A Cup of Tea with…Robert Williamson

Headline Date 06-07-2017

A cup of tea with… where we sit down and chat with those who make Victoria what it is. People with a passion for Victoria, people who live or work here and know the area, it’s history and its future better than anyone else. This month, we talked to Robert Williamson, Route Stations Manager Network Operations, South East.

How long have you worked in Victoria?

I have worked in Victoria since January 2017, so it’s six months now. Not that long, but I have been in and around London and its stations for a few years and I regularly popped into this area to catch up with Henry Bates, the previous station manager.

What was the biggest change you have experienced in Victoria?

The scale of work going on in and around the area. The new complex, Nova, is extraordinary as is all the work which is going on in the station, the Underground. Everything is changing weekly. And that is probably one of the reasons why I wanted to stay here because this is where changes happen and that is where it is exciting to be.

What is your favourite spot in Victoria?

My favourite spot…I do like to explore Nova, for example, I like to go for a coffee at Sourced Market, but all the new bars in there are a good place to escape to. Apart from that, pretty much any pub! There are a few quite nice ones on the back of Cardinal Place.

If you could change one thing in Victoria, what would it be?

If I had unlimited money it would be the station. The station has to continue to evolve to match what’s going on around it.

What is your favourite story about the area?

My favourite story from the time I have been here is connected to the station and its staff. A couple of guys from our team saw a man having a heart attack and whilst waiting for the ambulance (which came an hour later) they did full CPR including mouth to mouth to keep him going. Six weeks later, the two guys received a letter from his wife saying he survived. It’s just a fantastic story and also shows the dedication of my colleagues.

What is your message for the people in Victoria?

It is an exciting time to be part of the area! Victoria is the place to be and there is so much going on. It won’t be a fully finished place for a long time, but it is improving every day. So to summarise, I guess it’s A, you are witnessing the emergence of one of a very exciting part of London and B (speaking purely of transport terms) please bear with us. We are investing heavily to ensure things are constantly improving. And there are difficulties that come with that. We all know it is uncomfortable when works are going on, but it’s all being done as part of a larger plan.

What is the biggest issues/ challenge Victoria is facing?

I think it is like any area facing regeneration. How it regenerates and to continue to operate at the same time. It’s something very key in the transport industry, how you improve things without disrupting things? Like London Bridge, another of my stations, it is difficult to put a work site on top of an operative station. It is a fine balance between improving things and maintaining functionality.

What is your favourite lunchtime spot?

Well usually at the desk! If I have time, I wander up to Buckingham Palace Road and explore the cafes around there. Although, to be honest, I usually don’t make it further than the Starbucks at the corner! But my girlfriend works in the area as well (as a teacher) so that is definitely a motivation to get out of the office for lunch…she is looking forward to some lunch dates at Nova!

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