Winners 2008:

The ATOC Station Environment Award: South West Trains
The FirstGroup Skills Award: High Level Bridge, Newcastle [Network Rail, May
Gurney Ltd and Mott McDonald]
The National Express East Coast Volunteers Award: Kingsley & Froghall Station Up Platform and Waiting Shelter [Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc]
Rothley Station [Great Central Railway]
The London Underground Accessibility Award: Hull Paragon Interchange [Hull City Council,
Network Rail and Transpennine Express]
The Modern Railways Restoration Award: Chu Chus at the Railway Station West Kilbride
Station [Amatt Network Ltd]
The Network Rail Partnership Award: Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum,
[Darlington Borough Council]
The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award: Britannia Bridge Memorial [BRB (Residuary) Ltd]
The Transport for London Award Southgate Station [London Underground Ltd]
The Westinghouse Signalling Award:
– mechanical: Carrog Signal Box/Signalling [Llangollen Railway]
– structure: Settle Station Signal Box [Friends of the Settle
Carlisle Line]
The Ian Allan Publishing Award: ‘The Station’ Richmond, Yorkshire [Richmondshire Buildings Preservation Trust]
The Ian Allan Publishing Independent
Railway of the Year Award:
Severn Valley Railway plc
The National Railway Heritage Awards: Special Award Southgate Station [London Underground Ltd]

Review of the year 2008

Transformation of stations seems to be the over-riding theme amongst the entries this year, not just with the dramatic, as we have all seen with the opening up of Barlow’s magnificent train shed  from hisclever undercroft at St Pancras International, but in incorporating new use into hitherto eglected buildings.
Major schemes, giving valuable renewed use to important buildings and showing what can be done with imaginative thinking, were widespread. Ireland presented two such entries: in the  Republic the long-disused Waterford & Central Ireland Railway station buildings at Kilkenny have been well renovated and partially incorporated into a shopping complex, while in the North, Bellarena Station, on the Londonderry line, has become holiday accommodation. In Scotland the derelict waiting rooms at Lanark and West Kilbride have been transformed into the club room for the Clyde Model Railway Club and Chu Chus Restaurant respectively.

In England G.T. Andrews’ handsome station at Richmond (Yorkshire), long deprived of its railway and for years a garden centre, has been cleverly transformed into a real asset to the community, with cinemas, offices, small businesses and a popular café. Another innovative scheme in the north is at Hull where the bus station has been incorporated into Paragon railway station utilising a long-disused and increasingly scruffy part of the trainshed. In Lancashire the station buildings at Bamber Bridge have become the home of the South Ribble Pensioners’ Association, while further south the erstwhile waiting room at Great Malvern, a victim of last year’s excessive rain, has become a stationery shop. It would be nice to see suitable use for the newly restored Cabmen’s Building at Nottingham Midland Station.

Signal boxes feature strongly again this year, with some very sensitive work being done throughout the country by Network Rail, as well as by voluntary bodies as on the huge box at St Albans South and the Station Box at Settle. The NR entries included Bollo Lane in SW London, Culgaith in Cumbria, Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and St James Deeping in Lincolnshire. On heritage lines the boxes and associated signalling were entered at Carrog (Llangollen Railway),
Rhiw Goch (Festiniog Railway) and Ropley (Mid-Hants Railway). It is gratifying to see these essential but too easily overlooked historic lineside structures being both properly cared for within operating requirements and carefully upgraded to meet modern expectations from the staff.

Bridge entries ranged from the small to the mighty. They included replacing the ornate lamp standards on Mornington Street Bridge over Euston Station’s throat, rebuilding the station footbridge at Stamford, essential repairs to the impressive Monkwearmouth Bridge over the Wear at Sunderland and thorough rebuilding of Stephenson’s historic High Level Bridge over the Tyne at Newcastle.

Alongside the permanent way, the Mid-Hants Railway entered its renewed concrete trackside mileposts, bridge numbers and gradient posts, while the West Somerset Railway entered its turntable project at Minehead, although this is being held over until next year as it is unfinished. Some station entries have seen wholesale refurbishment, others only a part of the structure, often  as an initial or intermediate phase in on-going works. Among the former can be included the LUL stations at Bethnal Green, Elephant and Castle, Maida Vale (still incomplete and so held over until next year),  Regents Park and Southgate, Killiney station on the Dublin DART system, Lymington  Town and Swaythling in Hampshire and Rothley on the Great Central Railway.
On-going works were entered at Chester (the Gateway, frontage and roofs) while particular features were stressed at Bexhill (platform canopies and approach ramps), Denham Golf Club (the entrance pagoda which had been  destroyed by fire), Durham (passenger enhancements and insertion of lifts), Folkestone West (VSOE waiting rooms), Idridgehay, on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, (platform re-instatement), Ilkley and Keighley (K&WVR) (the Midland Railway platform canopies at both), Kingsley & Froghall on the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire (re-instatement of the up platform, which overhangs the river, and its shelter), Leamington Spa (its booking hall and gardens) and Leicester (clock tower and porte cochère). South Eastern entered its refurbished clocks at Paddock Wood and Tunbridge Wells Other stations where significant work has been done include Barrow-in-Furness, East Finchley (LUL), Grimsby Town,

