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The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track - an eye-opening look at the industry Britain loves to hate

from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9853842/The-Railway-Keeping-Britain-on-Track-an-eye-opening-look-at-the-industry-Britain-loves-to-hate.html

The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track - an eye-opening look at the industry Britain loves to hate
Olly Grant takes a look behind the scenes of the railway network to find out what it takes to keep Britain on track. 
 
By Olly Grant
7:00AM GMT 12 Feb 2013


Anyone wishing to take the temperature of our fractious relationship with the rail network could do worse than watch the opening of BBC Two’s documentary series, The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track. “Surely this is illegal, to be packed in like this,” fumes one angry lady on a commuter service in one clip. “Train delayed, owing to hitting a pheasant,” says an incredulous staff worker in another. “That’ll be £323.50, then,” says an inspector to an economy passenger. Welcome to the British rail experience.

Filmed across the entire network over 12 months, the six-part series takes a warts-and-all look at the people who run Britain’s unwieldy train system, from directors and drivers to platform staff and transport police. Thanks, in part, to some wonderfully eccentric contributors (a cleaning lady who loves the rats at King’s Cross; a signalman who goes barefoot in defiance of health and safety rules…), it turns out to be an unexpectedly fascinating ride.

As with last year’s London Underground-based hit The Tube, the aim is to reappraise a maligned industry, says executive producer Liesel Evans. “It’s an organisation that everyone loves to hate. So we thought, let’s look behind the scenes to see what really goes on. Are they as useless as we all think they are? Or are they actually doing the best they possibly can?”

Unsurprisingly, rail bosses took some time to embrace this vision. “It was a very lengthy process getting access and they were wary to begin with. They were afraid it might be all about conflict.”

But Evans was able to reassure them. What the crews really wanted to depict, she says, was “the everyday things that go wrong and how they deal with them”, and, where conflict did occur, to put a human face to the people bearing the brunt of it. “What we forget is that there’s a person behind that uniform. So we wanted to get to know some of those people.”
 

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