Wednesday 8 Feb 2017
Love is in the air at Paddington
A couple with a special attachment to Paddington Station are helping to launch an event this Friday celebrating the improvement works to one of the world’s best known railway stations.
Adam Jenkins made national headlines when he used Paddington as the location to publically propose to his now-wife Keri-Anne, and on Friday he is planning to surprise her once again.
A year on and the couple, who are from Neath in South Wales, are returning to the station as guests of honour to take part in a ‘Love Paddington’ event marking a series of improvements at the station.
However Keri-Anne will be travelling to London with absolutely no idea that Adam has arranged for her to be serenaded at the station, meet Paddington Bear and have a message of love projected onto a giant screen – almost a year to the day from when he originally proposed.
Adam said: “Paddington Station will always have a special place in our hearts as it is where I proposed to Keri-Anne and I am delighted to have been asked to attend Friday’s celebrations. Like a lot of people, Paddington is a station that we regularly use and really love, and is why I chose to propose there in the first place. I can’t wait to see her face when she realises I have sprung another surprise.”
He added: “It’s such an iconic train station known across the world and it’s great to see it being improved for passengers as well as protecting Brunel’s beautiful station as part of our national heritage.”
This Friday’s Love Paddington event, organised jointly by Network Rail, GWR and Heathrow Express, is celebrating the station and the completion of several projects to improve the passenger experience.
Brunel’s original roof built in 1860 has been restored to its former glory and protected in a £30m restoration project; GWR’s new ticket office providing 12 open counters, more space and improved ticket machines for passengers has opened; the ‘The Lawn’, so called as it was the original station master’s garden, has opened transforming the café and retail area at the back of the station into a modern retail and dining destination.
The station now boasts 40 retail and dining outlets, who are offering users of the station some exclusive offers from their eclectic retail mix, with the chance to win some fabulous prizes donated by some of our retail brands who are taking part in the Love Paddington event.
Throughout the day passengers will be given the opportunity to have their picture taken against the backdrop of the restored station roof with a message of love which can be put out on social media.
Paddington Bear will also be on hand to meet passengers at the Lawn, with live music taking place throughout the day within a specially created comfort area, complete with sofas and love heart cushions where there are opportunities to sample from some of the wonderful food and beverage choices whilst taking in the retail therapy that the Lawn has to offer.
The Hilton Hotel which backs onto Paddington Station is also supporting the event and plans to surprise the couple on the day by presenting them with a night’s stay in one of their premium GWR Tower rooms.
A spokesperson for Hilton London Paddington said: “We are delighted to get involved in this event as our hotel will always be intrinsically linked with the station. Paddington is definitely a station worth celebrating and we hope that Adam and Keri-Anne really enjoy the day, along with the thousands of other passengers taking part.”
Adam added: “It will be really special to be back at the station for Friday’s event, just a few days before Valentine’s Day. We certainly Love Paddington – it’s just an amazing station and full of history and I can’t wait to tweet our message and soak up the atmosphere of the day.”
Mark Langman, Managing Director for Network Rail’s Western Route said: “This Friday is all about celebrating Paddington Station and giving something back to all the passengers that use the station every day.
“The station is better than ever thanks to the programme of improvements under Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and we have created an environment which has improved the experience of using the station, providing the best quality environment to meet, eat, shop and travel.
"And of course Heathrow Express, which links the station to Heathrow Airport, remains the fastest rail link between London and the airport, with 150 services running daily in journey times of just 15 minutes.
“Working with GWR there is a lot more planned for the station with new Intercity trains operating later in the year and new trains running from Paddington to Maidenhead, extending the services now running between Hayes and Harlington. Next year the Crossrail Paddington Station will also open.
He added: “I hope everyone enjoys the day and takes advantage of the great discounts that are being offered by our retail partners.“
Mark Hopwood, Managing Director for GWR, said: “Later this year we will see the first of our new Intercity Express Trains operating from Paddington Station; building on the new electric services we are operating in London and the Thames Valley; and delivering more seats, more frequent trains and quicker journeys.
“Paddington is not only a railway station, it is the doorway to Bristol, South Wales and the great destinations we serve across the South West; and to keeping the communities of the Great Western prospering. I am delighted to be able to mark this special occasion.”
Fraser Brown, Director of Heathrow Express, said: “Heathrow Express has been operating out of Paddington for 19 years, this year we will be carrying our 100 millionth customer. We are proud of our home at Paddington and are delighted to be part of the celebrations highlighting the improvements to the station.”
Kay Buxton, Chief Executive of The Paddington Partnership, said: “The transformation of Paddington Station is embraced not only by its passengers but by all those who live and work in the Paddington area. Paddington’s industrial heritage is renowned and, as a seat of transport innovation, there is overwhelming affection locally for Brunel’s masterpiece. The injection of new, high quality retail and dining opportunities, coupled with the surrounding water space and new developments, secures Paddington’s position as a new leisure destination.”
Notes to editors:
Please note; all aspects of Adam and Keri-Anne’s surprise are under embargo until Friday 10th February at 13.30; information on Friday’s Love Paddington event are for immediate release.
Adam and Keri-Anne will be arriving at the station at 13:31 on Friday 10th February. Once the surprise has taken place they will be available for interviews.
If you wish to attend, please contact James Crook on 07730 353042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.