Kidderminster Town (SVR), and Stoke-on-Trent. Community involvement alongside the train operator is beginning to show in enhancing the appearance of the stations on the Island Line on  the Isle of Wight. The important historic stations at Darlington North Road and Monkwearmouth, which have long been railway museums, both received thorough refurbishment, that at Darlington requiring extensive attention to the roof beams and re-slating. Heritage railways provided attractive and authentic new build by the Mid-Hants Railway with the toilet block on its platform at Alton and the Bluebell Railway replacing the long demolished buildings and canopy on platforms 1 / 2 at Horsted Keynes.

Outside factors can hinder the good work: last year we mentioned vandalism at the Britannia Bridge Memorial on Anglesey and on the roof renewals at Darlington Railway Museum; both have been made good and re-entered this year. Such problems are ever-present: we have mentioned   fire at Denham. Equally unpredictable is the weather and the Severn Valley Railway caught it
particularly badly in 2007 with widespread flooding, track washouts and damage to structures,
especially around Highley. It is a tribute to both the importance of the railway and the strength of the heritage railway movement that such damage, which could, too easily, have closed the railway, has been effectively repaired.

We received a total of 59 entries this year from all sections of the railway industry including the
national system, train and heritage railway operators, local councils, architects and private individuals.
This has made for an interesting and hard-fought competition. As always I would thank all entrants for their continued interest, my team of three dozen Judges for their widespread journeys without
complaint, and the panel of Adjudicators for undertaking another lengthy meeting. An equally strong field is anticipated for 2009.

Robin Leleux
Chairman of the Judges


News from 2008

Paul Atterbury presents the 2008 Awards(December 2008)
Paul Atterbury, familiar to millions as a result of his regular role as one of the experts on the popular BBC series Antiques Roadshow and a noted railway author, presented the 2008 National Railway Heritage Awards at a ceremony held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London today.
He began by presenting the Ian Allan Publishing Heritage Railway of the Year Award to the Severn Valley Railway in recognition of the achievement represented by the railway’s successful restoration following the damage caused by the disastrous floods during the summer of 2007.

This year’s Modern Railways Restoration Award for the most meritorious entry in the commercial sector went to Amatt Network Ltd for their two-year project to convert a previously derelict part of West Kilbride station in Scotland into Chu Chus Restaurant.

The Westinghouse Signalling Award for the best restored signalbox or signalling installation was won jointly by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line in the Structures section for their restoration of Settle Station signalbox and by the Llangollen Railway in the Signalling section for the preserved line’s installation at the restored box at Carrog.

The London Underground Accessibility Award went jointly to Hull City Council, Network Rail and Transpennine Express for the work undertaken at Hull Paragon Interchange in restoring the station’s east facade and the creation of a new bus interchange.

The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the best restored listed structure to which the Trust had contributed was won by BRB (Residuary) Ltd for repairs to the Britannia Bridge Memorial.

The FirstGroup Craft Skills Award, recognising the best use of traditional craft skills in the restoration of a building or structure, was won by Network Rail, May Gurney and Mott McDonald for the complete refurbishment of the High Level Bridge across the River Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle.

The National Express East Coast Volunteers Award was again shared. The Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc won for the complete restoration of the ex-North Staffordshire Railway Up platform at Kingsley & Froghall station whilst the Great Central Railway received its award for the restoration of the ex-Great Central station at

The Network Rail Partnership Award was won by Darlington Borough Council for the restoration and refurbishment of the Darlington Railway Museum as the Head of Steam.

The Association of Train Operating Companies’ Station Environment Award was won by South West Trains for work undertaken at its stations, to improve facilities and to minimise the impact of vandalism and graffiti.
The Transport for London Award was won by London Underground Ltd for the restoration of the Grade 2 listed Southgate station, originally dating from 1933, on the Piccadilly Line. The Ian Allan Publishing Award, given to the best overall entry in this year’s competition, went to the Richmondshire Buildings Preservation Trust for
the restoration and revitalisation of Richmond station in North Yorkshire.

Marking the final completion of the £800 million project for the restoration and conversion of the Grade 1 listed St Pancras station, London & Continental Railways Ltd received the National Railway Heritage Awards’ Special Award.



mid June 2008
half a century scored 

With over fifty entries for this years Awards, judges are sharpening their pencils and preparing to set forth on their assignments. The last entries in showed something of the geographical spread of the competition, coming from Ireland, as well as the North West and North East of England The next three months are always a busy time for our Awards’ judges; the greater willingness of entrants to participate this year is very encouraging – to our Sponsors and the organising team alike.

