Episode 11 A1: Britain's Longest Road


Episode 11

Documentary series following the people who work on the A1. A serious smash on a busy A1 junction leaves the driver's life hanging in the balance.


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Transcript


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The A1 - Britain's longest road...

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..stretching almost 400 miles from the City of London to the heart

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of the Scottish capital.

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Connecting two nations and passing through 18 counties,

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it's an unrivalled highway used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles

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every day.

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We're going southbound down the A1, on the northbound carriageway.

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But not all journeys go to plan.

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I thought, "Am I going to lose my life?"

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The cars are coming close, it is a dangerous place to be.

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Lives can hang in the balance.

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The rear end of that vehicle is unrecognisable.

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This is actually the bodywork of the car.

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24 hours a day...

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It's not a safe place here.

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..there's a team of people who keep us safe from harm.

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The police...

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..response teams...

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We don't know whether they've got the road closed, or what's happened.

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..and traffic officers...

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Keep going.

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..keeping Britain's most iconic road...

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Get out!

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..on the move.

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Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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The A1, the monster that it is, it will start to return to normal.

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Today, a serious smash on a busy A1 junction...

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Paramedics are indicating a possible serious head injury,

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we are going to have to drag this vehicle clear of the barrier.

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..leaves the driver's life hanging in the balance.

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Ready to move when you want.

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Will treacherous weather hamper an emergency road repair?

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As you can see, the mist is coming in quite quickly.

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We could have low fog on the carriageway.

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And the perils of transporting a priceless piece of art.

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It's not working.

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There are over 45 million drivers licensed to travel on the UK's

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road network. And, despite improvements in car safety,

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there are still over 180,000 people injured in accidents every year.

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And the A1 sees more than its fair share, with over 2,000 annually.

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It's rush hour on a Friday afternoon north of Newcastle...

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..and A1 patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside

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is responding to the latest emergency.

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There was a two vehicle accident on the A1.

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It's actually junction 80, as we go off the A1 on the roundabout,

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and people have requested an ambulance.

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It means there could be serious injuries.

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We're starting to get to our collisions now, 4.10pm in the afternoon.

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We just hope that this one here is not going to prove too problematic

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when we get to it.

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The reports are that the collision we are attending is just up on this bridge here.

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Can we see any collisions? Can we see any collisions?

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There they are.

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Alan's one of the first on the scene.

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HE TALKS ON RADIO

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A car has ploughed into the central reservation

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and the driver is still in her seat.

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Hi there, you all right?

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An emergency care assistant who was passing the scene has pulled over

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-to help.

-I'm just in training at the minute.

-OK.

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Non-responsive, I think she's gone into shock. She has a pain down the right-hand side.

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-OK.

-I told the Ambulance Service...

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The ambulance can't get here soon enough.

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There is a crew just coming on the right there, might be us.

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But it's battling to make its way through rush-hour traffic.

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There's an emergency care assistant from the Ambulance Service,

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she's saying the lady is unresponsive.

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Certainly appears to be breathing

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but the crew is arriving on scene now.

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Hello, you all right? The driver of the Renault here,

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there's an emergency care assistant on the scene.

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She appears to have gone into shock, passed out.

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If the driver is seriously injured,

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she'll need urgent medical attention.

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Open your eyes, sweetheart.

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And the first signs aren't good.

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OK, you're in safe hands.

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I can get the fire brigade coming.

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And there's another serious problem.

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The driver's side door is wedged up against the central reservation.

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It means the ambulance crew are struggling to gain access to the car.

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Can you talk to us yet?

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Without medical attention,

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the driver's condition could deteriorate rapidly.

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We're thinking the lady's got a potentially serious head injury.

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We're now going to actually use our police vehicles to pull the vehicle

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around, that will give access to the paramedics to get a quick extraction

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out of the vehicle.

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Rescuing the driver from her car quickly and safely is a job that is

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going to push Alan and the rest of the team to the limit.

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Like every part of Britain's 250,000 mile-long road network,

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the A1 takes a lot of maintenance...

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..and it contributes to the 2.2 million potholes which are filled in

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on roads across England and Wales each year.

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That's one every 15 seconds.

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On Britain's longest road,

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they're a constant headache for maintenance crews.

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With traffic passing close by, it can be a difficult job.

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And for road users, it can lead to delays while repairs are made.

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So when some large potholes need filling on a busy stretch of the A1

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near Stevenage, it's time to call in reinforcements.

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Received...

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Traffic patrol officers Steve Francis and Rob Taylor get the call

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to set up a rolling road block to hold back traffic while workers fill

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in the potholes.

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They've got one pothole on the slip road at junction seven,

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and they've got another secondary one on the main carriageway,

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so what we're going to try and do is to do both in one rolling road block.

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They both know how dangerous holes in the carriageway can be.

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The main concern is the motorbikes, obviously,

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cos it only takes one wheel for the rider to come off

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and injure themselves, and it can even cause a fatal accident.

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So it is quite a dangerous concern.

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In these conditions, the cold gets under the damaged tarmac,

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so you might have a little crack or a one-inch hole initially,

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and within a couple of hours you could have a 12-inch by four-inch hole

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and they are the ones that cause the most damage.

