? It'll take me an hour to get home.
Why are you doing this? But it's not right.
I know, madam, it's not down to me.
It will take me an hour and a half to get home.
Yeah.
It's not my fault.
Yeah, I know, but why did they do that? But why did they do that? It's not fair on the passengers, it's not fair on the staff.
He's saying he's not taking anybody else.
It's going to Didcot and there's a bus.
You just have to let things ride over the top of your head, otherwise you'd just end up giving in.
It's just chaos, isn't it? Yeah, where do you need to get to? To Southampton.
Southampton.
Yeah, you need platform 2, down and around the corner.
Platform 2? Platform 2.
Change at Basingstoke.
Oh, no, I've just changed.
I'm handicapped.
the moment we haven't got trains running to Manchester, they've been cancelled.
I suggest for you to go to Oxford and then catch a train onwards from Oxford.
Oxford? Which train to Oxford, please? We're running buses to Oxford.
All right, Paul? Mate, you have to be quick, mate.
I'm on it now, mate.
Yeah, as No, I've got my head in here, mate.
One way or the other we have to fix it.
Difficult working conditions, no? Yeah.
What the lads are doing now is they're putting the cables back in.
They've done the assessment on the track and hopefully we'll be back up and running in about maybe an hour, to get everything moving again.
Right, that's done, so.
Right, can someone start stripping that other one down, please? Yeah, yeah.
I mean, the minutes are mounting.
This has been going on since 3 o'clock this afternoon, so every minute, it's hundreds of pounds really and this is going to cost a lot, a lot of Does everything stop in France for signalling problems? Does everything stop in Spain for signalling problems? No, it doesn't.
I'm not exactly over the moon.
And as for happy bunnies, you've got to find somebody else.
OK, if you'd like to fill in a comments form and send it off.
It'll be more than a He's done his first mend, is it still showing all-clear, the track Oscar Foxtrot is showing clear.
Hee-hee! Lock, I'm good! OK, lovely.
OK, thanks a lot.
I'll speak to you soon.
So we can now carry on and be in total confidence when we've finished we'll have a good working Five hours after the cables were By the time they were repaired, the signal problems led to 90 cancelled trains, and 4,5000 minutes of delay across the Thames Valley, costing Things are going to go wrong.
These things, these are moving parts, they've got tons and tons of trains running over them at 50/40 miles per hour on the mainlines, 120/90 miles per hour over a set of switches.
You're going to get wear, you're going to get tear.
They're going to fail.
There's 24 hour cover, 365 days a year.
We have quite a large section.
We have a lot of assets to look after and, really and truly, we're really It puts the lads under a lot of pressure, and when you put people under pressure and when you give them short time, something goes wrong or they make a mistake, you ain't got any time to correct it or anything like that.
That's what we're up against.
It's just all the time, a barrage of pressure, 6am, and in the Berkshire village of Twyford, station master Norman The trick with small stations is Six miles down the line from the urban sprawl of Reading, Twyford Station connects the affluent commuters of Henley-on-Thames to the main line in to London - a quiet village station that springs in to life for just two hours every Once I've got the train clean, I like to keep it clean.
It looks better that way.
Nothing worse than a dirty train.
Norman started work on the railways nearly 50 years ago.
Apart from selling tickets, he looks after every aspect of life at Twyford by himself.
Right, we're ready for anything now.
We've got a broken window in the Booking Hall.
Some little git smashed one of the windows.
I like to keep it nice for the passengers, it's all part of your duties, especially at a small station.
I mean, when you're on your own, you've got to do it.
When I come on the railway, it was all "sir" and "madam", and don't you dare call them anything else, or they wouldn't speak to you.
We didn't even have a public address system.
You had to walk up and down the platform shouting out the information to the passengers.
Shiplake and Henley this way.
Shiplake and Henley, this way.
No? All right then.
Ooh! It's too easy to sit in the office and do nothing.
I like to get out and put myself around.
Oh, and I could have retired, I could have gone in October.
