The National Railway Museum has announced that it will be launching a new exhibition to showcase the vital role played by railway workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Railway Heroes is the name of the new exhibition to showcase the achievements of 16 people from across the industry.
From setting up Nightingale Hospitals to transporting medical supplies, many rail workers have gone the extra mile during the pandemic.
The exhibition will feature 16 photographs from Charlotte Graham and the first six heroes will feature in a special online exhibition starting on the NRM website from Monday 15th February 2021.
Once restrictions are lifted, a physical exhibition will feature all 16 people at the NRM in York and Locomotion in Shildon.
The exhibition has been possible thanks to a partnership between the National Railway Museum, LNER, Avanti West Coast, Network Rail, Northern and Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy joint venture and HS2 Ltd.
Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “This exhibition is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of railway key workers who have kept the country going over the last year. From delivering essential supplies and transporting NHS workers, to selfless volunteering, the stories featured in the exhibition are an inspiration and fully deserving of wider recognition.”
Kindness and dedication is also showcased in the exhibition, like Jolene Miller from Stockton-on-Tees, who spent the first lockdown working as a train driver for Northern and also volunteering as a paramedic.
Penny Bond works for LNER and also features in the exhibition due to her work to organise the Letter to a Friend campaign, creating a lifeline for isolated older people living in carehomes.
Both Penny and Jolene were awarded a British Empire Medal for their work in October 2020.
Joining Penny and Jolene is Gareth Mallion, who played a lead role in helping build the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Manchester.
Completing the first six profiles is Lin Qi from Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy, who are delivering infrastructure packages for HS2, Rory Higgins from Network Rail, and Hussain Master from Avanti West Coast.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Rail workers have played a vital role during the pandemic, maintaining and operating a safe and reliable railway so that key workers can continue to get to work, and keeping Britain connected by moving critical goods such as food and medicine across the country.
“Many rail workers have also gone above and beyond their day jobs over the past year—helping to set up Nightingale hospitals, donating much-needed equipment to the NHS and delivering food parcels to vulnerable people in their local communities. The National Railway Museum’s Railway Heroes exhibition is a fitting way to recognise the outstanding efforts of railway workers in such challenging times. I am incredibly proud of their contributions to the railway and local communities.”
Hussain Master, Avanti West Coast Train Manager based at Preston, who helped to deliver hundreds of hot meals to NHS workers as part of his charitable efforts, said: “I’m so proud to be playing my part to keep our vital services running to allow key workers and those making essential journeys to get where they need to be, while supporting good causes in the communities we serve.
“Keeping people connected and volunteering for local charities has been so rewarding and I feel blessed to be making a difference. My story is one of many railway workers that have contributed to the UK’s response to Covid-19 and it is an honour to support the National Railway Museum’s work to recognise the vital role of the railway and its people, including my Avanti West Coast colleagues, during the pandemic.”
Lin Qi from Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy joint venture said: “It was an honour to be asked to take part in the exhibition and to fly the flag for LM and the region, and I hope to inspire more young people, particularly women, to consider a career in the construction and engineering industry.
“Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be working in this sector, and on a project the sheer scale of HS2, but I love being part of a big team and helping to deliver this unprecedented UK railway.”
Northern train driver, Jolene Miller who features in the exhibition said: “There’s still lots of people I know working in the NHS and fighting coronavirus day in day out while I spent a few months working back in a hospital. I just wanted to use the skills I had.”
David Horne, Managing Director for LNER said: “We’re extremely proud of how the entire UK rail industry, particularly our LNER colleagues, have shown dedication and tenacity in what have been some very difficult times. Our teams have been dynamic, entrepreneurial and most importantly supportive of each other and the communities we serve.
“We’re delighted to see our colleagues Davey Glover and Penny Bond have been recognised in The Railway Heroes exhibition for their extraordinary and selfless contributions to their communities since March 2020, which have personified our LNER values.”
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