|Network Rail Partnership Award||Pitlochry Station 150th Anniversary Restoration [Scotrail and Pitlochry in Bloom]|
|FirstGroup Craft Skills Award||Hardingham Signal Box [Nigel Teulon and Friends]|
|The Crossrail Award for Urban Heritage||Nottingham Hub Project [Network Rail, Nottingham City Council & East Midlands Trains]|
|The Restoration Award||Crook O’Lune East Viaduct Restoration 2013 [Lancashire County Council]|
|The London Underground
Operational Enhancement Award
|Ballochmyle Viaduct Refurbishment [Carillion Rail & Network Rail]|
|The Supporters Award supported by
J & JW Longbottom
|Levisham Station Lamp Room [North York Moors Railway]|
|The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award||Ribblehead Stationmaster’s House [Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust]|
|The Volunteers Award||Tryfan Junction Station Building [Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group-Grwp Treftadaeth Rheilffordd Ucheldir Cymru]|
|The Signalling Award supported by
the Heritage Railway Association
|Harbour Station Signalling Scheme [Ffestiniog Railway Society]|
|The NRHA Best Entry for 2014||Edinburgh Waverley Station Major Refurbishment [Network Rail]|
Review of the Year
The wide appeal of the National Railway Heritage Awards, both geographically and throughout all sections of the railway industry, is maintained this year with our 51 entries: Scotland providing six, Wales three and the Irish Republic one. Entries were received from many private individuals and Friends groups and supporting Trusts, as well as architects, contractors, county and district councils and a parish church, in addition to the expected ranks of heritage railways, train operators and departments of Network Rail. We can never predict where the entries will fall; this year, most surprisingly, London and the South East were fairly bare compared to more distant regions, which gave us something of a challenge when organising the two judging visits to each entry.
As ever the size and scope of the entries varied, from the extensive works at Nottingham and Edinburgh Waverley, to the tiny recreated Lamp Room at Levisham station in North Yorkshire, replacing the original burnt down nearly forty years ago. The ruinous North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways station at Tryfan Junction has been carefully rebuilt to grace the Welsh Highland Railway while another long forgotten station, Shrewsbury Abbey, is beginning to be resurrected; the storm damaged station at Dawlish has been repaired. Stations from the four corners of the UK have been attended to, including Pitlochry in the Highlands, Llandudno in Conwy, Penzance in Cornwall and Kings Lynn in Norfolk. In between come North Queensferry in Fife, Frodsham and Helsby in Cheshire, Ridgmont in Befordshire, Battersea Park and Peckham Rye in London and Frome in Somerset, while over the water Kildare must be included. In some cases parts of the station building are being transformed by a tenant or supporting group for other purposes. Parts of the station complex were also entered at Dorridge (the Waiting Room), Harrogate Tap (former refreshment rooms) and Worcester Shrub Hill. The early concrete station house at Helmsdale, in Sutherland, and the isolated Stationmaster’s House at Ribblehead, have both been fully refurbished as holiday lets.
From the age of cast iron and glass, ornate canopies have long been appreciated at a station, if not an unmixed blessing, and never more so than the decorative Midland Railway ones at Hellifield, now freshly restored with the wyvern and insignia clearly evident. Other canopies and roofs receiving attention were at Faringdon, Kings Cross (between platforms 8 and 9), Knaresborough and Scarborough, where the former Excursion Station has been rescued from dereliction and now awaits internal fit-out as artist’s studios and exhibition space. Other stations where work has been done include Brighton and Newcastle as well as the facade to the Piccadilly Line station at South Kensington and the lamps outside Great Malvern station. Not a station, but at Perth, the old carriage shed has been restored for renewed operational use; few such simple industrial structures remain restored and operational.
Signalling works have traditionally been an important element in the Awards. Signal boxes have been restored or worked on at Hardingham (privately removed from Snettisham on the old Hunstanton line in Norfolk), Brading (along with parts of the station) on the Isle of Wight, Leek Brook in North Staffordshire and Pinesway Signal Box on the Gartell Light Railway in Somerset, where also a gantry signal from nearby Templecombe has been reconstructed. At Porthmadog in Gwynnedd the Ffestiniog Railway has built a new signal box in traditional narrow gauge style, with appropriate signals, to accommodate the extensive resignalling of the station consequent upon the arrival of the Welsh Highland Railway.
Civil engineering projects also come within the scope of the Awards, and this year we welcomed no less than seven viaducts or bridges plus the restored tunnels on the former Somerset & Dorset line outside Bath, now an integral part of a new cycleway. Long regarded as one of the most striking structures of its type in Scotland at 175 feet high, and with a graceful arch of no less than 181 feet wide, Ballochmyle Viaduct over the Water of Ayr has undergone careful strengthening and remedial work to fit it to carry increased freight loads at higher line speeds. Sadly no longer carrying trains, only pedestrians, cycles and horses, the impressive East Viaduct at Crook O’Lune, outside Lancaster, has been repaired, making its companion West Viaduct, a couple of hundred yards away, now look dowdy; together they cross a great curve in the River Lune. Other bridges include the Victoria Viaduct over the north end of the station at Carlisle, Bridge 31 at Gotherington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, Halfpenny Bridge at Bath and the footbridge at Wylam Station outside Newcastle. On this latter point, many will remember the long footbridge over the platforms at Kings Cross which was removed as part of that station’s refurbishment; it has now been re-erected over the station at Ropley on the Mid-Hants Railway. One most unusual civil engineering projects was also entered: the archaeological works underpinning the new operating and training centre in the Engineers Triangle beside York station. The excavation of the important remains on this sensitive site revealed the foundations of the locomotive shed complex developed from the 1840s. Although re-buried – the site is much lower now than the surrounding land – the structure of the new building has been carefully positioned to avoid their undue disruption. Once the public can be made aware of what has been done by website and display the Awards can be fully involved.
Memorials are not rare as entries and this year we received three, the restored Great Northern Railway war memorial at Kings Cross, the famous gravestones at Bromsgrove commemorating two locomotive men who died on the notorious Lickey Incline, and Stephenson’s statue at Newcastle; the ‘Father of the Railways’. This is an appropriate point to conclude this review.
It remains for me to thank our team of fifty or so judges who have certainly been kept busy under the direction of our joint Chairmen of Judges, and our Panel of Adjudicators who had another long day in September deliberating on the respective merits of the entries. As always it is a pleasure too to thank our friends throughout the railway industry for their continued sponsorship and support. As the Awards are in good shape and enjoy a strong standing within the industry we look forward to this continuing.
Chairman of the Adjudicators