Paddington Station 24/7 – a day of disruption for the control room

On a day when the emergency phone rang several times, with disruption across the Great Western Mainline, Ian Willott was in the control room hot seat – he 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 Britain’s busiest stations.

In episode six, which is broadcast tonight (Monday 16 October), route control manager Ian Willott 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. The line between Taunton and Exeter was 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.

Despite the numerous challenges, Ian helped get services back on track at Brunel’s iconic station ahead of the evening peak.

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.

Ian Willott

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