Greater Anglia success in National Rail Awards

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Staff holding an award

Greater Anglia won two major awards in the rail industry’s National Rail Awards last night.

Hero driver, Stuart Connell was named a Life Changer after he was shortlisted in the Outstanding Personal Contribution category, and Cambridge Station beat off competition from Birmingham International, Derby and Ipswich stations to win Large Station of the Year.

Stuart Connell put his passengers’ safety ahead of his own after his lightning reactions and selflessness prevented tragedy when a tractor pulled out onto a level crossing in front of his train.

The incident happened at Hockham Road crossing on the Norwich to Cambridge line in April 2016.

Despite being in imminent danger himself, Stuart put the safety of his passengers and the tractor driver above his own when he ducked down and pulled the emergency brake, before warning passengers.

Stuart then kept his hand firmly down on the warning horn up to and including the point of impact, which resulted in him sustaining a nasty injury to his hand. The trailer separated from the tractor and struck the side of the train several times.

Stuart’s quick thinking, speedy reactions and unselfish actions prevented a derailment and undoubtedly reduced the number of injuries sustained by all on board the train and the tractor.

Although he was badly injured in the collision and in shock, he continued his duties, walking through the train to look after the 135 passengers, who later called him a 'hero'.

Judges described Stuart’s actions as “truly exceptional” and felt he needed a special award to honour him for “going above and beyond in his everyday duties”.

Staff posing for award

Cambridge Station has recently undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment with a complete refurbishment of the existing ticket hall, doubling it in size, creating more space during busy periods, open plan counter service, additional ticket vending machines and improvements to the customer information screens.

In addition, waiting rooms have been redecorated and new toilet facilities built, including a new disabled access toilet with baby change facility. A state of the art cycle parking facility was also opened at the station.

At the same time, the new Station Square, built by developer, Brookgate, which surrounds the station has provided station users with a range of quality food and retail options and a new Ibis hotel.

Judges said the station “now possesses the wow factor, something that hits passengers initially via the extensive environmental work that has been carried out outside the main entrance. This continues into a beautifully extended ticket hall”. They also praised the station team citing the ”helpful staff that can be found going out of their way to help passengers find their trains.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “I’m delighted that Greater Anglia has been recognised in these prestigious awards. We’re extremely proud of Stuart Connell and of Cambridge Station. They are both excellent examples of how we do all we can to put our customers."