Part 2 of 3
Winston Marsh: WM
Pam Warren: PW
WM: Last month I introduced you to Pam Warren who started to tell us her story, about what had happened as a result of a tragic rail accident some years ago in London. She told us where she had got to in terms of rebuilding her body, now she is going to tell us about looking at other aspects of her recovery, rehabilitation and start in a brave new world.
PW: The other thought process that I went through was obviously to assimilate the train crash as common sense says two trains should not be on the same piece of track heading towards each other.
WM: That’s right
PW: I couldn’t work out why? Plus in this country we had had two train crashes in preceding years. There had been Southall and there had been Clapham and each time the Government had set up a public inquiry and that public inquiry had come out with recommendations, how to improve things. I was catching a train assuming these recommendations had been done and things had improved, but what I was to find out later was that they hadn’t. Those recommendations had been made and those inquiries’ reports had been put on a book shelf just to gather dust, nobody had done anything.
WM: As often happens with every Government report.
PW: It can do but that is where I think I’d say to our safety people, look, don’t be worried about taking on a challenge that seems huge or seems beyond you. You will be surprised how much you can actually achieve with a bit of clever thinking. I obviously decided I wanted to do something about this, I didn’t want anyone else going through what I had just been through and I would then pay for, for the rest of my life.
I set up the Paddington Survivors Group quite quickly, after I came out of hospital, and 81 of the other survivors joined me. We started off as an emotional support group, we wanted to help ourselves through what had happened but very quickly we started to find out what had gone wrong on that day, we got angry and we started saying, how dare they do this to the traveling public. And so we became a campaign group too and the other survivors elected me as Chair Woman, probably because I was quite gobby but also because I had set the group up I had already formulated some ideas about how we might improve things. Again a public inquiry had been set up by the government and I thought that inquiry is being chaired by a really good guy, a guy called Lord Cullen and he had run an inquiry for the oil and gas services which had changed the safety on those beyond recognition. So I was really pleased he had been appointed but I had come up with a strategy and this is where I used one of the things I had learnt from all that thinking time in hospital and that was to sit back and to look at the problem almost like a 3D model. The 3D model that you then look at from every single angle. This is how I then thought, okay, first of all if I take the political situation one party does not remain in government all the time therefore you have to appeal cross party, get all the parties to agree to new legislation that will make the trains safer. That was if you like tier 1. The second tier that I then thought of was if I look at this from the train industry’s point of view they keep getting told that have done this wrong and we are going to fine you. If we then became a bit more supportive and talked their language we may get them to listen to us and finally there was the media. They always say that a picture paints a thousand words don’t they?
WM: We do indeed.
PW: And of course I was wearing this plastic mask, and this is going to sound a bit mercenary, but it was the only way I could see of getting public opinion on our side and that was to use my mask as a picture for the campaign and the other survivors agreed. It was this sort of 3 tier strategy that we then moved forward on. Believe me we had to research a lot, we became almost layman technical engineers about the industry because I had already phoned other campaign groups from all sorts of things, like the IRA bombings over here and I had quizzed them about what had worked and what hadn’t worked. One of the things campaign groups had come a cropper about was they tend to be a little hysterical, so they jump up and down and they shout and they scream and they say things must change, but they don’t go quietly under the radar trying to convince people, use logic, use technical terms and present them with a fait accompli.
This is what we did, alongside Lord Cullen’s inquiry, weirdly the government was paying for this inquiry which was costing millions and millions of pounds whereas we were bumbling along with just whatever money we could find and both of us came out with the same conclusions about what had gone wrong and what could be done to improve it. I am pleased to say that after 5 years of hard campaigning the laws were changed, we did get cross party political agreement and the rail industry actually embraced those changes rather than fought against them.
Now the UK railway system is one of the safest in the world, so I would like to think that we had a small part to play in that.
WM: Thanks Pam, that’s fantastic and of course we will have the concluding edition of Pam’s story next time. Wonderful real life story from Pam Warren.
Speaker, Business Consultant and Mentor, Winston Marsh is acknowledged as being “probably Australia’s best and most experienced marketer, communicator and motivator.” Winston has over thirty years of richly rewarding business experience in the management, marketing and motivation of people in business. With his track record of achievement, he is just the person to stimulate and inspire you to take away action information that gets results.