Tuesday 11 July was a busy day for National Railway Heritage Awards chairman Andy Savage who had the pleasure of attending three events in Scotland where plaques – marking the success of the entrants in the 2022 competition – were officially unveiled.
The first of the three was at Stirling station where Network Rail had been awarded the GWR Craft Skills Award for the stunning work undertaken in restoring the roof, a an important feature of this Grade A listed station. The plaque was unveiled by Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, with Ronnie Maher from FirstGroup. A display of the project with representatives from the contractors involved provided the attendees with information about the work which was reinforced after the unveiling by Eddie McCue, Works Delivery Manager of Network Rail for the project, who described the work in more detail.
Historically, Glasgow Queen Street station was set back from George Street, with the structure behind buildings that fronted the road. The constrained nature of the station site – the presence of tunnels immediately to the north meant expansion in that direction was not possible – and the need top lengthen the platforms to accommodate longer trains meant that a radical solution was required. The extensive work included the restoration of much of the station’s historic infrastructure allied to the construction of a modern concourse that opened up onto George Street. This dramatic project was given a Chairman’s Special Award at the ceremony in December 2022 in the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The plaque was officially unveiled in Glasgow in the presence of Bill Reeve, Head of Rail for Transport Scotland.
Inspired by the HighLine in New York – indeed the name used for the restored structure, Bowline, is a pun – the restoration of the long-disused viaduct at Bowling and its integration into a linear park and cycleway earned Scottish Canals the Network Rail Community Award. The plaque here, affixed to one of the abutments, was unveiled by Tricia Hill, of Scottish Canals, Alex Hynes and Andy Savage.

The plaque at Stirling station following its unveiling on Tuesday 11 July 2023, with, from left, Andy Savage, Chairman of NRHA, Ronnie Maher, Property Director Rail of First Group (representing the sponsors GWR), and Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway.

The restored roof at Stirling station; the workmanship – in particular the careful reuse of the Ballachulish slates, the incorporation of replacement cast-iron rain water goods and the intricate lead work – made the project, entered by Network Rail, a well-deserved winner of the GWR Craft Skills Award at the 2022 National Railway Heritage Awards.

Glasgow Queen Street’s unveiled plaque with, from left, Andy Savage, Bill Reeve, Head of Rail for Transport Scotland, and Maggie Hoey, General Manager for Glasgow Queen Street from ScotRail. Network Rail

The interior of the ‘new’ Glasgow Queen Street – a blend of the restored old with the creation of a modern concourse; a building that now emphasises the railway’s presence in the city centre and the winner of the Chairman’s Special Award at the 2022 National Railway Heritage Awards.

With Alex Hynes on the left, Tricia Hill, Head of Placemaking at Scottish Canals, in the centre, and Andy Savage on the right, the newly-unveiled plaque on the Bowline Viaduct at Bowling catches the sunlight. Network Rail

The restored Bowline Viaduct at Bowling – the name is based on a pun of the New York HighLine – has seen the Grade B structure, which deteriorated significantly in the years since the railway over it closed in 1964, restored as part of a cycle route and linear park. The work undertaken saw Scottish Canals as the worthy winners of the Network Rail Community Award at the 2022 National Railway Heritage Awards.