2022 Winners

BAM Nuttall Partnership Award Sleaford station (Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership)
GWR Craft skills Award Stirling station (Network Rail)
Arch Company Urban Heritage Award Aberdeen station (Scotrail)
Translink Structures Award Tidenham tunnel (Greenways and Cycleroutes Ltd)
London Underground Operational Enhancement Award Sudbury Hill station (Transport for London)
Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award Rewley Road swing bridge (Oxford Preservation Trust)
Hendy & Pendle Trust Volunteers Award Amerton signal box (Staffordshire Narrow Gauge Railway Ltd)
Network Rail Community Award Bowline viaduct, Bowling, Glasgow (Scottish Canals)
National Highways Award
Wolferton station (Richard Brown)
Southeastern Commercial Restoration Award Levenshulme South  (Station South Community Interest Co)
Chairman’s Special Awards Bennerley Viaduct (Railway Paths Ltd)
Glasgow Queen Street (Network Rail on behalf of Scotlland’s Railway)
Greater Anglia Award for Best Overall Entry Kettering station (Network Rail)


Review of the Year

The 2022 competition again attracted responses from its usual wide range of entrants allowing a strong field from the 51 entries judged.

Stations, in whole or specific parts of them, have been the bedrock of Awards entries from the outset; this year they numbered just over a half of all entries.

The significant numbers coming in from community groups, private individuals and commercial outlets. Outside the national railway, Leeming Bar was entered by the Wensleydale Railway. Transport for London entered two, both of which have had lifts incorporated to aid stepfree access for passengers. Sudbury Hill was an early example of Charles Holden’s  ‘Sudbury Box’ style often characterized as ‘a brick box with a concrete lid’; the other is Wimbledon Park on the District Line. Govia Thameslink Railway joined in with accessible toilets at Letchworth,  platform fencing at Ham Street station near Ashford and additional work at Eridge station near Tunbridge Wells. Contractors joined Network Rail with two entries: Spence Refit Ltd with the restoration of the west façade of Macmillan House (Block B) at Paddington and Twinfix with the reglazing of the roofs to platform 7 plus the concourse at Aberdeen station.

Other Network Rail entries are spread throughout the country. At Wellingborough and Kettering, substantial work was done on the distinctive Midland Railway iron platform canopies to accommodate electrification gantries, the goods shed at Wellingborough also receiving long awaited attention. Further renovation work to the roof at Stirling, the roof and façade received attention at Eastbourne and the canopies at Bradford-on Avon and Wrexham. Also,the refurbishment of the station’s fabric at Lanark.

Signalling & Signal boxes have been a feature of the railway scene for a hundred and fifty years and we have seen plenty from both the public and heritage sectors in the annual Awards competition over the years, many winning awards. This year, out of the 51 entries judged (another five have been held over to 2023 as unfinished) seven were signal boxes with another concentrating on restored signals. These included Network Rail’s fine working signal box at Garsdale, high on the Settle& Carlisle line, the redundant Midland Railway (MR) style box at Lowdham, on the Nottingham to Lincoln line which has been moved to a new site well clear of the running lines, and a third MR box at Peak Forest South outside Buxton, entered by Colt Construction Ltd. Another relocated signal box is the North Staffordshire Railway example from Waterhouses, whichhad controlled access to the erstwhile Leek & Manifold Railway exchange sidings, now on the Amerton Railway at Stowe-by-Chartley, entered by Staffordshire\ Narrow Gauge Railway Ltd. In the south of England Brading Town Council entered Brading signal box, the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership Bere Alston signal box and the Dean Forest Railway, the signal box (ex-Maesmawr) and signalling at its present Parkend terminus. The Severn Valley Railway entered its repaired and renewed GWR bracket signals at Bewdley.

Community involvement has been prominent this year were community groups who contributed nine entries. These ranged from the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (CRP) at Haltwhistle and the Poacher Line CRP at Sleaford, to Nairn Men’s Shed on the south platform there. The Devon & Cornwall CRP has already been mentioned. Two Community Interest Companies entered, at Levenshulme South station in Manchester and the re-working of the Old Parcels Office by Artspace at Scarborough. Other community projects were at Colinton Tunnel Edinburgh (murals along the structure), Hunmanby, where the Friends there have installed a reproduction North Eastern Railway tiled route map, and at Dumbarton where ScottishCanals have restored the Bowline Bridge to aid community use.

Private and Commercial Entrants were another prominent group, with five individuals or couples submitting stations which they have renovated, usually for holiday letting, and three commercial concerns who have taken a part of a station for their premises. Three of the restored stations are in remote locations: Cashelnagor which lies on the Burtonport Extension of the erstwhile Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway in the far north of Ireland (Mr G and Mrs J Kelly), Strathcarron which lies on the descent to Stromeferr and Kyle of Lochalsh (Mr R Allison an Ms L Raby) and Hassendean on the erstwhile Waverley Route in the Scottish Borders (Tom and Anne-Marie Pyemont). Coming south, Mr M and Mrs C Benson have restored the ticket office at Allerston station on the meandering branch which linked Seamer with Pickering, while Mr R Brown has returned the Royal Station at Wolferton, adjacent to the Sandringham Estate, to pristine condition. From commercial entrants we received the Slice Pizza retail unit at Manchester Oxford Road (Slice Pizzerias Ltd), the Tite & Locke pub, now occupying buildings at the end of platform 3 at Lancaster station (Lancaster Brewery Holdings Ltd with Network Rail), and the York Tap, the former station tea rooms at York and now a comfortable pub (York Tap Ltd and Pivovar Ltd).

Civil engineering features were fewer this year, with two tunnels – Tidenham Tunnel outside Chepstow on the old Wye Valley line (Greenways and Cycle Routes Ltd) and Colinton tunnel in Edinburgh, already mentioned – and station footbridges at Haltwhistle and Narborough. Four bridges/viaducts complete the picture; at Oxford there is the restored Rewley Road Swing Bridge which took the early (1851) line over a local canal into the LNWR (later LMS and BR(LMR) Rewley Road station (Oxford Preservation Trust). Up in Scotland the Bowline Bridge has been mentioned, while in Glasgow the New Clyde Bridge has been impressively refurbished by Taziker with Network Rail. Dwarfing all these though by its sheer length is the lattice iron Bennerley Viaduct over the Midland main line in the Erewash Valley north of Nottingham, refurbished by Railway Paths Ltd  with the public now able to cross it.

A feature of the awards are the handful of entries that do not fit in the categorisations above but add an important dimension to the competition. Prominent among these are two very different ones. The distinctive illuminated train destination boards on the District Line platforms 3/4 at Earls Court originated in the decade after the line was electrified in the 1900s and have been modified since to allow for changing operational needs and destinations but remain popular with passengers. Deep in mid-Wales the revived Talyllyn Railway (TR) inherited an unusual method of watering its locomotives up the line near Abergynolwyn. This was a long, fixed overhead trough fed by an adjacent stream. Supported on slate and stone pillars to locomotive height, the outer end sported a removable trough which reached across to the locomotive tank filler. The TR has now rebuilt Tŷ Dŵr

Two memorials came in from Network Rail, the war memorial at Dover and the new information board beside the Queen Eleanor Cross outside Charing Cross station. This popular local landmark is a Victorian reconstruction of the thirteenth century original destroyed during the upheavals of the 1640s. Also in London, Transport for London entered the porter’s lodge at Bond Street.

Our usual huge thanks go to our entrants without whom there would not be a competition, and to our sponsors who make organising the competition possible. The widespread nature of the entries proved more than usually challenging but as usual the judges rose to it, as did the Adjudicators when it came to determining the winners and runners-up.