Cross (2014)

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The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track

Travel Documentary hosted by Kevin Whately, published by BBC in 2013 - English narration


Documentary series which goes behind the scenes of the rail network, revealing the inner workings of one of Britain's biggest and oldest institutions.

1)  King's Cross 
The 1970s concourse at London's King's Cross station is cramped and dark, doing nothing to help the spirits of passengers - something that Alexis Bailey, who works on the passenger information point, knows all too well from her experience of dealing with frustrated travellers. There is hope that a brand new concourse will lift everyone's spirits. East Coast manager Steve Newland wants the opening to coincide with customer service levels worthy of a five-star hotel, a vision that is frustrated when broken-down trains and fatalities on the line bring everything to a standstill. Laxman Keshwara has worked at the station for 35 years, during which time he has witnessed both an IRA bombing and the King's Cross fire. He is a much-loved staff member but retirement beckons and is last day at work is a very sad one for everyone at the station.

2)  Summer Madness 
For the staff in and around Leeds, summer is the most challenging season, when binge drinkers, cable thieves and trespassers all threaten to delay the trains. For driver Jason, driving the trains on the 'Real Ale Trail' is the most dreaded shift of the week as drunken party-goers fill his carriages and begin to stumble across the tracks to catch their trains. Elsewhere, when a teenager is killed after trespassing on the track, British Transport Police officer Craig has the difficult task of breaking the news to the boy's mother. To add to the challenges for staff, it is the wettest summer in a century and flooding brings the network to a standstill. With costly fines for every minute of delay, just one day of flooding costs the industry over a million pounds and ruins thousands of passengers' days.

3)  Standing Room Only 
Some of the most overcrowded trains in Britain are the rush hour trains between Reading and Paddington, and every morning, thousands of commuters resignedly squeeze on to packed trains at Reading. It's a packed schedule and when a train accidentally cuts through some vital signalling cables, the track staff are under intense pressure from their bosses to get the hundreds of irate passengers on the move again.

4)  West Coast Mainline 
The West Coast Mainline is the busiest route in Europe - linking London to Glasgow with Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in between. It faces a jam-packed schedule and ever growing passenger numbers.

5)  Railway on My Doorstep 
With 20,000 miles of track and seven million neighbours, the railway has to manage its local communities as best it can. Track teams deal with fly tipping and pick up dog mess thrown on the tracl, while the MerseyRail revenue inspectors must try to clamp down on ticket evasion while dealing with drunk passengers. In the Welsh Valleys, a line that was closed in the 1960s has been reopened, helping to regenerate the area. Slovakian Lukas finds that his new job as a train guard not only helps him to become a fully-fledged Welshman but also, he admits, a bit of a trainspotter. But not all communities welcome the railway - when Network Rail wants to close a manned level crossing box in a picturesque village and move it up the line for safety reasons, they have to contend with the locals intent on keeping 'their' level crossing-keeper.

6)  North of the Border 
Keeping trains running on Scotland's rail network is a huge challenge as it passes through some of the UK's busiest urban commuter routes and stretches on through frozen highland mountains. With winter looming large, the country's train, station and engineering staff are entering their toughest season. When overhead power lines are ripped down by a freight train, it spells chaos. Yet even without engineering problems, this is a network under constant strain, particularly at Edinburgh's Waverly station. Yet what really makes Scotland stand-out from the rest of the UK are its vast and remote wilderness railways, such as the West Highland Line. Here, rail engineer Iain MacKinnon spends his days inspecting miles of mountain track on foot, clearing dead stags from the line and tightening every loose bolt that he finds.


Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 1580 kbps
Video Resolution: 720 x 404
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.731 (16:9)
Frames Per Second: 25
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3)
Audio Bitrate: 128 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz)
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: English
RunTime Per Part: 59.Mins
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: average 681 MB
Encoded by Harry65
Source: PDTV


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