Mondays, on BBC Two
Documentary series revealing the inner workings of Britain's railways, introducing the track-workers, train guards, drivers, police officers and management teams determined to keep the country moving.
From some of the UK's busiest urban commuter routes to frozen highland mountains, keeping trains running on Scotland's rail network is a huge challenge. 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 for the country's West Coast Main Line and days of disruption for passengers at Glasgow Central Station. Yet even without engineering problems, this is a network under constant strain. Scotland's trains have to cope with millions of foreign visitors every year - most them using Edinburgh Waverley Station. Everyday, dispatcher Ronnie Park has to guide thousands of confused tourists as they rush for their trains, whilst parisian cleaner Patrice and his team have just 10 minutes to make trains sparkle before their onward journeys. Even when services are running smoothly it is a challenging place to work - but when delays south of the border impact on Edinburgh's rush hour, the task for Ronnie and his colleagues becomes almost impossible. 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. This is where 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. It is a lonesome job but 'a beautiful place to work' and it keeps the Scottish railways running.
Documentary following the staff at London's King's Cross station, the gateway to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh for the 47 million people who travel through the station every year. The 1970s concourse at King's Cross is cramped and dark, doing nothing to help the spirits of the passengers - something that Alexis, who works on the passenger information point, knows all too well from her experience of dealing with frustrated travellers. Steve, who sells tickets in the travel centre, says he regularly relies on his conflict resolution training. 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 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 will not be there to see the new concourse filled with passengers, as retirement beckons. His last day at work is a very sad one for everyone at the station.