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With motorists travelling at up to 70mph,

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it's vital these latest potholes are filled in to prevent any accidents.

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But to do that, Rob and Steve will have to close the road.

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We've just come through the Hatfield Tunnel,

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I've asked signs and signals to be set, ready for the rolling roadblocks.

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But the traffic officers will have to deal with a big problem.

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As you can see ahead, the mist is coming in quite quickly.

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If it starts rolling in any more than it is at the moment,

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we could have low fog on the carriageway.

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I am doing a small weave,

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for the cars behind to realise something is happening.

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And if you'll see that they're actually slowing down.

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So we are going to bring the traffic to a stop here.

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Steve explains the situation to stationary motorists, held up behind.

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We have two potholes ahead, one on the slip road,

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one on the main carriageway, pretty bad ones.

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We're repairing them at the moment.

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With traffic building quickly, there's pressure to get the job done,

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but now it's bigger than they first thought.

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They found a second pothole on there,

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so they've just done two instead of one.

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And they've got a third one to do now.

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With two potholes quickly filled,

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Rob and Steve slowly pull the traffic forward

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to the next repair site.

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But a motorcyclist has broken away too soon.

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The guy on the motorbike, I told him,

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go up the slip when I take him up the slip, but as you can see...

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And the funny thing about that is,

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you often find it is motorbikes that do that.

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They're the ones we're protecting because of the holes,

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you can see the repair.

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If he went up there at speed, he would have come off the bike.

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Drivers in the backed-up traffic are getting impatient,

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but just nine minutes after the traffic was halted...

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People are in a hurry but I think for the sake of a couple of minutes,

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it'll save the tyres and save the cars,

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save the motorbikes.

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..the third and final pothole is filled.

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-OK, you happy?

-That's it, lads.

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Time to get the traffic moving again.

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Got to build the speed up.

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I tend to liken it to a motor race,

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where you might get a collision on a motor race,

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and then the safety car will come out.

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The way to see it would be a bit like that.

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I'd say three to four minutes per pothole, which is very good.

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I would've thought that's quite a minor inconvenience considering

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what could have occurred if we had not filled it.

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Used by hundreds of thousands of motorists every day

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and on the doorstep of millions, the A1 connects us all

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to some of the UK's most iconic landmarks and attractions.

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From London to Scotland,

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national treasures up and down its route rely on the road

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to bring tourists to their doors.

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One such place is the beautiful Bowes Museum in County Durham.

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This truly spectacular building houses a nationally-renowned

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art collection.

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But amongst its hundreds of pieces,

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there is one major jewel in its crown.

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This is the Silver Swan.

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I think you could safely say it is one of the major draws of the museum.

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Because this swan is like no other -

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a mechanical masterpiece nearly 250 years old.

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The technology that was used to make it is absolutely phenomenal.

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The other thing that's really special to us is,

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it's never left the Bowes since it came in the late 19th century.

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Until now. Because, for the very first time,

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the Swan is leaving the Bowes Museum

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and heading off on a 250-mile journey down the A1.

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This extraordinary piece is being loaned to the Science Museum in

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London for its Robots exhibition.

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So that was one of its final performances before its move.

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So now we just have to begin the long process of dismantling it

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and packing it up ready to go to London.

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But with 700 moving parts, it's an extremely delicate task...

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..which will take conservators Matthew Reed and Karen Barker

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four days to complete.

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So the Silver Swan swims on a lake of 140 rotating hollow glass rods.

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You can't have one part of it that is malfunctioning,

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otherwise the whole thing stops.

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It is a very early robot.

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It acts like a swan and behaves like a swan.

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So the neck comes away from the head.

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There are 113 interlocking neck rings here

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and these are hardened and chased silver,

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so they are incredibly fragile.

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They have sore of a mechanical but also organic nature,

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and we don't want to get them mixed up either.

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And Karen is concerned about the impact the journey down the A1

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might have on this irreplaceable swan.

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Although the van is cushioned and it will be a very smooth ride,

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compared to most trucks that go up and down the A1,

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there is still going to be some vibration.

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Hopefully it will work out right at the other end.

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It's incredibly important that everything is packaged properly

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in terms of transportation.

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That goes in there.

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After the painstaking packing process is complete,

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it's time for the specialist moving team to load up the truck.

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-Any side?

-Any side will be fine.

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I'm feeling all right at the moment, hopefully nothing will go wrong.

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In theory, it should all go perfectly well.

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The bit that sticks out on the door,

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we're not sure whether it's been taken into account for the case to go out.

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That there.

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If ever an exhibit needed its protective case,

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it's this fragile old bird.

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Coming up to this carpet now.

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Ready?

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Haven't heard any cracks, nothing sounds like it's broken.

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The delicate glass case is intact and loaded.

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So it's time to head off down the A1.

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With such valuable cargo on board the truck, Karen's on edge.

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There should be no movement of the box,

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but obviously if we have to do an emergency stop,

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that could have an impact on the boxes in the back.

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That's my biggest fear.

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But it's only when they actually get to the museum that the pressure

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will really start to build,

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and the team will discover whether the Silver Swan actually works.

