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Remembering those who died during the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster

Today marks 20 years since the devastating rail disaster at Ladbroke Grove in west London. 

Two trains collided shortly after 8am, tragically killing 31 people and injuring countless more. It was one of the worst rail disasters in British history. 

Many officers from British Transport Police responded to this tragedy and supported the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service. 

At 8am today, BTP officers will join our blue light partners and the family of victims in remembrance. 
Speaking on the anniversary, Chief Constable Paul Crowther, said: 
“Ladbroke Grove will always be an event forever etched in our minds. I can still clearly recall the remarkable bravery and professionalism of our BTP colleagues who worked relentlessly to save lives, help those critically injured and investigate exactly what happened – each of them were heroes. 
“Twenty years may have passed since this tragedy, but that does not mean those who died will be forgotten. Each of them leave a permanent reminder of why rail safety is so paramount. Today we reflect on that dark day, and how we can each work together to ensure it never happens again.”  
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said:

“Our heartfelt sympathies are with the victims, and the families and friends of all those affected by the tragedy that took place at Paddington.

“The safety of passengers and staff will always be the priority on our railway. We are all duty-bound to maintain the highest standards, ensuring such tragedies do not happen again.” 
Sergeant Martin Kenneally was just one of the many BTP officers who deployed to the disaster. Twenty years on, he reflects on his memories

“I was driving home from a night shift when I heard over the car radio what was happening at Paddington.

“Within hours I was back at work and at the scene of the collision. I’ve been a police officer for 29 years and I can still vividly remember how shocked I was at the utter enormity of the crash site, and the complete devastation. 

“You can’t do anything to prepare for what you’ll see at an incident such as this. But the most difficult part was hearing mobiles ringing throughout the crash site – knowing that at the other end of the phone, family and loved ones were calling. 

“Despite the horror of the scene, we all knew we had a job to do and everyone put in 100 percent. It wasn’t easy, we’re not designed to see these things and those images will always stay with me. 

““For the next seven days I spent most of my time at the scene and what struck me was how generous everyone was. The community came together to offer what they could, I remember Boots the Chemist bringing big bags of food and water to officers, even though we were well catered.

“I have had the misfortune of attending many train crashes; Potters Bar, Hatfield and Ufton Nervet. I now use what I have learned to train new officers, preparing them for what they might see during a major incident.  

“I sit on the National Exercising and Testing Team, and coordinate weekly exercises and table top exercises with officers and the rail industry. You will never know how you’ll react to a crisis, but my one hope is that these exercises equip officers to make the right decisions.” 

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