Rehana Marylebone Khawaja

Express Yourself: Chiltern employee switches tracks with 'Marylebone' middle name for station anniversary

As Marylebone station commemorates its 125th anniversary, one member of the Chiltern Railways team has decided to take those celebrations to new heights. 

Adding ‘Marylebone’ as her middle name by deed poll, Rehana Marylebone Khawaja will have clocked up twenty years of service on the railway later this year.  

It could have gone even further, were it not for her children objecting to a change in first name. The compromise of ‘Mary’ wasn’t enough for Rehana, so she decided to press ahead and change her middle name in tribute to a station that has been a huge part of her life. 

Starting in the ticket office in 2004, Rehana has worked a variety of frontline roles across the network, particularly at Marylebone, where she has been a dispatcher, station supervisor and station manager during her long career with Chiltern.  

Now Safeguarding and Security Manager, Rehana works across the network, but does her best to get back to her favourite station on the Chiltern network as much as possible. In an ode to Marylebone, Rehana said: 

“The station itself is not big. But it’s got a soul. The more I explored it over my time here, the more I was falling in love with it. It really does feel like a home away from home to me.  

“We know that things go wrong sometimes, and people can get delayed. But everybody there works so hard with a smile on their face. It’s got a personal touch. It’s warm and welcoming. Not every London station is like that. 

“I love the building, I love the people, and I love the history of the station. When I got to manage the station, I felt like I was flying. I still feel like that when I’m there now. It’s such a huge part of my life, and now I’ll carry it with me officially, which is really exciting.” 

Rehana’s deed poll coincides with the 125th anniversary of the station opening. Marylebone was considered modest in design at the time due to budgetary constraints, but fast forward to the present day, is considered as one of the jewels in the crown of London’s rail offering.  

As part of the celebrations, a train naming ceremony took place last Friday, 15 March,, and new contemporary art installations have been unveiled at the Harewood Avenue entrance of the station.   

These displays tell the story of the station over time, with historical archive material and pictures documenting the construction of the station, the challenges it faced during WW2 and the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, before exploring the recent period of growth under Chiltern Railways. 

Vanessa Russell, HR Director at Chiltern Railways, said: 

“Working in HR, we don’t often get requests that take us by surprise, but this is a first for me and my team as we change Rehana’s middle name to Marylebone.  

“I think it’s a testament to the importance of the station and the community feel and importance it has. Compared to other London stations, Marylebone is small but mighty. It has a rich history, and I’m touched that the station has had such a tangible impact on Rehana’s life. 

“Rehana has worked at Chiltern for nearly twenty years, and during that time, has done her utmost to deliver for our customers. Her pride in the station is utterly heart-warming.” 

Rehana, and her colleague Laura, are currently undergoing a charity walk between all twenty-seven stations between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street across different days in 2024. They are raising money for Safeline and The Railway Children charities. Well-wishers can donate to their JustGiving page by clicking here

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Notes to editors

  • Chiltern Railways is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe,  employing around 38,000 people and delivering around 1.5 billion passenger journeys across 10 European countries. 
  • Chiltern operates commuter/regional rail passenger services from its Central London terminus at London Marylebone along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, as well as long-distance services to the West Midlands along two routes. Services on the Chiltern Main Line run from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, with some peak-hour services to Stourbridge Junction.
  • Chiltern also runs trains on the London to Aylesbury Line to Aylesbury (with some trains terminating at Aylesbury Vale Parkway instead), on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury and Oxford to Bicester branch lines