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More than 50 miles north, near Newcastle,

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A1 patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside has been at the scene

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of a serious collision between two cars on a busy roundabout.

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-Hi, there, you all right?

-It's believed one of the drivers may be

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in a critical condition.

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Got a lady who's unresponsive in the driver's seat of this vehicle.

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Certainly appears to be breathing, but the crew is arriving on scene now.

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Her car has been wedged up against the central reservation,

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making it impossible for the ambulance crew to get to her.

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Open your eyes, sweetheart.

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The driver needs urgent treatment.

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I'll start jacking the car up.

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Alan must now move the car, so the team can get inside the vehicle.

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We're not hanging around,

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we're now using our police vehicles to pull the vehicle around while

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trying to support the lady as well.

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That will give access to the paramedics to get a quick extraction out of the vehicle.

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So time is a little bit of the essence now.

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Thankfully, Highways England traffic officers are also arriving at the

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scene to help manage the rush-hour congestion.

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Hello, you all right? Got a lady with a potentially serious head injury.

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Could you just take this lane out for two minutes?

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-Mint, thanks.

-Alan has to work quickly.

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The driver has blown a pupil,

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a sign of a potentially serious head injury.

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Paramedics at Seaton Burn are indicating a possible serious head injury.

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We're going to have to drag this vehicle clear of the Armco barrier

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to get this lady out of the vehicle.

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Could you just make 27-92 aware?

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Ready to move when you want.

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Alan needs to be extremely careful.

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They're going to have to support her neck when we do this.

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Any sudden movement could make the driver's injuries even worse.

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Even though the traffic has only been stopped a few seconds,

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it's already caused a serious build-up of vehicles.

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Thanks, Paul.

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Finally though, the medics can get to the injured driver.

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But they now believe her injuries are potentially so serious...

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Just relax.

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..they need to bring her out of the back of the car on a spinal board.

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-Keep going.

-Just relax, that's fabulous.

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-Keep going.

-You're doing marvellous.

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Can you talk to us yet?

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A spinal board is used to reduce the movement of an injured person.

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It's essential in preventing critical injuries from getting worse.

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Which way do you want to do this?

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Try and get under her arm and then it will be a case of one, two three...

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-Pull.

-Little bits.

-Yeah.

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And get her right on the board. If you can get her feet first, I can do the first push-up.

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Yeah.

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-Hold her.

-Ready, steady, slide.

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-All right?

-Everybody OK?

-Yeah.

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Ready, steady, slide.

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A tiny bit more.

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Ready, steady, slide.

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This is an extremely delicate job.

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One wrong move could have very serious consequences.

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OK, you're in safe hands.

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But the medics will only know the full extent of the driver's injuries

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once she's been rescued from the vehicle.

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More than 300 miles south of Newcastle,

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a priceless antique is nearing the end of its A1 journey.

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The Bowes Museum's Silver Swan is heading across the capital to its

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temporary new home.

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Are we nearly there yet, Rick?

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I'd like to say yes, but unfortunately London traffic

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-has beat us again.

-Yes.

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The swan is due to take centre stage at the Science Museum's

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Robots exhibition.

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Hopefully, we've done our job well and everything will be in perfect condition.

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If we put her back together

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and she doesn't work,

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then we've put her back together wrong.

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This is the entrance to the Science Museum.

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So I think we're here, we've arrived safe and sound.

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It's the next morning and Kate Perks at the Science Museum

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is excited that the star of her 21st-century show

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is an 18th-century masterpiece.

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The exhibition as a whole is all about robots.

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Showing you from 500 years, a sort of cycle

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of us trying to recreate ourselves.

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We are so excited that we've got the swan to come down to London

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and be in this exhibition. We just cannot believe our good fortune.

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In the exhibition preparation area...

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..conservators Matthew, Karen and Kate carefully unpack the swan.

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We're going to put her on a case, put her silver on,

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and then we're going to give her a run and make sure that

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-she's working properly.

-Are you all right?

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So this is the first of 113 neck rings,

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and it is unbelievably fragile.

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It's just 0.4mm thick silver.

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So we'll put that one on.

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Rebuilding the swan is a painstaking process.

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It will take as long as it takes.

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If you start rushing it, then that's when damage happens.

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I'm not quite sure how many are there - maybe nine done.

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102 to go.

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It's not quite hitting the hole.

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With the head finally in place...

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-Voila.

-Well done, Matthew.

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..the team hold their breath...

0:20:240:20:25

..as the swan is wound up for the first time.

0:20:280:20:30

The observant amongst you will see that it's not working.

0:20:350:20:38

There's so many different things that can go wrong on so many different parts.

0:20:400:20:43

She's old and a bit cranky.

0:20:430:20:45

Matthew thinks the problem might lie with the 140 moving rods that mimic

0:20:460:20:52

the effect of the stream.

0:20:520:20:54

Every single one of these rods has got to be loose...

0:20:540:20:56

..because they're all interconnected.

0:20:580:21:00

If one stops, they all stop.