I was 65 in October, but I decided to carry on and do 50 years.
If it had been a bad job, I would have gone.
But no, it's a very good Yes, sir? Next train for Henley-on- Thames.
Henley? I mean, which platform will it be on? 9:53 the train, platform 5.
Up the stairs and over to the right.
Platform 5.
Good morning, good morning.
Go for it.
Thank you.
See you later.
you.
Mind now, toodle-oo.
Passengers are tolerant if you treat them right.
There's nothing worse than standing on a platform waiting for a train and not knowing what the hell is going on.
Waiting for the 8:26, is that faster? you're going to Paddington, yes.
It gets in 19 minutes before this one.
Station announcement, next at platform 4, the 7:56 fast service for Maidenhead and London, This is a new system.
The old system, as soon as your took your finger off the button, they couldn't hear what you were talking about.
This system you have to remember to turn it off, they can hear what you're saying.
So you have to be a little bit careful.
I treated them last week to Precious Glory without knowing I was doing it, until I got outside on the platform.
So I've got to remember You don't win every day.
I mean there are problems you just cannot get around, and you have to face that and you have to deal with it when the time comes.
But most people know that at least I try.
I don't win.
Sometimes it's bloody disaster, but there you go.
That's how it is, you've got to take that I was just wondering, this crossing, how far is it off the end of the station? I wasn't 100% sure exactly where the crossing was, so miles away, a person's been hit and killed by a train on a foot crossing.
Ben Rudkin's been called to assist.
It happened a few minutes ago.
There's potential here that it's not a suicide, it might be an accident or something like that so we just kind of have to mentally prepare yourself for what you might see.
With all fatalities, a 90-minute target is set for There's the ambulance.
There's the train.
There's the people.
Thompson, Rail Incident Officer.
We've had a fatality.
The undertakers have now arrived on Ben's assisting Rail Incident Officer, Ray Thompson, who's in charge of getting the line reopened, and making sure crossing warning signs were all in place.
Ben, can you do the crossing check for me, please? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Also can you check for the whistleboard, and also take photos, Mr Law said.
some photos.
No worries.
If you could do that for me now, please, I'd appreciate it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no worries.
For the British Transport Police it's a potential crime scene and the area has to be thoroughly investigated before the train can move.
We're trying to establish what the facts are.
You get a description and a bit of a statement off the train driver, it gives us an ideal account of what's happened.
The line is then searched for any evidence relating to it.
We have to think of the, you know, the dignity of the deceased.
However, it costs a lot of money to keep the line closed.
Did any of those on the train see it or not? I don't know.
I don't know.
There was It's not really our job, is it? There was young students and there was a mother with kids in a pram.
Whether they seen it, I don't know.
All right, where's the driver? Is he this end, other end? The driver is What's the train like? Train's OK.
A wee bit in the front, and a wee bit of damage.
OK, well, I need to have a look at that and decide whether it goes in to Obviously, the driver's just watched someone die underneath his train, and he's seen that from an absolute - absolutely in the driving seat.
A lot of the time the driver won't be comfortable taking it forward, and absolutely, that's Is it open? Yes.
Yeah, yeah, it's There you go, the crossing's open again.
Back open for business.
thought this was a tragic accident.
It's Ben's fourth fatality in just five months of working on the tracks.
I mean, I've never done anything close to this sort of responsibility and it's absolutely a new experience.
I suppose things like this do stay with you and you do remember things, but nothing that troubles me or causes me to If you were constantly thinking about things like that, I don't think you'd be able to do the job.
Perhaps for me, it's my kind of youthful enthusiasm that gets me There are 300 deaths on the railway every year.
Around 80% are suicides.
Of the three that I've attended here, the first one was a 16 year old, was drink and drugs.
The second one I dealt with, I think the chap had mental problems, and So, when you ask someone well, what's the problem? Come on, sit down, tell me, you're never quite sure what they are going to tell you.
You can't walk away, you've got to deal with them, because if anything happens to them, you've got to live with the thought that maybe you just could have done something.
