Staff at London Bridge station could never have been fully prepared for the events that unfolded on the evening of 3 June this year.
Three attackers took the lives of eight people and injured many others outside of London Bridge and Borough Market just a couple of weeks after the tragic events in Manchester.
Members of Network Rail’s London Bridge team, who normally fill their days helping passengers with heavy luggage, checking tickets and dispensing the latest service information, found themselves at the centre of a truly horrific scene.
The team’s bravery and well-measured response has won them the Station Staff of the Year category at this year’s RailStaff Awards on what was a visibly emotional night for everyone involved.
As panic took hold outside the station, staff members inside remained calm. Their decision to lock the station down rather than evacuate may well have saved lives. The team also conducted a full sweep of the station for any suspect devices and cared for the distressed people outside of the station, providing blankets, drinks and opening up the station’s toilet facilities.
Arron Raimbault was working in the control room on the night of the incident. He said, ‘No one’s ever prepared for anything like this, but the really good thing is that we are provided with really good training, we are provided with some amazing people and amazing staff, so we’re able to deal with anything that does arise.’
Later on during the awards ceremony, Arron was called to the stage for a second time as the winner of the Rail Person of the Year category. He went on to describe the camaraderie that exists within the London Bridge station team, ‘I mean especially in London Bridge. They come together as a family; not just in big, major incidents but in the smallest of ways. Everyone here has everyone’s back and it just shows in the work that we do.’
The nomination gave a special mention to the shift station manager, Adrian Suter, who was there on the night to collect the award.
Reflecting on the award win, Adrian wanted to thank colleagues at Southeastern and GTR. ‘On the concourse, supported by our TOC colleagues, we delivered flagship customer service and welfare to our stranded passengers and members of the public who had ran to the station as a safe haven during the attack.’
He added, ‘In the wake of the incident, I believe it’s something that will change those involved in it forever but displayed a true show of unity across the station in delivering for our customers.’
Station Staff of the Year was sponsored by the Transport Benevolent Fund (TBF) – a registered charity which offers support to transport industry members and their dependants in times of need, hardship or distress.
Ian Barlex, TBF development director, said, ‘The attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market were deeply upsetting and you can only admire the composure of the London Bridge team.
‘Those on the front line of our industry have so much to contend with. It makes the professionalism and compassion shown by the team that night all the more inspiring. All those involved deserve our full support.’
Highly commended: Caroline Horne, South West Trains, and Marie-Claire Duffy, Virgin Trains.