Winners 2009:

The ATOC Station Environment Award: Chiltern Railways
The FirstGroup Skills Award: Garsdale Station [Network Rail];
Gunton Station [Stanley Hurn]
The National Rail Heritage Awards Volunteers Award: Holt Signal Box [North Norfolk Railway]
The London Underground Accessibility Award: Hazelhatch & Celbridge [Iarnród Éireann]
The Modern Railways Restoration Award: Wolverton Park [People for Places]
The Network Rail Partnership Award: Boston Lodge [Ffestiniog Railway];
Hull Paragon [First Transpennine Express]
The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award: Main Station Building Cromford [Arkwright Society];
Up Station Waiting Room Cromford [Tim Collis and Ryan Phelps]
The Invensis Rail Signalling Award:
– mechanical: Beckingham Signal Box [Network Rail]
– structure: Holt Signal Box [North Norfolk Railway]
The Ian Allan Publishing Award: Welsh Highland Railway [Welsh Highland Construction Ltd]
The Ian Allan Publishing Independent
Railway of the Year Award:
Welsh Highland Railway

Review of the Year 2009

It was only to be expected that the record number of entries received last year would not be repeated this time, but none the less a very creditable 44 were received, from all sections of the railway industry and from all parts of Britain and Ireland. As always the standard was very high, which gave the Panel of Adjudicators a busy but fascinating day when they looked at the pictures the Judges had submitted to complement their reports. Perhaps the most challenging entry to judge was the restored Welsh Highland Railway which, while a rebuild of the earlier twentieth century railway, is firmly built on the foundations of two nineteenth century lines at the northern and southern ends. There is therefore much historic infrastructure to look at, while also comparing the modern works with what has had to be replaced.

As was the case last year, the transformation of stations and other railway structures for renewed railway or totally non-railway use has been a dominant feature of this year’s entries. It is always pleasing when such stations are brought back into railway use, as at Laurencekirk on the Montrose-Aberdeen route in north-east Scotland, or indeed on re-opened lines as with IE’s Midleton station on the former Youghall line out from Cork. Several entries concentrated on restoring derelict station buildings on operational lines to other uses: offices at Cromford (the main building) and Shirebrook, and holiday accommodation in Cromford’s distinctive up side waiting room, all in the Midlands, and the Steamhouse Restaurant at Urmston on the former CLC line out of Manchester. Gunton station, on the Norwich-Cromer line, was build palatially by the local lord in the 1870s; the present owner has revived it into a comfortable private house while the stationmaster’s house at Barnstaple is now a cafe. No longer on an operational railway — the Wombourne branch was short-lived —  Tettenhall Rangers Station is the offices and field studies centre for the country park using the impressive range of surviving buildings from Tettenhall station

It is well known that many station buildings are now too large or complex for modern operational needs. Finding new uses for appropriate portions is to be lauded, especially when they form part of listed structures: at Hull Paragon the former booking hall area has been refurbished as the social enterprise Travel Extra; the former fish dock and parcels office at Middlesbrough has become the Platform Arts Project; while the Trackside Pharmacy has taken over and restored the parcels office at Bexhill.

As always there is a strong batch of entries of stations that have been fully restored, ranging from Bexhill in Sussex to wind-swept Garsdale in North Yorkshire. In Ireland, Sancton Wood’s attractive little station at Hazelhatch & Celbridge, originally a quiet rural station on the Carlow line, now sits proudly, restored to its former glory, amid a plethora of lines serving the much enlarged station on the Kildare Route Project from Dublin. While talking of commuter stations, on the LUL system work at Maida Vale has at last been completed and White City too has received considerable attention.

Not all stations can be done in one go. At Chester more work has been done to the stonework, roofs and booking hall area, while at Nottingham the huge footbridge across the station has received major attention. At Carlisle Tite’s original fireplace in the platform 3 waiting room has been restored to its former glory, while work at Settle is ongoing and will need re-assessing next year. On a larger scale the refurbishment of the train shed roof at Earl’s Court was a major undertaking, as was the transformation of the Kings Cross Eastern Range offices. At Stalybridge the distinctive glass conservatory that houses the buffet has been rebuilt. At Birmingham Moor Street station facilities have been much enhanced by the creation of the Centenary Lounge in the distinctive GWR 1930s Art Deco style.

Even modest stations can occupy substantial sites; new entrance gates, many years ago guarding the goods yard at Keighley, have now been installed at Haworth for the same purpose. At Rothley on the Great Central Railway the Ellis’s store has become a popular tea room while further north on its extension a new station is under way at Ruddington Fields using much reclaimed material on the site.