0:21:000:21:02

What we could do, ideally,

0:21:020:21:04

is I'd take it all apart and work through right from the beginning,

0:21:040:21:08

but as we don't have another three years to do that,

0:21:080:21:13

it's probably best to at least try and figure out which one it is.

0:21:130:21:16

The Science Museum wants the swan in place in the exhibition by the end

0:21:160:21:20

-of the day.

-The swan needs to be in position tonight.

0:21:200:21:23

We've got two working days before it opens.

0:21:230:21:27

We've still got to get the whole thing in the gallery.

0:21:270:21:29

We haven't dealt with the swan with the silver on yet.

0:21:290:21:31

But eagle-eyed Matthew may have found the root of the problem.

0:21:320:21:36

I think it might be this one, actually.

0:21:360:21:38

On this little gear thing here, three of the teeth are bent over.

0:21:380:21:42

After removing the faulty rod,

0:21:430:21:46

the stream is finally running smoothly again.

0:21:460:21:48

-Magic.

-We're at five o'clock in the evening.

0:21:480:21:53

We need to get finished.

0:21:530:21:54

Time to wind the swan up for a second time.

0:21:550:21:58

Oh.

0:21:590:22:01

Oh, my goodness.

0:22:010:22:02

It did move,

0:22:040:22:05

but just briefly.

0:22:050:22:07

But now there's an even bigger problem.

0:22:070:22:10

-It's not happy.

-Yeah, it's just going to jam now, isn't it?

0:22:100:22:13

It's not working.

0:22:170:22:18

Problems of a much more serious nature are mounting for the

0:22:230:22:27

emergency services on a busy A1 junction near Newcastle.

0:22:270:22:30

Police patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside

0:22:320:22:34

is helping paramedics to remove an injured motorist from her crashed car.

0:22:340:22:39

-OK.

-Ready, steady...

0:22:390:22:40

slide.

0:22:400:22:41

The driver may have a serious head injury,

0:22:430:22:45

and any sudden movement could have devastating consequences.

0:22:450:22:50

A little bit more. Ready, steady, slide.

0:22:500:22:52

Inch by inch...

0:22:550:22:56

-Keep going.

-One, two, three.

0:22:560:22:59

..the injured driver is rescued from the wreckage.

0:23:000:23:03

Shall I sit on the back of the car?

0:23:030:23:06

OK. Thank you for your help with this.

0:23:070:23:09

She's rushed to the ambulance,

0:23:090:23:11

where she can receive urgent medical attention.

0:23:110:23:14

Traffic's stopped.

0:23:140:23:16

For Alan and the police team,

0:23:230:23:25

it's time to investigate the cause of the collision.

0:23:250:23:28

We think vehicle one has maybe come out from here with a view to going

0:23:280:23:32

straight over, so it's been a typical lane to roundabout type collision.

0:23:320:23:36

-Yeah.

-However, this vehicle's come to rest post-impact

0:23:360:23:40

up against the Armco barrier with the driver's door.

0:23:400:23:43

With the scene here, what we'll do is we'll mark and photograph the

0:23:440:23:46

post-impact position of the vehicles, get them recovered,

0:23:460:23:50

and then conduct our investigation from there.

0:23:500:23:53

Alan's seen something which could provide crucial evidence.

0:23:530:23:56

I've just pointed out, actually, up there we've got a camera.

0:23:560:23:58

It's one of the Highways England cameras, which cover the A19.

0:23:580:24:02

So that could be really, really key in our, erm, in our investigation.

0:24:020:24:07

The CCTV camera captured how the car careered into the barrier,

0:24:070:24:11

just moments after the crash.

0:24:110:24:13

As the investigation continues...

0:24:150:24:17

OK, we've got an exit into lane two of the A19.

0:24:170:24:20

..there is still only one lane open on the roundabout.

0:24:200:24:24

It means the rush-hour traffic is backing up in all directions.

0:24:240:24:29

This is a junction of the A1 and the A19, two major routes,

0:24:290:24:32

and the effect that it has on the A1, it will slow vehicles coming,

0:24:320:24:36

like, exiting the A1.

0:24:360:24:37

It'll form tailbacks along those exit slip roads.

0:24:370:24:41

Clearly there's a lot of emergency services here.

0:24:410:24:43

Unfortunately we can't really help that. It's the nature of what we're dealing with.

0:24:430:24:47

And as the darkness falls...

0:24:470:24:49

Paramedics have been treating the lady in the ambulance for some time now,

0:24:490:24:53

which tends to suggest they have a significant amount of work to do

0:24:530:24:57

to stabilise her.

0:24:570:24:59

As the ambulance takes the injured driver to hospital,

0:24:590:25:02

there is no doubt the trainee care assistant has played a crucial part

0:25:020:25:06

in rescuing her safely.

0:25:060:25:08

Well, I just was driving past, and I seen loads of people out of the car, so I thought they were all right

0:25:080:25:13

until then I seen the lady in the driver's seat of this car.

0:25:130:25:16

She looked unconscious, so I thought I'd pull over and get out and help.

0:25:160:25:19

I was literally on my way to my parents' log cabin for the weekend,

0:25:190:25:22

with a hot tub. So that's where I'm heading now.

0:25:220:25:25

-And a bottle of fizz?

