King's Cross Voices

Memories (Andrew Fontenelle)

Born in St Lucia in 1935, Andrew came to Britain in 1959.  He soon joined British Rail as a carriage service man and 41 years later, in 2000, he became GNER Customers Service Manager at King’s Cross Station and Branch Secretary of King’s Cross RMT. He was interviewed in 2004.

"My first experience on King's Cross was not as a guard at first. What I used to do, on Saturdays, especially in the summertime, they used to take some of us from the sidings and take us down to the station because they used to have extra trains and they didn't have sufficient staff at King's Cross to clean the trains as quickly as possible and they used to take us down there to King's Cross Station, a few of us, who wanted to go, extra, it was overtime actually, tell us if wanted to put your name down and you can go down to King's Cross. And the girls used to sweep the trains and you had to put the bags out and put on the platforms for them to take it away and that was what we used to do. We used to take two or three hours sometime and that was the first time I worked in the station itself.

The station was, the station was busy and it was a big station you know because you know every main line station and on all the platforms there used to be steps going up. You know that bridge that across there? Well all those bridges had steps going down to the different platforms. Now underneath the station, the platforms, each platform had lifts, yeah? And then underneath the station, underneath the platforms there was walks underneath there and you walk from Platform 10 which was the one further and onto Platform 1, yeah? And you walk underneath and you had to go ... if you didn't want to walk on the platform, they wouldn't allow us to walk on the platform among the passengers and all that so we used to walk down underneath, down underneath up the other one if it Platform 9 or 10 or 11 or whatever we wanted to go and so on and up like this or used to go over the bridge and walk across and come down. And that was how it was."

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