You just could have said Christmas Eve, and in a few hours the railways will be closed, and the upgrade work around Reading But first, tens of thousands of passengers are making their festive getaway from London's Paddington Station Control will have to manage 500 trains and relay information to 150,000 passengers and staff during the Christmas rush.
So we can allow passengers to board safely.
Can you move further down? There's still people trying to get on.
Have you got a reserved seat? No.
Good luck.
Base to Alpha 6SE.
Receiving.
turns out someone's been left behind at the First Class lounge for the 12:06.
Received.
Hello there.
Is that, you want us to hold on everything? I'll stop all movement out the station then on the down.
Everything - no movement, please, at the moment.
Can you stop all, nothing to depart until we get clarification of this incident? Every service has to stand at Paddington Station until further notice.
It's 11am, and at a critical junction en route in to Paddington, a driver has reported striking an object.
All lines have been stopped until they can establish what the train hit.
train here is at a stand just to the west of Hayes Station, and at the moment, that's a Heathrow Express at that red signal, and that's a Swansea to Paddington at that red signal.
So at the moment we're, until that actually moves, neither of these two trains can move.
So currently the fast lines to London are blocked at the moment.
This service is being delayed.
I do apologise for the delay to this service.
Any passengers travelling to Oxford Are you OK there, Wayne, you're all good? I'm loving it.
It makes getting up at 4:30 in the morning worth it.
My philosophy is always to stay cool as much as possible when you can.
I always tell any customers out here, if there's a bit of disruption, hang around, sit down, take it easy, have a cup of coffee, go to the bar and just rest until it's all gone away.
You don't have to have a bad Christmas.
At Lost Property, Hayley Sexton's struggling under a Christmas deluge.
Sometimes they can just put for "item lost" black bag, that's it.
It's like well, we've got 50 black bags, so it's a little bit difficult.
We had a guy not along ago he came in, he said "Oh, I don't know what the colour of the plastic bag was, I was drunk.
" I'm only doing my job, obviously, I have to ask them the questions.
We still need to make sure that the owners that are claiming the items are the owners.
You're looking for a white Nokia, is that correct? OK, well, we've definitely got nothing in the description that you're looking for.
Nothing's handed in? Not with the one that you're looking for, sir.
You need to be able to give me the right description so that I can check for you.
I'm just asking you nicely, right? Yeah, but you've said to me you're looking for a Nokia phone that's white.
Then you went to it's black, and then you said you'd lost a Samsung.
No, no, no, all I said to you you've got a phone in there, because it's still ringing now.
Yeah, but the thing is is you would need to confirm SIM card details.
Yeah, yeah, well, I can confirm all that because it was a contract phone.
OK.
So do you want to do that with me now and then we'll do it that way? No, no, no, because my phone is still ringing, do you understand? Yeah, OK.
And nobody's made a call on it.
I understand.
But if you can try and get the details for the phone then that would be great.
I've got the phone number, that's what I said.
I know my phone number, I can give everything what's on the phone because it's got all my numbers on it.
I'm not going to deal with you any further, and if you carry on I'm going to have to call the police.
Why are you being nasty? I'm not being nasty.
I'm trying to do my best to help you, but what I can't do is search for you if I don't have the correct details of what you're looking for.
What time do you close tonight? 5 o'clock.
All right.
All right.
OK, take care.
He basically came in and he said he's looking for a white Nokia mobile phone.
Then he changed it to OK, it's not white, it could be black.
Then he said well, has any Nokias been handed in? So you do get a little bit irritated, but you have to still stay calm.
I've got used to it by now, so I'm a pro.
Right, permission now is granted to for trains to depart, please.
So we can rid of the 12 o'clock's got the road on one, that can go, and then we'll board everything else as normal, please.
Base to all mobiles, base for all mobiles, we can run as normal now.
It's been confirmed that the train near Hayes Station didn't hit a person.
It's always a bit of a relief, because we all panic pretty much everywhere that it's going to go wrong, especially at this ultra-busy time.
