Its been revealed Professor Jonathan Van-Tam is a model railway enthusiast.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy revealed the hobby of England’s deputy chief medical officer as he spoke about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on train services.
Speaking at the National Rail Recovery Conference, Sir Peter said: “I discovered incidentally that he’s (Prof Van-Tam’s) a model railway enthusiast. They’re everywhere.”
Sir Peter went on to explain that he met Prof Van-Tam to discuss whether the rail industry should try to persuade people that train travel will be safe once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“More or less, he (Prof Van-Tam) said ‘don’t bother because we are on a path out of this’,” Sir Peter told the summit.
“He said to us, without betraying confidences, that actually it wasn’t worth us trying to argue about the phraseology of ‘don’t use public transport’.
“He said, ‘it’s going to come right because the risk is reducing as people are vaccinating’.”
In November, Prof Van-Tam said the easing of lockdown restrictions was similar to waiting for a crowded train.
He told a Downing Street press conference: “This to me is like a train journey. It’s wet, it’s windy, it’s horrible. And two miles down the tracks two lights appear and it’s the train and it’s a long way off and we’re at that point at the moment.”
He compared the opening of the train’s doors as coronavirus vaccines being approved by regulators, and likened the order in which passengers should board to the vaccination priority list.