Avanti West Coast rail staff based at Crewe Station have chronicled their experiences of the railway during the Covid-19 pandemic to raise money for charity.
Customer service team leader Marc Scruton and customer service assistant Jacqui Hemingway have created a photo book documenting the station and its team over the last seven months.
Marc, who previously worked as a professional photographer before joining the railway nearly 20 years ago, took the opportunity to record what the team at Crewe experienced.
He made the most of the period when very few customers were travelling to venture around the station with his camera and record how staff worked kept vital services running during the lockdown.
The eerie scenes of empty platforms and deserted entrances captured in Marc’s photos prompted Jacqui to ask colleagues to share their experiences into the mix.
The stories have been brought together, alongside staff portraits and sights documented by Marc, for a book that offers a first-hand account of Crewe station from the moment it fell silent as the country went into lockdown, to the minutes the team burst into applause to show their appreciation for carers and NHS workers.
The book will be auctioned online on 27th November as part of Rail Aid – a fundraising initiative for Railway Children – an international children’s charity based in Cheshire.
Marc told us: “We witnessed the station as never seen before and I wanted to capture it through our eyes, as we experienced it – and for the feelings, thoughts, fears, challenges and experiences of my colleagues to be recorded.
“Through my photography I was keen to provide an insight into what we felt and some of the sights we saw – to see Crewe during ordinary peak times with only one or two people travelling is surreal.
“I hope our book gives a sense of what we experienced in the last few months, something that could only really be understood if you worked here at the time.
“Everyone will have stories to tell and experiences to relive, but these will soon be forgotten so I wanted to capture as much as I could.”
Jacqui is now planning to chronicle a snapshot of life in Crewe during lockdown with a project titled ‘Capture Crewe’.
She said: “We have missed the familiar faces of customers at the station and engaging with our local community.
“We’re keen to connect with them and Capture Crewe is designed to do that through photography, while raising vital funds for Railway Children.
“We would love to know what they’ve experienced – whether it’s making a difference, taking up a hobby or enjoying the simple things. So, we can tell Crewe’s story and remind people they’re not alone.”
The team at Crewe station are inviting customers and the local community to share a photo and short statement of their experience of the pandemic (for display at the station and on Avanti West Coast’s social media channels).
Images must be submitted by 27th November 2020 and should consider Avanti West Coast’s photography guidelines (see below).
Donations to Railway Children are encouraged.
More information and links
To bid for the Crewe Station photo book at the Rail Aid Auction (Lot 84), click here.
Donations to Railway Children, as part of the Capture Crewe project can be made here.
Photography for the ‘Capture Crewe’ project can be submitted here.
Avanti West Coast photography guidelines
Art pieces should portray stories which capture moments and people from our local areas, contemporary or historic. We want to capture local community heroes, showcasing their story and the importance of them to the local community.
The stories depicted should be overall positive, they could have an underlying British wit but not veer into obvious, cheesy or bold humour.
For photography, colours should feel rich and natural. It shouldn’t be over saturated or be in black and white.
We love photography which captures moments in people’s lives – it should feel candid, real and unexpected.