The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track

Standing Room Only

Series 1 - Episode 3 Standing Room Only



A train so crammed with commuters that its doors can barely shut pulls out of Reading station. A passenger on the platform nods at it and notes drily, “That’s delivering shareholder value.” It’s the kind of gently thought-provoking human moment this series is good at delivering, raising questions about why the world’s first railway network is now quite so unreliable.

You wouldn’t want Angie’s job on the Reading despatch team: she has to see the trains off and stop late-comers squeezing on. They’re not always appreciative. Meanwhile, Ben is putting his economics degree to good use, removing a dead dog from the line.


The line between Reading and Paddington, one of the busiest commuter routes in Britain, comes to a halt when a train accidentally cuts through some vital signalling cables. Hoping to avoid further disruption to people's routines, maintenance workers take advantage of the Christmas break to undertake a series of improvements, including knocking down and then rebuilding a bridge. Kevin Whately narrates.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Kevin Whately
Director Rob McCabe
Series Producer Jo Hughes