But it looks as though, all good.
So, no- How are you today, Mr Roberts? all right, thank you, how about you? I'm all good.
It's good to see you again.
Yeah, and you.
Are you off to see your lady friend over Christmas? I am, we're spending Christmas and New Year together.
When not manning Paddington's Control Room, Graham Parker runs the waiting room for Passenger Assist, a dedicated mobility service for elderly and disabled train travellers.
What time are you travelling? Pardon? What time are you travelling? Sorry? What time are you travelling? 12:18.
12:18.
Yes.
Alpha 32, Alpha 6.
It's a tough place to work.
You can get sort of caught up in the panic of Christmas, but it's, I think it's a lot of fun, to be honest.
You get a lot of people come in, they're really happy, they're happy about meeting their family and their friends for Christmas.
You soak it up.
It's nice.
Is this Paddington to Newport? Yeah.
I'm going to take you there now.
Is it? Oh, thank you.
Well, I thank you very much.
Bye- bye.
Nice to have met you.
Thank you, thank you so much.
Your train will in about five minutes to.
Before I did this I was working in luxury jewellery retail, which was a lot of fun, but in the end I was sort of serving ultra expensive products to very, very rich people, and all the time I just wanted to help out, I wanted to be doing something a little bit more meaningful.
What's the name, sorry? Doutch.
Doutch.
Yes.
My dad was on the railway for over 30 years and he helped me acquire this job here.
I've never looked back since, to be Seats as near as possible to the door, I can't stand.
I can't cope with sudden loud noises, and no matter how many people are being carried on the train, if the people at Totnes know where I am, they will fight on to the train to After suffering a serious assault 15 years ago, Major Tim McCoy relies on the service.
On the 6th October, 1993, I was changing lines at Euston and I was hit from behind, robbed, pushed unconscious down the main escalator.
I was in a coma for five days.
It was three months before I could tell anybody what had happened to me, by which time was a little late to do anything I'm not being beaten by my injuries, I'm fighting them.
I think they're looked down upon because all they are are people in Railtrack uniforms driving the electric trucks.
They are thinking people, that take a great pride in their work.
They're empathetic, they're concerned, they're thoughtful and they're worthy of praise, not derision.
Have a good Christmas, Major McCoy.
Thank you very much.
Have you got empty seats in First Class? We'll pay for tickets.
We can't get on.
We'll get you on the next available.
Where are you travelling to, sir? Plymouth.
Plymouth.
Plymouth.
We did actually book seats, but nothing came out on the Trainline.
I can't believe you sell tickets for trains when they're already overcrowded.
It's ridiculous.
It's the busiest time Down the line at Reading Station, the last Christmas Eve revellers Yeah, could just do with some assistance on the footbridge.
23 year-old Antonio Chivatilo and his British Transport Police colleagues, it's a busy night.
What's going on up here there? Nothing.
Who's kicking off? No-one.
What can you arrest me for? Well, you've been told to leave the station.
Why do I have to leave the station? Because it's private property and at any given time It's not private property.
Yeah, of course it's private property.
public liability.
Public, for the public, man.
No, mate, unfortunately it's not.
Yeah, I've got a ticket, bruv.
That's my train ticket, so I'm a paying customer.
Where are they travelling to? Finished mate, they're getting off in the town.
Oh, are they? Just a very clever, got a very clever mouth.
You're such jokers.
You're such jokers, bruv.
Another fine man At Reading.
Merry Christmas, Police.
(HUMS "THE BILL" THEME).
I haven't heard that theme tune in a long time.
Funded jointly by train operating companies and Network Rail, British Transport Police have a presence in every major station across the UK, where they have the same powers as normal police.
station is quite central to the town and the bars.
We've got two nightclubs just literally outside the door.
People are not so bad going out, but when they're coming back to catch their last trains back home, sometimes they're a bit worse for wear, especially with the Christmas parties at the moment.
Arguments can become heated.
What's the problem then? There was about 20 of them stood in front of me, going do you want a fight? Come outside.
