HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited London Paddington station on 27 October 2020 to thank staff for their commitment to keeping passengers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her visit, The Duchess of Cornwall met station workers from Network Rail, GWR and British Transport Police to personally thank them for ensuring people can continue to visit and travel safely from one of the country’s biggest and busiest railway stations.
Classed as key workers, the station teams at Paddington have introduced as many measures as possible to keep passengers safe – one-way systems, floor markings to keep everyone two metres apart and the appointment of dedicated social distancing staff to help remind passengers of the rules.
In addition, they erected numerous hand-sanitising stations, created safe socially distanced seating areas, created an enhanced cleaning regime and even handed out supplies of face coverings to ensure anyone that did not have one could travel safely.
Towards the end of her visit, HRH was shown a demonstration by Medical Detection Dogs who are training dogs to detect COVID-19.
Mustaq Haji, Network Rail’s London Paddington station manager, commented: “It was an honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and introduce her to our station team here at Paddington who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to ensure everyone who travels is kept safe – I am proud of all of them.
“When the virus hit, they immediately set about introducing measures to make the station safe and they wanted to play their part in ensuring key workers could continue to get to their jobs. That includes our neighbours at St Mary’s Hospital, who we were determined to show just how grateful we are for what they have done throughout the pandemic.”
Dean Haynes has been Great Western Railway’s flagship station manager at Paddington since 2017. He also welcomed The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the London terminus, adding: “So many key workers have come together in the recent months to make sure vital services continue to operate in extremely difficult circumstances, and railway staff across the country have been critical in the country’s response.
“We were proud to welcome Her Royal Highness today, and it was great to hear the recognition of the contribution, not just of the team at GWR but the whole railway family.”
Superintendent Ricky Twyford from the British Transport Police said: “I am incredibly thankful to our officers and railway colleagues across the network for their tireless work during the pandemic, many of whom have will have worked long hours, cancelled days off and spent time away from their families to ensure those who needed to use the railway could do so safely.
“It is truly an honour to see their incredible efforts recognised by The Duchess of Cornwall today.”
“The railway may have looked a little different in recent months as we’ve all pulled together to slow the spread of the virus, but one thing that will always remain the same is our commitment to keeping the transport network safe.”