-Yeah.

0:25:250:25:27

Definitely a bottle of fizz.

0:25:270:25:29

Nearly two hours after the initial incident,

0:25:320:25:35

the recovery vehicle can finally take away the wreckage...

0:25:350:25:38

..and Alan can start fully reopening the road to traffic.

0:25:430:25:46

All right.

0:25:520:25:53

I'm a little bit concerned about this lady, if the truth be known.

0:25:540:25:58

It's being treated as life-threatening at this moment in time,

0:25:580:26:01

hence the roads being closed for a couple of hours to facilitating

0:26:010:26:05

her care, which takes precedence over everything.

0:26:050:26:07

I know it's horrible, because people are hurting and people are in pain,

0:26:090:26:12

but we can't get emotionally attached to what those people are

0:26:120:26:15

going through, so, yeah,

0:26:150:26:17

it's a bit of a sobering moment, knowing that somebody's potentially

0:26:170:26:21

very, very seriously injured indeed.

0:26:210:26:23

But it's not only accidents when rescue teams come to the help

0:26:260:26:30

of stranded motorists on the A1.

0:26:300:26:32

Every year, teams from Highways England and Transport Scotland

0:26:320:26:37

deal with more than 4,500 breakdowns.

0:26:370:26:40

Just six miles south down the A1 near Newcastle,

0:26:410:26:45

traffic officers Peter Senior and Scott Wilson are responding

0:26:450:26:48

to an emergency call.

0:26:480:26:50

Apparently, up at junction 77,

0:26:500:26:53

they've got a vehicle broken down in a running lane,

0:26:530:26:55

and they want us to go and offer some form of protection

0:26:550:26:59

while they recover it.

0:26:590:27:00

It means their planned meal break will just have to wait.

0:27:010:27:05

We just went to order a nice takeaway, and then, right on cue,

0:27:050:27:09

-a job comes in, but...

-Every time, isn't it?

0:27:090:27:11

It does. It happens every time. It's unbelievable.

0:27:110:27:14

You can have a shift where you do nothing...

0:27:140:27:16

As soon as you go and order hot food,

0:27:160:27:18

you can guarantee a job will come in.

0:27:180:27:20

But if ever you've got a shift

0:27:200:27:22

and you get a bit bored if there's nothing to do,

0:27:220:27:24

that's all you've got to do to get some work going - order some food.

0:27:240:27:26

When Peter and Scott arrive at the scene,

0:27:320:27:35

it's clear the van is parked in a dangerous position...

0:27:350:27:38

Hotel Alpha Charlie Lima.

0:27:390:27:41

..just metres from the main carriageway.

0:27:410:27:43

It's a van with a small trailer on the back.

0:27:430:27:47

We're just approaching that now, so we'll advise shortly, over.

0:27:470:27:50

Right.

0:27:510:27:52

What's the matter with it?

0:27:540:27:56

This section of the A1 is so busy that Highways England offer free

0:28:050:28:09

recovery, so vehicles can be moved off the carriageway as quickly as possible.

0:28:090:28:14

I was just driving along the A1, and the gearbox went.

0:28:140:28:18

Just lost all drive, so I just pulled in to the side of the road.

0:28:180:28:22

But a breakdown truck needs to get here quickly.

0:28:240:28:27

See if we do it under the free recovery,

0:28:270:28:29

if they've got a wagon just about here, we'll let them move it.

0:28:290:28:33

Peter has an idea to speed things up.

0:28:330:28:36

I'm just wondering - if we can get a hitch on the front,

0:28:360:28:39

if you stay behind to protect us,

0:28:390:28:41

we could drag it off at the next junction.

0:28:410:28:43

Has the gearbox locked up, or is it freewheeling?

0:28:440:28:47

-No, it's free, it's...

-Well, rather than getting recovered,

0:28:470:28:49

because when recovery comes, we'd basically have to close

0:28:490:28:52

the whole lane off to get you recovered...

0:28:520:28:54

-Right.

-..maybe we could just drag you off at the next junction,

0:28:540:28:57

and position you somewhere there, which would be better for recovery.

0:28:570:29:00

-Yeah, I'll follow behind so there's no worry for when you're going into traffic.

-Yeah, if you sit behind us.

0:29:000:29:04

-Yeah, yeah. Do you want to do that?

-Yeah, that's fine.

-Excellent.

0:29:040:29:07

With other vehicles passing the broken-down truck at 70mph,

0:29:070:29:11

a collision could be fatal.

0:29:110:29:14

We'll get off at the Washington Services quicker than getting on the radio, so...

0:29:140:29:17

-So where are we going to go to, mate, cos I don't know where...

-Off at the next junction.

0:29:170:29:22

The recovery's due in half an hour,

0:29:220:29:24

so we're just going to tow it off network.

0:29:240:29:27

The police are going to sit behind us and escort us, some protection,

0:29:270:29:30

and we'll just tow it off ourselves.

0:29:300:29:32

Its gearbox has failed.

0:29:320:29:35

It is still freewheeling, though,

0:29:350:29:36

which enables us to be able to clear it from the carriageway,

0:29:360:29:40

and then they can just await their own recovery.

