|Network Rail Partnership Award||Gleneagles station [IDP Architects, ScotRail and Network Rail]|
|Great Western Railway Craft Skills Award||Worcester Shrub Hill [Network Rail]|
|The Crossrail Award for Urban Heritage||Wakefield Kirkgate (Groundwork Wakefield]|
|NRCG Restoration Award||Chelsea River Bridge (Network Rail]|
|The London Underground
Operational Enhancement Award
|Newcastle station [East Coast Mainline Company Ltd]|
|Supporters Award||The Laird’s Waiting Room at Ladybank station [Ladybank Development Trust and Fife Historic Buildings Trust]|
|The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award||Scruton station (Wensleydale Railway Trust]|
|Stagecoach Volunteers Award||Ropley station [Mid-Hants Railway Preservation Society]|
|Siemens Signalling Award||Grosmont north end signalling [North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Network Rail]|
|The Best Entry for 2015||Farringdon station roof [London Underground]|
Review of the Year
Our entries this year not only virtually spanned the railway timetable alphabet, from new facilities in the 1864 station building at Aberystwyth to the complete renovation of the historic Toft Green Chambers at York, but also spanned the country: from the train and bus interchange at Antrim in Northern Ireland, to Oldmeldrum station building, now relocated at Milton-of-Crathes, in far north east Scotland, to the new signal box and station access at Whitwell & Reepham, in deepest Norfolk, to the refurbished roof on the former GWR’s elegant station at Newton Abbot, gateway to the holiday resorts of Devon and Cornwall. Of the regions, Northern Ireland contributed three projects as entries (the Irish Republic decided to pass this year), Wales four and Scotland an impressive eight to the overall total of 43. Heritage railways contributed eight entries, with others coming from architects, local councils, local history societies, station management trusts, museums, other local organisations and commercial undertakings outside the railway industry including Sustrans Ltd, as well as train operators and Network Rail. We are always pleased by such a wide-ranging response to our annual invitation to enter projects for the Awards.
Naturally stations dominate the entries, whether as complete buildings like Wakefield Kirkgate, or (at the other end of the scale) Scruton on the Wensleydale Railway, or parts such as the 1865 roof at Farringdon on the London Underground system, or even a whole line of them such as the five intermediate stations on the Vale of Rheidol Railway which now boast new platforms, shelters, running-in boards and lighting, all in period narrow gauge style. More new build, this time in London & South Western Railway style, and incorporating redundant materials from elsewhere, also came in at Ropley on the Mid- Hants Railway with its new waiting room. The grandeur and customer experience at Newcastle station has been enhanced both by the glazing in of the great portico and by sympathetic re-ordering of passenger amenities on the interior concourse; we hope that work on the western end of the station complex will follow soon to round off this important project. Interiors feature strongly, as at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Dumbarton Central, Kilmarnock, Newcastle Centurion Bar, New Cumnock and North Queensferry. At Edinburgh Waverley work was undertaken in the Customer Reception area while at Blackburn the exterior canopy has been refurbished and the false ceiling in the concourse removed. Major restoration and accessibility work has been done at Dover Marine (a station sadly no longer in railway service), Gleneagles, Irlam and to the Lairds Waiting Room at Ladybank while at Worcester Shrub Hill the distinctive ornate polychrome tile panels set within cast iron panels and mouldings ornamenting the Victorian Ladies Waiting Room have been carefully restored. Work on the frontage of Hammersmith (H&C Line) station, more work at Brighton and re-modelling at Whitby almost complete this section; to round it off London Underground has initiated a scheme to replace unsightly safety railings with fall arrest systems to improve visual amenity at four stations.
Three civil engineering projects were submitted. Chelsea Bridge (also known as Cremorne Bridge) over the Thames used to lead a fairly quiet life on the West London Railway but its incorporation into the busy London Overground system, not to mention regular through trains from Milton Keynes to East Croydon, has hugely increased usage; its repair and strengthening were quite a challenge. Equally challenging in its own way was the rehabilitation as a cycle way of Lumb Viaduct near Ramsbottom in Lancashire, for after closure in the sixties, BR removed the parapets, albeit dumping a lot of the stone above the arches. This hidden masterpiece crossing the River Irwell can now be crossed safely and viewed more easily. Finally in Gateshead the railway arches at Hymers Court have been attractively refurbished along with new elevations.
In common with the other entries I have noted, our signalling entries went from the small, with the (non-operational) re- instatement of several of the Ffestiniog Railway’s historic disc signals, to the very large: the re-erection (with some essential modifications) of the Falsgrave signal gantry from Scarborough not far away at the north end of Grosmont station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, via the (no longer operational) signal box at Poyntzpass in Northern Ireland. Many of our entries are redundant from railway use and often are seeking a constructive new purpose. A novel solution from Belfast National Museums was to turn the former bookstall from Portadown into a story-telling room for children.
The “smallest room” at a country station may have been adequate in days of light passenger loadings but antiquated facilities no longer find favour with today’s tourists, who also come in greater numbers. Such is the case at Oxenhope on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway where the toilet block has had to be totally rebuilt. Over the border in North Wales, the Ffestiniog Railway’s erstwhile Diffwys terminal station in Blaenau Ffestiniog had long been converted by the local council into public conveniences, although its railway antecedents were still obvious. This building, still performing its latter essential function, has been fully refurbished.
We always emphasise that small projects interest us as much as large ones, as already noted in this review. So we welcomed the restored war memorials at both Euston and Marylebone stations, and the GWR lamp standards in the Station Approach at Great Malvern. Finally some aspects of a station’s past can be revealed unexpectedly. Such was the case at High Wycombe where removal of later posters revealed the former double- sided running-in board, with distinctive GWR and BR(W) faces. This happy discovery has been duly restored (with suitable post- Beeching modifications in GWR style) in its original position.
This year we have gone fully digital in handling entries which we hope has allowed entrants much greater scope in describing and illustrating the extent of the work they have done. This is most helpful in giving both the judges and the adjudicators a fuller picture of each entry. I would also take this opportunity to ask for clear directions for locating and accessing the entry; this is particularly important with remote signal boxes and civil engineering features, and stations on long- closed lines, but may also affect where access into or onto the operational railway is necessary. As ever I have great pleasure in thanking our team of fifty or so judges who have travelled near and far to assess each entry, and our Panel of Adjudicators who had another long day in September reviewing the entries and deliberating on their respective merits. This Review has shown the great diversity of entries that we receive, and also of our entrants, and it is a pleasure to thank them once again, along with our ongoing, incoming and outgoing Sponsors, for their continued support