THE BBC is launching a new six-part TV series, The Railways: Keeping Britain on Track, next week to show the challenges faced by workers keeping services on track for 3.25 million passengers each day.

Over the past 18 months, independent film maker Century Films has been given unprecedented access by Network Rail to record the work of contractors, train operators and British Transport Police for six one-hour observational documentaries about Britain’s railways and the people who keep it running.

The film crew were given track safety training, protective hi-vis gear and access to people across the industry from senior directors and project managers to train conductors, cleaners and signallers.

In all, they recorded around 90 hours of content following operations and track teams as they responded to flooding, broken fencing, trespass and cable theft.

They saw how station teams deal with football games and parades and the challenges during times of disruption with understandably frustrated passengers and how much time they have to do overnight engineering works and how they engage with people over a level crossing upgrade.

The series looks at the spectrum of the railway from the Welsh valleys and the Scottish Highlands to the urban hustle and bustle at King’s Cross and Leeds stations.

Transmission dates for the series are:

  • King's Cross - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, February 12
  • Summer Madness (Leeds) - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, February 19
  • Standing Room Only (Reading) - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, February 26
  • West Coast Main Line - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, March 5
  • Railway on My Doorstep (Communities) - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, March 12
  • Scotland - BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday, March 19