The second episode of Paddington Station 24/7 airs tonight, featuring our control room operator who dealt with a bizarre incident that saw the station come to standstill.
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 Britian’s busiest stations. More than one million people tuned in for opening episode last week.
Tonight at 9pm on Channel 5, 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 because of 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 track temperatures as high as 52 degrees centigrade meaning trains were forced to reduce their speed, the documentary follows Neil and his team as they work tirelessly to return the railway to normal.
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.
Neil Latham, route control manager, Network Rail
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.