June 2008

Awards Competition Entries Expected to Top 50

With well over 40 entries already received, and more in the pipeline, numbers for this year’s Awards Competition are again expected to top 50, showing how valued the competition is among the wider railway industry. At the extremes of size among the latest arrivals are St Pancras International and the cabmen’s bothy at Nottingham Midland Station.

May 2008

It’s not too late to enter…..

Entries are looked for from rail and tramway operators and owners of restored historic railway buildings and structures for this year’s competition.

Now in their 29th year, these prestigious awards are supported widely throughout the UK rail industry. NRHA Chairman John Ellis comments “While entries are already coming in, we are still looking for more and this is a timely reminder to get yours in by the end of this month”

There are ten award categories this year including those for signalling equipment and installations along with craft skills, improvements in accessibility, TfL’s new London Area award and one – a cash award – to reward the vital volunteer element in rail and tramway conservation.

To qualify for judging, work on these must have been completed by, or have been nearing completion, between 1 January 2005 and 31 May 2008.

To download an entry form, click on ‘How to Enter’

April 2008: 2007 Guest presenter dies

The Awards team were saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody MP on the 18th. She was a memorable speaker and presenter at our 2007 Awards ceremony and it was our privelege to have enjoyed her presence with us. We offer our sincere condolences to her family.

April 2008 : and on Brunel’s birthday…..The 9th saw a magnificent turnout of the great and the good for the unveiling of the Ian Allan Independent Railway of the Year 2007 Award to the South Devon Railway. Unveiling the plaque – fixed to the front wall of Buckfastleigh Station whilst David Allan, Chairman of the sponsors and Alan Taylor, Chairman of the SDR Trust looked on – Guest of Honour Pete Waterman praised the SDR for their success and the superb atmosphere they provide for their visitors “an experience unchanged from that of 50 years ago”.

Whilst true, the clean, fresh image sparkling in Spring sunshine with primroses galore on the riverbank betokens a huge effort of both paid and volunteer staff to achieve it. TV crews from both the BBC and ITV, news reporters and journalists from the specialist railway press were seen in action and the whole event was rounded off by an excellent lunch on-board the Devon Pullman.

A special vote of thanks to Dick Wood – Press Officer for the SDR – for an exceptionally well organised event, that will be long remembered by all those who were fortunate enough to be there.

March 2008 : local Award ceremonies in North and South

MIND in the North
Early March saw a well attended event at the former parcels office at Bridlington station. This project to convert from parcels to an Arts Centre is an excellent example of partnership working between Network Rail and Hull and East Riding MIND.

The plaque was unveiled by Margaret Allen, Chief Executive of H&ER MIND in the presence of Jerry Swift of NR’s Community Rail; Frances Kelly – Art Development Officer for MIND; Councillor Allerston – Mayor of Bridlington; John Ellis, Jim Cornell and Chris Smyth of the Awards Committee – the ceremony being followed by coffee and a memorable cake!!

Hove too in the South
Later in the month, on a blustery concourse at Hove, Sussex station Southern’s passengers watched while Tim Collins of Stannah Lift Services fixed their award winning plaque to the wall of the adjacent lift shaft. The London Underground Accessibility Award was won by Stannah for their work on up-grading, installing and commissioning the lift within the confines of this historic building.

In attendance were Jon Stannah, Managing Director of Stannah; Brendan Bonham of Network Rail; Paul Trevett of Southern Railways and Tony Tomkins of the Awards Committee standing in for Mike Ashworth of LUL who was unable to make the ceremony.

February 2008 : a new Awards sponsor

It is with great pleasure that we welcome the commitment of tfl –Transport for London as new sponsors. Their Award will recognise the very best in sensitive restoration or development of a London area station and its facilities whether of Listed status, or within a Conservation area or with features of architectural or historical erit. TfL have agreed sponsorship for a three year period starting with the 2008 Awards.

February 2008 : increased commitment from Sponsors

After the success of the 2007 Awards last December, we are delighted that both the Heritage Railway Association and J & JW Longbottom have confirmed their increased financial support of the Awards – both for a further three years.

Without the active financial support of our Sponsors, the Awards would not be the success they are; with it, we can look forward to continued interest in the work that is being done to conserve, restore and re-generate our historic railway infrastructure.

January 2008 : Guest presenter confirmed 

We are delighted to announce that Paul Atterbury – of Antiques Roadshow fame – is to be our Guest presenter at the Awards Ceremony in December 2008. Paul is well known for his love of railways and the history behind them as recognised in his books about branch lines. We look forward to welcoming him to the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, again the venue for the Awards, later this year.