Railway key workers recognised in exhibition at York's National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York is set to launch a new exhibition that celebrates railway key workers. Credit: Charlotte Graham

The National Railway Museum in York is set to launch a new exhibition that celebrates railway key workers.

Named 'Railway Heroes', the exhibition recognises those who have worked in the sector during the coronavirus pandemic. It captures portrait photographs of sixteen people from the railway industry.

What do they do?

Rail workers have transported medical supplies, helped set up Nightingale hospitals and even been there for sewing PPE.

The portraits were taken by photographer Charlotte Graham.

The first six ‘Railway Heroes’ will star in a special online exhibition hosted on the National Railway Museum website, with new profiles added each week.

Once national lockdown restrictions are lifted, a physical exhibition featuring all 16 people will open simultaneously at the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham.

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “This exhibition is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of railway key workers who have kept the country going over the last year. From delivering essential supplies and transporting NHS workers, to selfless volunteering, the stories featured in the exhibition are an inspiration and fully deserving of wider recognition.”

The exhibition showcases rail workers such as Jolene Miller from Stockton-on-Tees who spent her time during the first lockdown continuing to serve passengers as a train driver for Northern, while also volunteering in her previous career as a paramedic. Despite the challenges of juggling two jobs, Jolene was able to spend lockdown driving trains one week and working on wards the next.

Jolene was awarded a British Empire Medal in October 2020.

She said: “There’s still lots of people I know working in the NHS and fighting coronavirus day in day out while I spent a few months working back in a hospital. I just wanted to use the skills I had.”

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Rail workers have played a vital role during the pandemic, maintaining and operating a safe and reliable railway so that key workers can continue to get to work, and keeping Britain connected by moving critical goods such as food and medicine across the country.

“Many rail workers have also gone above and beyond their day jobs over the past year – helping to set up Nightingale hospitals, donating much-needed equipment to the NHS and delivering food parcels to vulnerable people in their local communities. The National Railway Museum’s Railway Heroes exhibition is a fitting way to recognise the outstanding efforts of railway workers in such challenging times. I am incredibly proud of their contributions to the railway and local communities.”