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The Railway: First Great Western

  • Season 2
  • 4 episodes
  • Education

Summary

Documentary following the work of the train operating company's drivers, managers, ticket inspectors and technicians.

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Episode 1: Episode 1

Summary

As England experiences the worst weather for a century, storms flood the network. The main line has been washed away by the sea at Dawlish, and a tube strike makes matters worse at Ealing Broadway as the extra pressure on overground trains into London threatens to bring the morning commute to a standstill.
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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A First Great Western train controller is interrupted by a colleague as he talks to the documentary camera crew. He’s told the ominous news, “Penzance is being washed away as we speak.”

It’s fortuitous for the film people, but catastrophic for everyone else, that they were on hand during the worst crisis in the railway’s history, when record-breaking storms submerged and destroyed tracks across FGW’s south-west network.

The track at Dawlish in Devon is left hanging in the air after a huge hole is opened beneath it by battering tides. Meanwhile, Network Rail teams assess the damage and at stations First Great Western staff do their best to keep stranded passengers up to date.

But in the Swindon control room one train boss says, “We are trying to run a railway that is falling to pieces around us.”

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