On Thursday 23 March, three years after the first Covid-19 lockdown, the rail industry came together to hold a memorial day to celebrate the vital role played by its people during the pandemic, while also remembering those from the industry who lost their lives to the virus.
The National Railway Museum in York hosted a memorial service for hundreds of employees who helped to keep key workers and essential goods moving throughout the pandemic.
Further services were held at Birmingham Moor Street, Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, London Waterloo and King’s Cross. Along with these services, memorial events took place at stations, offices and depots across the country.
Network Rail’s chief executive, Andrew Haines, and chair Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill were present at the event in York, where Lord Hendy unveiled a plaque dedicated to the railway employees who served the country during the pandemic.
Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, Network Rail chair, said:
“The memorial service was an opportunity to pay tribute to the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of our staff and to acknowledge their key role in keeping the country moving during the pandemic. I have been humbled by the stories of loss suffered by individuals and their families across the railway industry and we should never forget their sacrifice.”
The service in York was streamed live to enable the entire railway family to tune-in and join to mark and commemorate the contribution the railway made to keep Britain functioning, and to recognise the personal sacrifice and sad loss of members of the railway family.
Organised by the Railway Mission, and the brainchild of Liam Johnston, executive director of the Railway Mission, and Rachael Etebar, director of people and culture at British Transport Police, a minutes’ silence was also held at midday and observed in railway offices, depots and stations across the country.
Image credit: Network Rail