0:29:400:29:42

Right, we'll get it hitched up.

0:29:450:29:48

Every year, nearly 250 people are killed or injured on the hard shoulder,

0:29:480:29:52

so it's important Peter and Scott move the vehicle as soon as possible.

0:29:520:29:57

Right, take the bite up, Scott.

0:29:570:29:59

Starting to take it off the floor. Go on.

0:30:010:30:04

Whoa.

0:30:060:30:08

Are you all right?

0:30:080:30:09

With a police escort behind...

0:30:110:30:13

-Yeah.

-..Scott carefully pulls the van to an emergency recovery area

0:30:130:30:18

away from the main carriageway.

0:30:180:30:20

Keep it as far back as you can, for his recovery to get in.

0:30:210:30:26

What is it? A bit soft?

0:30:260:30:27

-RADIO:

-Charlie 81 following.

0:30:280:30:31

4-1, we've carriageway-cleared this vehicle into an ERA.

0:30:350:30:38

The area you can see, where the little bollards are pulled in,

0:30:410:30:44

it's known as an emergency recovery area,

0:30:440:30:47

where the ground's reinforced on the verge,

0:30:470:30:50

so that's going to be safe to leave here,

0:30:500:30:52

and they can get their onward recovery from here.

0:30:520:30:54

-Good job, that.

-Yeah.

0:30:580:31:00

Less than 20 minutes after arriving at the scene,

0:31:000:31:03

Peter and Scott are back on the road.

0:31:030:31:05

Anything which is in a running lane, there is always that element of risk.

0:31:050:31:10

So by moving that vehicle as we did into that emergency lay-by,

0:31:100:31:13

you know, you've eliminated that risk.

0:31:130:31:16

And the lads have built up quite an appetite.

0:31:160:31:19

If someone needs us, then we'll go...

0:31:190:31:20

I know, but their needs can't be as great as the needs of us getting fed.

0:31:200:31:25

Have you seen the time, man? It's after seven o'clock.

0:31:250:31:28

We did ask them to keep it hot for us, so hopefully they have.

0:31:280:31:31

In a recent survey,

0:31:360:31:37

nearly half of all drivers admitted to flouting traffic laws...

0:31:370:31:41

..either through inattention or simply because they think they can

0:31:430:31:46

get away with it. So it's not surprising that,

0:31:460:31:49

for the 15 forces that police the A1,

0:31:490:31:52

there is no such thing as a quiet shift.

0:31:520:31:55

Near Morpeth in Northumberland, PC Darren Lant is on patrol,

0:31:560:32:01

when a passing Citroen Saxo catches his attention.

0:32:010:32:04

Vehicle check, please. A1 southbound at Hebron.

0:32:050:32:09

-RADIO:

-It's come back as a red Citroen Saxo. No reports present.

0:32:110:32:17

While Darren is running some checks, the car disappears from view.

0:32:170:32:21

Interesting. It looks like it's took off.

0:32:210:32:23

Yeah, it's gone.

0:32:230:32:25

Keen to catch up, Darren puts on his lights to move through the traffic.

0:32:250:32:30

But he's going to have to put his foot down.

0:32:300:32:33

Despite a 40mph speed limit because of roadworks,

0:32:330:32:36

this driver isn't slowing down.

0:32:360:32:39

At 70mph on a 40...

0:32:390:32:41

He's doing nearly 70mph in a 40mph limit.

0:32:420:32:45

That's through the roadworks, where you've got guys trying to do repairs

0:32:450:32:49

and maintenance on the road.

0:32:490:32:50

Clearly down to 40, and he's just blew them.

0:32:520:32:55

He's gone straight through them, and he's stayed at 70mph through the 40.

0:32:550:32:59

It's really dangerous, and it's reduced speed for a safety reason.

0:33:000:33:03

You know, still, working on the side of the road at 40mph is still frightening.

0:33:040:33:08

But when you've got vehicles that are blatantly ignoring the speed limit,

0:33:080:33:11

they're just taking off down at 70mph, it's horrendous.

0:33:110:33:14

And the driver seems oblivious to Darren behind.

0:33:140:33:18

How has he not seen the patrol car behind him?

0:33:180:33:20

Every time he moves out into a lane,

0:33:200:33:22

you would think he would check his mirror.

0:33:220:33:25

But he's clearly not, cos he would see us.

0:33:250:33:28

This guy was - he was going to move out,

0:33:280:33:30

but he's looked in his mirror and decided not to.

0:33:300:33:33

Time for Darren to pull the motorist over.

0:33:330:33:36

We'll get them stopped and see what they've got to say.

0:33:370:33:40

-Hello, how are you doing?

-All right.

-Do you have your driving documents,

0:33:420:33:45

licence, insurance, that sort of stuff?

0:33:450:33:47

-Not on us, mate.

-No bother.

0:33:470:33:48

Grab your keys. Come and have a chat with me and I'll explain to you why I've stopped you.

0:33:480:33:51

Take a seat in the back, on that side.

0:33:530:33:56

-The reason why I've stopped you is cos you're speeding.

-I'm speeding?

-Aye, yeah.

0:33:590:34:02

I thought it was a 70 on a dual carriageway.

