2021 Winners

BAM Nuttall Partnership Award Kilmarnock station (Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust)
GWR Craft skills Award Victoria station arcade (Transport for London)
Arch Company Urban Heritage Award Knaresborough station (Gorilla Brothers Ltd, Northern, Network Rail)
Costain Structures Award Auch Viaduct (Story Contracting and Network Rail)
London Underground Operational Enhancement Award Hanwell station (Transport for London and MTR)
Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award Newcastle Central (LNER)
Hendy & Pendle Trust Volunteers Award Chelfham (Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Community Interest Co)
Network Rail Community Award Saltash station (Saltash Town Council) and Stow station house (Stow Community Trust)
Southeastern Commercial Restoration Award Appledore station (Network Rail)
NRHA Signalling Award Shrewsbury (Severn Bridge Junction) signalbox (Network Rail)
NRHA Minor Scheme Award West Runton signing-in board (Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia and Dura Composites)
Theo Steel Memorial Award Wallingford station (Cholsey & Wallingford Railway)
Greater Anglia Award for Best Overall Entry North West Multimodal Transport Hub (Translink)


Review of the Year

When we were preparing our fully illustrated book Restoration Rewarded in 2019, commemorating forty years of the Awards, we looked at annual entry figures over those years. Over the last twenty years, the number of entries each year has been in the forties or fifties, although they peaked in the sixties in 2012 and 2013. So, we were heartened that last year, with the Covid-19 pandemic taking a grip on the country, we still received 41entries but were forced to hold the ceremony on-line. We were therefore amazed to receive almost seventy entries this year, although in practice quite a few were subsequently postponed as being insufficiently completed to allow judging to do them justice. We look forward to being able to consider these in 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter. We also, as sometimes happens, considered together the two schemes submitted separately at both Eridge and Knaresborough. This still gave the Adjudicators nearly sixty schemes to consider. One consequence of this significant total was their recommendation that three additional awards be made this year, for signal boxes, minor schemes, and a Chairman’s Special Award to be announced at the Awards Ceremony. 

The range of entrants was accordingly pleasingly wide and included community groups, local councils, commercial undertakings and individuals as well as the national transport undertakings and their contractors, and heritage lines, in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Three of the community groups were in Scotland, at Kilmarnock, Saltcoats and Stow, with another at Birkdale in Southport and the fifth one at West Runton in North Norfolk. City of Edinburgh and Saltash represented the local councils while Loftco in South Wales and Project One London Ltd brought in commercial schemes in the former Barry Docks, based on Barry goods shed, and Ingatestone respectively. The artist Leo du Feu entered his studio at Burntisland station while Gorilla Brothers Ltd entered their micro pub at Knaresborough station. 

Of the three contractors who entered projects this year, Barhale in Edinburgh were a newcomer, putting in the refurbished Coltbridge Viaduct in conjunction with the City Council. Story Contracting were also busy in Scotland, with important work on the Bishopton Aqueduct in Glasgow and Auch Viaduct near Tyndrum. The range of entries from Colt Construction was wider, encompassing the roof at Hebden Bridge, the signal boxes at Hexham and Wylam and new improved rainwater downpipes at Huddersfield station. The range of entries emanating from the heritage sector was also wide and varied from the small, the Spooner Graves at Beddgelert (The Welsh Highland Railway Heritage group), to the very large, the Brunel canopy from Maidenhead, now re-sited at Wallingford by the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway. The East Somerset Railway put in new and refurbished work at their Cranmore station, the expanding Lynton & Barnstaple Railway submitted their newly revived station at Chelfham, now awaiting tracklaying, while the Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway Museum has got as far as recovering the former station platforms at Invergarry, northeast of Fort William. Rounding this off, the Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society has restored the old Southwold Railway goods shed at Blythburgh and the Severn Valley Railway has done much remedial work, including reinstating decorative features on its Falling Sands Viaduct outside Kidderminster. 

There was a similar positive response from the various Train Operating Companies on both sides of the water. LNER headed the lists with five entries from stations the length of their system, including the Victorian Gentlemen’s Toilets at Newcastle, stonework repairs and rebuilt underpass at Durham, the re-sited Travel Centre at York as part of the reorganisation of the concourse there, canopy and lighting works at Doncaster and the micropub at Grantham which gives a new use to otherwise empty parts of the station building. In the north, Northern Trains has done useful work at Knaresborough while moving into eastern England, Greater Anglia entered the work it had done on both the station house at Bury St Edmunds and the remnants of the station building at Saxmundham where a disastrous fire had destroyed the upper storey. Trenitalia 2C2 submitted their extensive refurbishment of the 1950s booking hall at Grays, itself a rebuild after World War II bomb damage. Transport for London entered the restored arcade at Victoria Station, originally built by the Metropolitan District Railway in 1909–11, and the former GWR station at Hanwell out to the west. 

Moving on southwards, Govia Thameslink entered the restored waiting shelter at Ockley and their work on the station buildings at Eridge. Over in Wales, Transport for Wales submitted restored rooms at both Bangor and Llandudno stations while two larger projects came in from the island of Ireland, each affecting former important terminal stations: in Dublin the former Broadstone station had closed to passengers back in 1937 and its associated maintenance shed turned over to repairing buses until 1986. Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) has restored these long derelict buildings with the intention of maintaining the Dublin bus fleet there. In the north the surviving terminal station at Derry/Londonderry Waterside was badly damaged in the 1970s and for nearly forty years trains made do with a temporary platform alongside. Now Translink have built a modern structure linking the main buildings and restored the trainshed into a fine concourse suitable for railway, commercial and community purposes, the whole is now known as North West Multimodal Transport Hub

Various departments of Network Rail put in the rest of the entries, large (Queen Street Station in Glasgow, entered on behalf of Scotland’s Railway, which had its frontage onto George Square redeveloped while retaining its historic trainshed) and small (the clock tower adorning Bognor Regis station) so widely varied, both in location and nature. Three footbridges were entered: at Eridge, Narborough and Newtown (Powis) along with vital (but largely unseen by the public) repairs to Ribblehead Viaduct. No less than five signal boxes were entered: Abergavenny, Greenford (East), Pantyffynnon, Shrewsbury (Severn Bridge Junction) and Valley (near Holyhead), to add to those entered by Colt Construction. The substantial roof and walling structures at Paddington, Preston and Chester had important remedial work done while restoration work on the canopies at Chippenham and Pembroke Dock stations was entered. Finally, the fine station building at lonely Appledore, on the edge of Romney Marsh in Kent, has been restored ready for commercial letting. 

So, a busy year for the Awards with a good number of entries thereby enabling a strong field for each award. But these results would not have been possible without the very significant input from a large team of volunteers that make this competition possible. This includes our team of judges managed by their chairman, the Adjudicators led by their chairman as well as the the others that organise the Awards Ceremony, the local plaque unveiling ceremonies, manage the publicity and website. Our thanks go to all of them and to our sponsors and of course to all those who entered; collectively they make our annual Awards competition what it is.