Thursday 7 May 2020
Network Rail stations to commemorate VE Day with voices and music from the past
- Region & Route:
Stations around the country will echo the sounds of the past tomorrow (Friday) as they pay tribute to the people who gave their lives in the Second World War to bring peace to Europe.
Although the stations are significantly quieter than usual, people that do have to travel will be immersed in the stories and experiences of 1945, thanks to Imperial War Museums’ Voices of War. The soundscape, which brings together first-hand accounts of VE Day from the museum’s extensive sound archive, will be played in the stations, with images from VE Day shown on advertising screens.
In addition, the end of the two minutes’ silence at 1100 will be marked by the sounds of We’ll Meet Again, as performed by the D-Day Darlings, and a wreath will be laid at London Bridge’s war memorial by soldiers in uniform.
The collaboration with Imperial War Museums was the idea of Network Rail’s Southern region, to commemorate the day in its London stations including Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge, and has been taken up across the country with stations from Edinburgh to Bristol joining in.
Network Rail Southern region managing director John Halsall said: “Britain’s railways and railway staff played a massive part in the journey to Victory in Europe and as extraordinary as these times are, we knew we had to pay tribute to those men and women who gave so much so we can live in freedom today.
“Working for the railway gives everyone here a close connection to the past as the history of our stations and tracks goes so deep and so far back. The railway lines we manage from London to the South Coast carried our soldiers to and from the front lines through the war and the memorials at our stations are testament to the heroism showed by everyone on those trains and the men and women who kept Britain moving right through until the final acts of the war in May 1945.”
Diane Lees, Director-General of Imperial War Museums, said: ““The events of 8 May 1945 have helped to define the world we live in as the costliest conflict in human history began to draw to a close. The need to commemorate this national anniversary and remember the sacrifices made by past generations is as important now as it ever was. With Voices of War, IWM is giving people the opportunity to listen to the stories and memories of those who lived through the conflicting jubilation, hope, sadness and fear that was felt during the summer of 1945. So whether you hear the broadcast at a train station or are listening at home, we invite everyone to be part of this important national moment.”
Katie Ashby from the D-Day Darlings said: “We are so proud to be able to deliver a special message on such a momentous day, to all the people who are continuing to keep us safe.”
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and all train operating companies, has arranged for a train horn salute to take place at 3pm on the day, alongside rail workers taking part in the national toast to the heroes of the Second World War.
Footage of the commemorative activity will be available across Network Rai’s social media channels.
Notes to Editors
IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain's best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.
From 8 May – 15 August 2020, IWM’s Victory 75 anniversary programme will retell the story of the end of the Second World War in a unique way for contemporary audiences. IWM will mark the 75th anniversaries of VE Day, the dropping of the atomic bombs and VJ Day by bringing voices from IWM’s diverse sound archive into homes around the country. These first-hand experiences of the end of the war will be available to play on IWM’s website and social media channels, where IWM will also be sharing contemporary artistic responses to the end of the Second World War and its resonance today in these challenging times. Learn about how the conflict was fought and won through IWM’s collection of fascinating stories and objects and hear the stories of people standing together during a time of national crisis here: www.iwm.org.uk/victory
The UK’s premier wartime group, The D-Day Darlings, were signed to Sony Music UK after reaching the finals in ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. In 2018, their debut album, “I’ll Remember You”, reached number 15 in the official album charts, receiving a Silver Disc for over 60,000 sales.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.