Frank Hoffman has been working on the London Underground (LUL) for over 26 years, 21 of them as a driver. Together with his partner, Mandy, Frank arrived at the RailStaff Awards and later in the evening was astounded to win the Driver of the Year accolade.
‘I’m absolutely stunned,’ said Frank speaking back stage after receiving the award. ‘I never expected this. It was nice to be nominated, but to be recognised…It’s the pinnacle of my career.’
Delighted friends and colleagues will be rather less surprised. LUL duty manager Andy Bamber explains.
‘On Tuesday, 2 June, train operator Hoffman was working Train T22 as part of his duty. As his train approached West Acton, east bound, an emergency handle was operated and he was informed a passenger had collapsed.’
Frank stopped his train in the platform and after informing the line controller what was happening went to the passenger. The man had collapsed and stopped breathing. Frank Hoffman reassured the other passengers in the carriage and started administering full CPR. As he did so, he gave concise information on what was happening to the station staff and line controller.
‘He continued to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived and took over. He then returned to the cab to continue his duties,’ says Andy. ‘Throughout the incident he acted calmly in a professional manor. The paramedics who attended said his swift actions saved the passenger’s life. Train operator Hoffman displayed exceptional professionalism in managing and dealing with the extremely serious situation he was placed in.’
Colleague Kerry Phillips, also a duty manager at LUL, emphasised Frank’s calm and professional manner. ‘When Frank arrived on the scene, he could immediately see the severity of the situation. In the middle of the crowded carriage, a male customer had collapsed and was not breathing. The customer’s wife was also present and obviously highly emotional, panicking uncontrollably.’
Not only did Frank Hoffman set about saving a man’s life but was able to reassure other passengers and comfort the man’s partner whilst all the time briefing control and the emergency services.
Kerry Phillips adds, ‘After the paramedics took over rather than taking time to himself, Frank explained to the casualty’s wife exactly what had happened and provided her with the reassurance she needed. Using his experience as a member of the Trauma Support Group, he provided support to other customers who had witnessed the event – portraying a perfect example of what a valuable and responsible employee Frank is. He truly is an asset to LUL.’
As if all that wasn’t enough, Frank Hoffman quickly moved his train to get the service back up and running, mindful of the thousands of commuters stuck on busy trains behind him. The man made a complete recovery.
‘Train operator Hoffman took no time off following the incident and did not expect any thanks for it.’ says Kerry. ‘I and my colleagues are extremely proud to have Frank on our team, not only did he set a perfect example to the traveling public but also to his fellow train operators.’
Quietly spoken Frank Hoffman is based at Loughton Depot in Essex and lives in a small village near Saffron
Walden. Said Frank, ‘I’d like to thank Andy Bamber, Kerry Phillips and Kieran Dimelow, train operations manager, and my partner, Mandy, who has been very supportive.’
This year, Train Driver of the Year was sponsored by Cordant Services, which provides a wide range of cleaning services to the public transport sector.
The award was presented by Jamie Reynolds, group commercial director.
Says Jamie, ‘They’re the unsung heroes, they’re the people at the front of the trains in the cabins that not many people see. They moan when the train’s late, but they don’t thank them when they get home every day.
Referring to Frank directly, he added, ’His safety record’s impeccable, he’s a well-liked individual and he’s won against tough competition tonight. He should be very proud.’
- Stuart Creed, Great Western Railway
- Jim Finnie, Train Manager, GB Railfreight