0:34:020:34:04

It is, yeah, ordinarily.

0:34:040:34:06

But what about all them cones and all them speed-restriction signs

0:34:060:34:08

that you saw when you passed the speed camera,

0:34:080:34:10

when it takes you down from the national speed limit of 60

0:34:100:34:14

on the single carriageway to 50 to 40?

0:34:140:34:17

All right.

0:34:170:34:18

And you just continued all the way through the 40s at about 70mph.

0:34:180:34:22

Did I? Right.

0:34:220:34:23

-I've followed you all the way through, even when you were changing lanes.

-Aye.

-Which tends to suggest

0:34:230:34:27

-you weren't using your mirror, either, when you were changing lanes.

-I did, I did use my mirror.

0:34:270:34:31

-I was. I even turned my head...

-Right?

-..to check that nowt was coming.

0:34:310:34:34

So how did you not see the big, massive patrol car behind you?

0:34:340:34:37

-Well, I did see you.

-And you still drove at 70mph in a 40?

0:34:370:34:40

I still... I seen you.

0:34:400:34:41

OK. I've got to caution you. You don't have to say anything thing, but it may harm your defence if you

0:34:410:34:45

don't mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court, and anything you do say

0:34:450:34:49

-may be given in evidence. All right?

-OK.

-You're not under arrest.

0:34:490:34:51

Because she was 30mph over the speed limit,

0:34:510:34:55

Darren can't issue a ticket -

0:34:550:34:57

the woman will have to go to court.

0:34:570:34:59

-So I'm just going to do a couple of checks. Have you got a full licence?

-Yeah.

-You have, have you?

0:34:590:35:04

And things are about to get worse for this speeding driver.

0:35:040:35:08

-When I said, "Have you got a full licence," and you said, "Aye?"

-Aye.

0:35:080:35:11

-You're lying, aren't you?

-No.

-You've got a revoked licence.

0:35:110:35:13

-I haven't got a revoked licence.

-You have, man.

-How have I got it revoked?

0:35:130:35:17

-I'll tell you...

-Cos the DVLA have said your licence is revoked.

0:35:170:35:19

Aye, on medical reasons, right,

0:35:190:35:21

and they've sent us a letter saying to send it back,

0:35:210:35:24

which is exactly what I did,

0:35:240:35:25

so technically I've got a licence when that's gone back to get, like,

0:35:250:35:28

-to pay the fee to get it un-thingied.

-Right. OK.

-So I've got a licence.

0:35:280:35:31

So have you got proof now, here, that the DVLA have said you can drive?

0:35:310:35:35

Not on us.

0:35:350:35:37

Well, the DVLA still say that you've got a revoked licence,

0:35:380:35:41

-and I've got to go off what the computer says.

-Right. Fair play.

0:35:410:35:43

So your car is going to be seized from you today, under section 165,

0:35:430:35:46

until such time as you can prove that you do have a licence...

0:35:460:35:49

-Yeah.

-..and that you've got insurance for the vehicle.

0:35:490:35:51

The woman's car will be towed away.

0:35:510:35:54

Is there anyone that can come give us a hand

0:35:550:35:58

with this 165 on the A1?

0:35:580:36:00

So Darren arranges for another patrol car to collect the driver

0:36:020:36:06

and her passenger to get them to their destination.

0:36:060:36:09

The driver will have seven days to prove her licence was valid to get

0:36:090:36:13

her car back, and she still faces court for the speeding offence.

0:36:130:36:17

She's got a blatant disregard for any road users anyway, hasn't she?

0:36:170:36:20

She's doing 70mph in a 40, through roadworks,

0:36:200:36:22

where she's not paying any attention.

0:36:220:36:24

She said she's looking in her mirror, and moving in and out,

0:36:240:36:27

but the patrol car's following her.

0:36:270:36:29

I'm behind her all the way.

0:36:290:36:30

She's made no attempt to alter her driving.

0:36:300:36:32

She's driving on a revoked licence, so a risk to you, to me,

0:36:320:36:36

to every other road user.

0:36:360:36:38

So, for now, it's the end of the road for this motorist.

0:36:380:36:42

And more than 300 miles south, near the start of the A1 in London,

0:36:420:36:46

it's also crunch time for a specialist team.

0:36:460:36:49

It's two days before the Science Museum opens its doors

0:36:550:36:58

for the start of its Robots exhibition.

0:36:580:37:00

Oh, my goodness.

0:37:070:37:09

But a long journey down the A1 has left one of its star attractions

0:37:090:37:13

still struggling to work properly.

0:37:130:37:15

There is something wrong with the counterpointing with the neck.

0:37:180:37:20

There's so many different things that can go wrong on so many different parts.

0:37:200:37:24

The next morning, conservator Matthew is still trying to fathom

0:37:260:37:30

out why the swan's not working.

0:37:300:37:32

The situation is good in the sense that we are finding faults.

0:37:340:37:38

But last night we noticed the action of the neck was really kind of graunchy

0:37:380:37:42

and it's normally very silky smooth.

0:37:420:37:44

It's a frustrating time for Science Museum conservator Kate.

