The Gatwick Express started running again on Sunday, April 3, two years after services were suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
Stephen said his job changed overnight when that decision was made.
“As someone who likes structure and plans, having things torn up overnight and go into a completely new way of working was tough,” he said.
“We had no idea what the next six or 12 months looked like, we were solely focusing on the next 24 hours as that’s how quickly things were changing.”
Stephen said the decision to suspend Gatwick Express services was not taken lightly and feels it was the right thing to do at the time, allowing his team to use resources to support the business in different ways.
“Services were reintroduced in December, but due to Christmas engineering works and the Omicron variant, had to be suspended again after a couple of weeks,” he said.
Stephen added that staff and trains were deployed throughout the pandemic to support colleagues at Southern.
“It was great that we could keep working, but my teams are very proud to work for Gatwick Express so to keep them motivated when I didn’t have all the answers was tough,” he said.
“It goes without saying that we work very closely with to the team at Gatwick Airport and it’s great to see the business slowly recovering from a very difficult couple of years,” he added.
Stephen said the return of Gatwick Express would not just support the airport in rebuilding, but also help the South East economy recover.
He said the airport station upgrade has been progressing too and that it should be complete by May 2023.
“The project will create more space for passengers, making the journey from plane to train even better,” said Stephen.
“It’s crazy to think that in a year’s time, we’ll have a brand-new station to welcome customers to and for our people to call home.”
Stephen said he is happy to be ‘out and about on the network’ again but said the flexibility of working from home did allow him to spend time with his son who was born in May 2020.
“We’re very blessed that he arrived safely,” he said.
“I was at home when he took his first steps, which was an incredible moment that I may not have experienced if we weren’t in this situation.”
Stephen said that he feels positive about the coming months as things return to normal and that his new focus is on reconnecting people and customers with the Gatwick Express brand.