But I hadn't done nothing to them.
Ant, can you take this young man back to the office? OK, we need to get some details, One of my colleagues was on patrol, one of our PCSOs, he's seen an altercation between a large group of children, as they've seen him they've dispersed.
We're just really trying to find out what's happened.
We need to take some details, obviously.
The intoxication.
You're only 16, mate, all right.
What's going to happen is I'm going to confiscate this alcohol off you.
Let me have this one, then.
Listen, you're not having any of it.
Listen to me.
because the one in the black bag Just listen to me.
Jack.
Listen to what I'm going to say to you, Jack.
Can you speak to him? Jack, listen, to what I'm going to say.
You're not having any of it now, but you can have it all back.
Do not - do you want to come in for drunk and disorderly, or do want to leave the station of your own accord? What do you want to do? Leave the station now, and then you come back I at least take the beers? No, you can't take the beer that, you're having.
Now Jack, Jack.
Leave on your own or get arrested.
And are you known to the police at all? Yeah, I am, mate, yeah.
What are you known for, mate? ABH, GBH.
But this was a couple of year ago, you know? Oh, that's good, mate.
All right.
I've got a job now, I've got a place of my own.
What are you doing then? Roofing.
That's a good job, mate, that's a good career to be in.
I was a car salesman for three years, so not the sort of job people would think I would in fact come from.
But your talking skills and the people skills from that have helped me in this job.
I'm not a fighter, you know? I was a boxer for six years, mate, so Was yer? Yeah.
I retired years ago.
You've got the nose.
I'm not much older than them themselves.
And a lot of them sometimes might have had a bad history, but want to look forward and make right choices in life, and seeing someone at my age in the position that I am it shows them that there is hope out there to change your life around and improve and move on from there.
I'll take you to platform 2, all right? And I'll leave you be from there.
you very much.
Have you got a The last passengers and trains have left Reading Station and they won't But for thousands of contractors and Network Rail staff, festivities are put on hold.
They have just 72 hours to complete upgrade works, and if they miss their target it will mean big disruption to trains One of the most ambitious challenges is at nearby Cow Lane.
The old rail bridge has been completely demolished and preparations are underway to move a Site manager Steve Cornish is in charge of the move, and local residents have gathered to watch proceedings.
In terms of size, you know, we've got a 1,700 ton bridge to move in to place.
The system we use is averaging 350 ton, so we've got over 2,100 tonnes of machine and concrete to then drive and place accurately with a GPS system guide on it.
We need to get the bridge in and we need to get the railway open.
We have a job, and we At Reading Station, Jimmy McWhirter will oversee the construction of an entire new platform.
How you doing? Merry Christmas, fella.
The same to you, yeah.
Santa's landed.
He's three minutes late if he locking ain't.
Ho-ho-ho.
This operation over the next few days is massive.
We bring over, via crane, pieces of Lego, if you like, which will all fit together along the edge of this platform and over that vale to make a new platform.
Each of the 48 sections weighs in at four tonnes and has to be positioned with We've got the surveyor guy on the far corner with his little prism there.
You know, it's 20mm this way, If you really got it wrong, the In the forefoot of the rail is where, with the old trains, where people flush them in the station, it's all the waste.
It's like Hang on, Kev, that's looking at it, mate.
Mate, it's going on to the cable.
Take it out another foot, Kevin, I'll jump down and lift it over that block.
Don't pull it until it's over the block.
Jimmy, Jimmy, watch yourself mate, Jimmy.
The public think it's all our fault.
What the bloody hell is the railway doing? Well, what we're doing is making it better.
All they see is that, oh, I've got to get a bus or I've been told there's no trains now for 48 hours, how am I going to travel down to see my Auntie Flo? We would love to be able to turn round and say we need five days, but we can't get that, we get the 72 hours, which is planned to the minute.
Every 15 minutes we've got to be able to say that we're still At Cow Lane, the bridge move and laying of tracks has fallen nine hours behind the schedule, seriously threatening to disrupt the first trains after Christmas.