0:37:450:37:50

It's a shame, really, because it was all going so well.

0:37:500:37:53

But hopefully Matt knows what he's doing, so we will get there.

0:37:530:37:57

After nearly three hours of painstaking adjustments...

0:38:010:38:04

-Good.

-..it's time for Matthew and Kate to carefully replace the silver...

0:38:090:38:14

It needs to hook round that bit at the front.

0:38:140:38:16

-There we are.

-There we are.

0:38:180:38:20

..ready for a final test run.

0:38:200:38:22

I think the most temperamental, needy,

0:38:220:38:24

demanding object that we have in this exhibition is probably

0:38:240:38:27

the Silver Swan.

0:38:270:38:29

-This is when it stalls.

-Please don't stall.

0:38:290:38:32

-Hooray!

-Ta-da.

0:38:390:38:41

So it was only just getting there, wasn't it?

0:38:410:38:44

The swan needs more work, but Matthew is running out of time.

0:38:440:38:48

I think that these dozens of adjustments could go on and I think

0:38:480:38:54

the Science Museum people, they'd like to see it on gallery.

0:38:540:38:59

With this stuff, you have to draw a line under it.

0:38:590:39:01

There is never going to be that perfect moment where everything is

0:39:010:39:04

beautiful because it just doesn't kind of work like that.

0:39:040:39:07

The fragile swan is moved into the exhibition,

0:39:090:39:12

but the size of its display case means it has to go the long way

0:39:120:39:15

around the museum...

0:39:150:39:17

We are going to the gallery now, so no more misbehaving.

0:39:170:39:20

..and across uneven floors.

0:39:200:39:22

The floor in any building like this is uneven

0:39:240:39:28

and this thing is not designed to move, full stop.

0:39:280:39:32

So the glass was bouncing up and down a little bit,

0:39:340:39:38

the bells were bouncing on their resilient mounts.

0:39:380:39:41

I am so relieved we have got the swan in her position, so fingers crossed, she works.

0:39:440:39:50

And it's looking great. Even if it doesn't work,

0:39:500:39:52

it's looking fantastic, so what more can you ask?

0:39:520:39:54

It's time to open the Robots exhibition to the general public.

0:39:560:40:00

But will the temperamental Silver Swan perform

0:40:010:40:04

for its expectant audience?

0:40:040:40:06

Hello, everyone. My name's Kate.

0:40:060:40:09

I have to warn you that yesterday it didn't work so...

0:40:090:40:14

50-50 it's going to work.

0:40:140:40:16

So wish me luck, and here we go.

0:40:160:40:18

Are you ready?

0:40:180:40:20

CHIMING

0:40:260:40:28

That's so beautiful.

0:40:550:40:57

The swan has worked perfectly and delighted the Science Museum crowds.

0:40:570:41:02

An extraordinary piece of machinery. Absolutely extraordinary.

0:41:020:41:06

-It was amazing.

-It was good.

0:41:060:41:08

We found out how old it is as well.

0:41:080:41:10

To realise it's over 200 years old, it's amazing.

0:41:100:41:12

It was kind of magical, really.

0:41:120:41:15

It looked incredibly lifelike and it was really wonderful.

0:41:150:41:18

You have no idea how relieved I am feeling right now.

0:41:200:41:23

I've been dreading it sticking, cos I wouldn't know quite what to do,

0:41:230:41:27

but it behaved beautifully.

0:41:270:41:29

This has been such a long journey.

0:41:310:41:33

The Bowes Swan started up in County Durham at Barnard Castle.

0:41:330:41:38

It took a week to prepare it...

0:41:380:41:41

..pack it all beautifully and carefully...

0:41:420:41:45

..bring it down the A1 motorway to London, ready for this moment.

0:41:460:41:51

It could not have gone better and I am so happy that it all went well.

0:41:530:41:59

It was definitely the star act and it was just brilliant.

0:41:590:42:03

The driver injured in the roundabout crash was treated in hospital

0:42:090:42:12

for a week but has since made a good recovery.

0:42:120:42:15

The motorist stopped near roadworks is being prosecuted for speeding

0:42:160:42:20

and driving without a licence.

0:42:200:42:23

And after its special appearance in London,

0:42:230:42:25

the Silver Swan was safely transported back up the A1

0:42:250:42:29

to its home in County Durham.

0:42:290:42:31

Next time, the fight to cut a woman free from her car...

0:42:320:42:35

-Don't panic, darling.

-..without causing her further injury.

0:42:350:42:40

Keep your head as still as possible.

0:42:400:42:42

A motorist accused of drink-driving...

0:42:420:42:45

Have you had any alcohol in the last 20 minutes?

0:42:450:42:47

..is left high and dry.

0:42:470:42:49

There's a high probability that his alcohol level is going up.

0:42:490:42:54

And monster machines on the march down the Great North Road.

0:42:540:42:58

Travelling at 50 mile an hour,

0:42:580:43:00

the wind will just get under them and blow them up.

0:43:000:43:03

A serious smash on a busy A1 junction leaves the driver's life hanging in the balance. Will treacherous weather hamper an emergency road repair? And the perils of transporting a priceless piece of art.


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