The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track

Series 1 - 1. King's Cross

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

A series looking behind the scenes of Britain’s creaking railway network starts at King’s Cross Station in London, where at the time of filming a new concourse was about to ease the pressure of almost one million passengers a week.

As cameras follow angry customers and stoic workers, you get a painful sense of the chasm between staff on the somewhat chaotic front line (cancelled trains are the biggest problem) and their jargon-spouting managers who insist they must “ensure customer expectations are exceeded” and want a “world-class team”. “A bronze medal, a silver medal isn’t good enough: you have to deliver gold, yeah?” insists the manager of East Coast Trains to a room full of bored faces.

It’s as if by talking enough about excellence, it will magically happen. In practice, they rely on the skills of station staff like gentle, dedicated Laxman, who has 35 years of experience, but is about to retire.

About this programme

1/6. Documentary going behind the scenes of the UK's rail network, revealing the inner workings of one of Britain's biggest institutions. At London's King's Cross station, platform staff search for late drivers to keep trains running on time, while management are on a recruitment drive for the new multimillion-pound western concourse. Train dispatcher Laxman has an emotional week as he prepares to leave and head off into retirement after 35 years working at the terminal.

Cast and crew

Crew

Director
Laura Fairrie
Series Producer
Jo Hughes
Categories
Education

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