You've got enough leeway? Apparently so, yes.
Apparently so.
You hope there's enough leeway.
They do ask some strange questions, such as have you knocked the old bridge down yet, 24 hours, 48 hours Right, lead on then, MacDuff.
Programme Director Robbie Burns has arrived to check on the works.
Right, Kevin, we've done a little bit of PR and you and I will just go and talk to these people here, see if they're interested in what we're doing, yeah? Thanks for coming out on a cold day, it's really nice to see you.
It's not cold.
No, it isn't.
I put all my thermals on yesterday, it was too hot.
I'm the Director for the works out from London to Didcot, so this is one my key sites.
Where the buck stops? Pardon? Yeah, well, obviously it's high risk for us, we've got a train coming through.
Our first train through is the 28th at 10:52, that's the target for us.
There have been some issues, as you've probably heard.
What we were expecting there and the water table and the shale, wasn't quite what we've actually got, so it's taken us longer than we thought.
Steve, when you've got a minute, just give me a minute of your time, will you? How are you? You all right? How's it going in terms of work? It's put a lot of pressure on the lads now.
We're getting on top of it again but, you know, these boys have been working hard all day, from 7 o'clock this morning, having a break on the run and something to eat.
But the spirits are up and we're trying to crack on and get back on the programme.
Right, how close are we to the margins on that? I don't know, you'd better speak to the boys fronting the figures on that one, Robbie.
I couldn't honestly tell you on that one.
No, I'd rather hear it from you, Steve, because you know what you're doing.
I don't know, that's the problem.
I know what we're doing, but we're trying to do the best we can to get the bridge in place on time and on the button.
lot's at stake.
When this isn't handed back and the public are affected then, obviously, there's deep dissatisfaction, and our reputation is at stake.
There can be no excuses, there's no sympathy With the railways shut, Network Rail has provided 35 buses to keep passengers moving during the Maybe next time they'll do it in At Cow Lane, extra manpower has been brought in to complete the How long? Last time you asked, I think I said about half an hour.
Yeah.
And I'm probably going to say the same thing now.
Another half an hour.
About another half an hour.
Might be back tomorrow.
It might still be there.
Site manager Steve and his team have managed to claw back valuable time.
We've had a challenge all day to get where we are.
We're throwing as much plant and men as we can at it, but the lads have pulled it off, so fair play, all due to them like, you know? Now we're firing up the lifting system, and then getting the bridge in place, and everyone's A 1,600 ton bridge is being moved, using a 350-ton remote controlled It takes four hours to move the 600 high-density polystyrene blocks and 2,500 tons of crushed rock are used to rebuild the Embankment and secure the bridge in place.
It's been a hard one, but it's getting there now.
I mean you see what they've done, they've taken out an old bridge that was failing, and then when you look over there, there's a lovely brand new shiny bridge.
We're all looking forward to getting home with the wives and the children, opening up our presents, because everyone else has done theirs, so we've got something Cow Lane bridge is back open just in time for the first train after And at Reading Station, the new Cheers, driver.
Thanks very much.
Relief for one of the country's most congested commuter belts is Across the Thames Valley commuter belt, just over 90% of train services run on time, but as passengers return in the New Year there's one thing that the railways can't control - the great British London/Basingstoke line has been suspended.
This is due to a tree on the track.
Please listen carefully for further announcements regarding services for stations to Basingstoke this morning.
situation is, a train on its way up from Basingstoke to Reading has struck a tree, and that tree is wedged underneath the train.
there's one line working I can't understand why they can't send one train one way, then when that gets here send something the other.
At least it's something running.
Unbelievable.
Unbelievable.
Reading West, board the Bramley and Basingstoke, buses waiting outside.
The prices have gone up today just to rub salt in to the wound.
So no, we're not going happy.
Public There are two buses outside waiting for instructions.
They will be getting instructions from station managers, et cetera.
They're sitting there blocking up the traffic.
How long will all that