Elsewhere on the railway signal boxes and signalling have received useful attention. Among the boxes are Beckingham (near Gainsborough), Boston West Street, Leeming Bar (formerly on the Great Eastern Railway in Norfolk) on the Wensleydale Railway, and Scropton near Tutbury on the Derby-Crewe line. At Holt, on the North Norfolk Railway, the box, which we had seen previously, has now been fitted out for operational signalling, while the signalling at Swanage, also regularly seen in the Awards competition, has had a further addition with the Inner Home bracket signal.

Bridges are less in evidence this year but two additions have come our way for structures both previously entered. At Kilmarnock the viaduct has been graced with floodlighting while visitors to Podgill Viaduct near Kirkby Stephen can now appreciate its construction and lofty proportions more easily by visiting the new viewing area. Holgate Bridge, that well-known structure at the south end of York station, has undergone thorough refurbishment while the restoration of the ornate lamps gracing Mornington Street Bridge over the WCML outside Euston has been finished and they are operable.

To complete the picture the Old Engine Shed at Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway has been rebuilt and the GWR turntable from Pwllheli has at last been successfully installed at Minehead. A small shed and associated turntable for the restored PW trolley have been installed at Isfield on the Lavender Line.
This wide-ranging field of entries, both in scope and geographically, amply demonstrates the continued interest by the railway industry — in its widest sense — in the Awards competition. We thank all entrants, as well as our many friends throughout the industry, for this continued support. I would thank too my team of three dozen judges who travel to distant places without complaint, and the Panel of Adjudicators who then have the arduous but ultimately pleasurable task of reviewing all the entries before allocating the Awards. We look forward to another strong field of entries despite these testing times, in 2010.

Robin Leleux
Chairman of the Judges

News from 2009

Lord Adonis Presents the 2009 Awards

Lord Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport, presented the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards at a ceremony held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in Londonon 2nd December 2009.

He began by presenting the Ian Allan Publishing Heritage Railway of the Year Award to the Welsh Highland Railway in recognition of the successful relaying of the line through to Porthmadog and for the restoration of passenger services through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Hafod y Llyn.

This year’s Modern Railways Restoration Award for the most meritorious entry in the commercial sector went to Places for People for their project to convert part of the former London & North Western Railway workshops at Wolverton into residential units.

The Invensys Signalling Award for the best restored signal box or signalling installation was won jointly by Network Rail in the Structures section for their restoration of Beckingham signal box and by the North Norfolk Railway in the Signalling section for the preserved line’s installation at the box at Holt.

The London Underground Accessibility Award went to Iarnród Éireann (Irish Railways) for the work undertaken at Hazelhatch & Celbridge station, west of Dublin, in successfully incorporating the surviving Great Southern & Western station building in an enlarged and modernised suburban.

The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the best restored listed structure to which the Trust had contributed was won jointly by The Arkwright Society, for its work on the main station building at Cromford, and by Tim Collis and Ryan Phelps, for their restoration of the waiting room at the same station.

The FirstGroup Craft Skills Award, recognising the best use of traditional craft skills in the restoration of a building or structure, was also awarded jointly this time to Network Rail for the work undertaken at Garsdale and to Stanley Hurn for the conversion of the disused station building at Gunton into a private house.

The National Railway Heritage Awards Volunteers Award represented a further success for the North Norfolk Railway for the work in recreating a typical Midland & Great Northern Railway signal box at Holt.

The Network Rail Partnership Award was a third award where the judges felt unable to distinguish between two excellent entries. Here the award was made to First Transpennine Express for the creation of Travel Extra and to the Ffestiniog Railway for the restoration and expansion of the Old Engine shed at Boston Lodge.

The Association of Train Operating Companies’ Station Environment Award was won by Chiltern Railways for work undertaken over a number of years on many of its principal stations such as the extension of London Marylebone, the refurbishment work at Leamington Spa and the upgrading of Birmingham Moor Street.

The Transport for London Award was won by London Underground Ltd for the restoration of the Maida Vale station on the Bakerloo Line, a station that originally dated to 1915.

The Ian Allan Publishing Award, given to the best overall entry in this year’s competition, went to the Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd for the multi-million Pound scheme to restore and reopen the long-closed Welsh Highland Railway.

For further information please contact the NRHA Public Relations Officer Peter Waller at or call him on 07818 032231.

Lord Adonis to present the 2009 Awards (Devember 2009)

The NRHA committee can confirm that the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Andrew Adonis will present the 2009 awards. The Awards are due to take place at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in London on 2nd December 2009.