Published 21st November 2013
East Coast Trains (ECT) is the subject of a 10 part documentary being broadcast on Sky TV which took six months to film. The initial broadcast on November 12 attracted nearly 400,000 viewers who wanted to take a look behind the scenes. These viewing figures include the first show’s repeats later that week.
ECT offered the Sky cameras unprecedented access on its trains, managed stations and depots and one of their trains was decorated in a Sky HD blue livery. Several of the East Coast staff who star in the series are pictured on the sides of the train, underpinning the train operator’s focus on its people at the heart of its approach to delivering a consistently high quality customer service.
The broadcast can be followed on Twitter whose users can participate in a live online question and answer session with the ECT people who appear in the show.
East Coast Social Media Manager Nick Wood said: “We will continue to use social media to layer content around the TV series, before, during and after each episode. “It’s a fantastic series and the national TV exposure gives us a great opportunity to interact with a wider audience on a one-to-one level.”
The first episode showed ECT’s Newcastle’s Chef Mark Mclean, with his family He has worked on the route for 15 years and was filmed in episode one cooking breakfast at dawn for commuters heading to London. ECT serve 17,000 full English breakfasts on their trains annually.
The Chef was joined by On-Board Customer Services Assistant Karen Kerrison who shared some great banter as they served early-bird passengers with breakfast at 125 miles per hour.
Also starring in episode one was Darren ‘Daz’ Harrison who is an information controller at Newcastle station. He was seen dealing with stags and hens on a busy ‘payday’ Friday night out at Newcastle Central Station and he also had to deal with major disruption when lighting hit the line causing significant delays.
Daz said: "I really enjoyed taking part in the documentary. As well as being on national TV, people are getting the chance to see behind the scenes at East Coast, and the great work done by colleagues day in day out to make sure customers feel right at home while travelling with us."
At York, it was John Rhodes last day at work after working for 47 years on the railways. His emotional last day at work was aired and seen dispatching his last train from York before enjoying a party thrown by York colleagues.
York station Customer Support Assistant Liam Thornton, new to the rail industry, was seen carrying out security checks and averting a red alert when an unattended bag was found on the platform.
The second episode followed his training while viewers also saw recently qualified Guard Dan Webster taking charge of an East Coast train for the first time.
East Coast Head of Marketing Natalie Cowen said: “We gave the production company unprecedented and unrestricted access to our trains and headquarters, and the series focuses on people who work so hard day-in day-out to keep our customers safe, happy and comfortable during their journey.”
Viewers who missed the first episode of All Aboard: East Coast Trains can catch a repeat showing on Sky 2 on Saturday (23 November 2013) at 13.00.
Episode two will be repeated on Sky 1 HD on Saturday evening (23 November 2013) at 18.00, and on Sky 2 next Monday (25 November 2013) at 21.00.
Episode three of the series premieres on Sky 1 HD on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 at 20.00.
A leading travel magazine has said that the East Coast Cross-Border Route is one of the top ten scenic routes because of its thrilling views, unforgettable landscapes and serene spots. The tourism magazine ‘Britain’ is the official magazine of tourism agency Visit Britain and said that the stretch of line between Durham and Edinburgh is in its ‘Ten Of The Best Railway Journeys’.
Britain magazine editor Jessica Tooze says the East Coast route fully deserves its status among the ten finest train journeys in the country. She says: “Rail travel in the UK is experiencing something of a renaissance and continues to grow in popularity.
“The journey between Durham and Edinburgh on East Coast is filled with thrilling views and beautiful surroundings. It is undoubtedly one of Britain’s best railway journeys.”
Writer Martha Alexander begins her description with the famous view of Durham Cathedral – ‘one of the most admired Norman cathedrals in the world’ – from the viaduct high above the city.
The route enters Newcastle, ‘crossing the river to take in the city’s industrial glory’, before heading north into ‘rolling, unspoilt Northumbrian countryside’.
As Martha Alexander writes: “The track hugs the coast north of Newcastle, showcasing quite unforgettable landscapes ...passing from England to Scotland through Border country presents some of the loveliest rural scenery you will find.”
East Coast Head of Marketing Natalie Cowen said: “The journey by East Coast train from Durham to Edinburgh offers a unique and memorable travel experience. Our passengers can relax and feel at home while some of Britain’s most beautiful city, coast and countryside presents an ever-changing vista.
On Monday to Friday, East Coast operates 155 train services along the East Coast Main Line, linking London King's Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland
Written by Phil Marsh