Month: October 2013

Overwhelmed by the response…

Just a quick update,  following on from the publication of my story from the 1999 Paddington Train Crash. The weekend was overwhelming, it really was…. I had no idea that the story would generate the kind of response that it did, no idea at all. To be perfectly honest I wrote it for me, and just thought that, by publishing it, if one or two people took something positive from it, then it would have been worth doing. What I wasn’t banking on was the reaction that it generated, with numerous people saying it reduced them to tears (sorry!) and many praising my own courage, which was nice of them, but in my mind is totally misplaced. I wasn’t brave, and I was just there, and it took 14 years to get round to writing the story! However, I would like to thank everyone who got in touch, commented and tweeted etc, and I hope the piece gave some insight in to what happened on that awful day. There is, I suppose, a fascination with disasters, and while we all hope never to be involved with one (again!) it does make for interesting reading and maybe we can learn from it. Most of all, I hope it did enough to highlight the incredible work of the emergency services and medical staff that day. I for one will be forever...

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08:08 / 05.10.99 – Train crash – a personal experience

Tuesday 5 October 1999 started as a normal day for me. Totally, utterly, predictably, normal. I don’t remember every single detail, it was a long time ago now, but I do remember the most important details, vividly in actual fact, because Tuesday 5 October 1999 turned out to be anything but normal. Two commuter trains would collide at Ladbroke Grove, leaving 31 dead and more than 500 injured. I was one of the latter. I made an early start that bright and sunny, slightly chilly, day, and it began with a train journey of all things, from Hertfordshire into London Kings Cross and then onwards to Paddington. From there, with two female colleagues, I was due to travel to visit the England Football Team at its Bisham Abbey training camp to complete some business for one of the Football Association’s sponsors, a client of the agency I worked for at the time. We were due to catch a Thames Train service just after 8am and, having grabbed a coffee, made our way to the platform to board what we knew would probably be a busy three-car suburban service. So busy in fact that we decided not to walk right to the front of the train to find seats, but grabbed some free space we spotted in another carriage, little realising the gravity of that decision. We had probably just...

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