Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Right Time

SUMMARY OF A Network Rail press release
"*Subject:**BBC TV focus on rail - an update*
Further to email below, the confirmed transmission dates for “The Railway Keeping Britain on Track” are as follows:
· King's Cross - BBC2 9pm Tues 12th Feb 2013
· Summer Madness (Leeds) - BBC2 9pm Tues 19th Feb 2013
· Standing Room Only (Reading) - BBC2 9pm Tues 26th Feb 2013
· West Coast Main Line - BBC2 9pm Tues 5th March 2013
· Railway on My Doorstep (Communities) - BBC2 9pm Tues 12th March 2013
· Scotland - BBC2 9pm Tues 19th March 2013

A six-part series of one-hour programmes titled: “The Railways: Keeping Britain on Track” on BBC2. Network Rail, TOCs, BTP and our suppliers and contractors have all been involved in making this observational documentary, which will shine a light on the people who help keep the railway running, and the challenges they face. This series has been almost two years in the making following an initial meeting with Network Rail’s media team. We had been approached by a number of documentary makers and decided that the time was right to take a calculated risk and let the BBC in behind our doors to give the general public, stakeholders and funders, an insiders’ view on the size and complexity of our railway and the challenges we face. This decision was endorsed by David Higgins and Tom Kelly and fitted with our open and transparent agenda.

Whilst initial introductions were made to a number of people across the business, the TV production team were free to contact and film with anyone that was happy to be involved, although there was regular contact between the media team and producers throughout. Dozens of people across the industry from signallers and station teams to route managing directors and programme managers contributed to more than 90 hours of filming in our stations, depots, on track, in offices, construction sites, route controls and signal boxes across the nation. The series is narrated by Kevin Whately of of Lewis and Inspector Morse fame.

Given the safety restrictions of filming on the railway, we arranged for the team to attend a Personal Track Safety course to acquire the necessary permits to film trackside and supplied them with the safety clothing such as hard hats and hi vis jackets etc. We made sure they had contacts with our national and route control
teams and access to key people in NetworkOperations who manage access to the railways. Whilst safety restrictions meant they could not have free reign on the railways or construction sites, every effort was made to give them access to film where they wanted to. Having watched the episodes in advance, I think viewers will get a real and valuable insight into the challenges that railway staff face on a daily basis. It’s clear that people working in this industry are dedicated, passionate about the railway and their jobs and about good customer service. The series may also make it clear to those watching, some of the underlying reasons for journey delays".

Robert Forsythe I wholeheartedly welcome this. Something did strike me. "the time was right to take a calculated risk and let the BBC in behind our doors" and it "fitted with our open and transparent agenda". There is never a right time to have an open and transparent agenda. You either have it or you don't!

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