Winners 2010:

The ATOC Station Environment Award: First Great Western
The FirstGroup Skills Award: Bridgnorth Locomotive Works Wheel Drop [Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) plc]
The National Rail Heritage Awards Volunteers Award: Rowsley South Engine Shed Turntable [Peak Rail Turntable Restoration Group]
The London Underground Accessibility Award: Settle station [Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company]
The Modern Railways Restoration Award: Sheffield Tap [Pivovar Tap Ltd]
The Network Rail Partnership Award: Etchingham Bistro @theStation [de Etchingham Community Interest Company]
The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award: Brading station [Brading Town Council]
The InvensysRail Signalling Award:
– structures St Albans South signal box [St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust]
– signalling Woody Bay ground frame and signalling [Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Company]Further information on the restored signalling installation at Woody Bay can be found on the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust’s website.
The Transport for London Award The East London Line central stations [Transport for London (London Rail)]
The Ian Allan Publishing Award: Triangle Building at Wolverton Works [Places for People]
The Ian Allan Publishing Independent
Railway of the Year Award:
Helston Railway

Review of the Year 2010

It looked like being one of those years when the entries got off to a slow start but suddenly, in the last fortnight before the closing date, entries arrived daily, with one or two entrants asking for a couple of days’ extra grace – which was granted – to get their entries completed and safely submitted. Our final tally of fifty-one was very pleasing (and comfortably up on 2009) and was geographically spread from Aberdeen to Co. Galway, from the North Yorkshire Moors and Norfolk to mid-Wales and Snowdonia, from Kent and Sussex to Devon. The range of entrants was also most pleasing, with train operators (including LUL, TfL and Iarnrod Eireann) contributing fourteen entries, the various departments of Network Rail ten, local authorities three, private bodies, individuals and contractors eleven and the heritage railways another thirteen. We welcome this wide range of support, reflecting as it does the continuing interest of public and private bodies in conserving the historic built heritage of this country and its railway industry.

A striking feature of this year’s entries was the number of eating/drinking places which had emerged from the dilapidated shells of old station buildings. The grandest of these must beSheffield Tap in the long-disused former refreshment rooms at that well-restored and busy station. Elsewhere in the north the successful Jubilee Refreshment Rooms have been established in the surviving but run down portion of Sowerby Bridge station andMiddlesbrough station café has been resurrected, while in Sussex the village community at Etchingham have turned the disused station house into Bistro@theStation.

Such new uses for redundant stations and other buildings are always pleasing and are not confined to catering establishments. At Whitstable ChooChoo’s Day Nursery has expanded into the former parcels building, a Health Centre has been put into part ofEastbourne Station and Metal Culture has taken over parts of the historic Edge Hillstation buildings for community cultural use with offices and a gallery, while the East Wing Offices at Chester, Westgate Road Arches in Newcastle and the Up Side Buildingsat Torquay have been fully refurbished for commercial letting. Perhaps the most dramatic of these new uses is the conversion of the Triangle Building at Wolverton Park, former carriage and wagon works buildings, into housing, with many of the old features imaginatively incorporated into the design.

Plenty of work has been done on stations large (Aberdeen) and small (the waiting roomat Cressington) throughout the country. This covers whole stations like Aldgate East, Loddiswell (on the long-closed Kingsbridge branch in deepest Devon and now in domestic use), Ormskirk and Ropleycanopies as at Halifax (where the footbridge has also received attention) and Maidstone West, new GWR-style lamp standards atBridgnorth, new facilities and sympathetic repairs as at Queenstown Road (Battersea), Settle and Southfields (Wimbledon), and incorporation of new platforms at Glasgow Central and Kidderminster (SVR). What is almost a new railway has brought major refurbishment work to the four central stations of the former East London line (Rotherhithe, Shadwell, Surrey Quays and Wapping), either side of Brunel’s  Thames Tunnel, while the re-opened Western Rail Corridor linking Galway and Limerick serves the revived Gort station where the original mid-Victorian buildings have been brought back into railway use alongside the new passenger station. At Brading the town council have extended earlier successful restoration work on the main platform buildings to the island platform and signal box, neither of which are in operational railway use. South West Trains commended a raft of its stations for the ATOC Award although in practice assessment for this Award is done on a different basis.

As always we welcomed a good clutch of signal boxes and some assorted signals. Emphasising their contrast in size come the magnificent Severn Bridge Junction box at Shrewsbury; probably the largest remaining mechanical signal box in the world, and the tiny Bobby’s Box at Porthmadog, a modern recreation of an essential Victorian feature beside an exposed ground frame at the throat of this increasingly busy narrow gauge station. Spanning the years and sizes in between come the early box at Crediton, the unusually rendered box at Weaverthorpe and the striking St Albans South box which was for many years decaying beside the Midland Main Line before local restoration. Two replica signals were entered, a NER slotted bracket signal at Levisham and a very tall LNER one at Rothley,both very much in use. At Woody Bay on the revived Lynton & Barnstaple Railway a complete ground frame has been recreated with signalling almost as it was before closure in 1935. Other structures entered included the new carriage shed at Maespoeth on the revived Corris Railway and the relocation of the North London Railway war memorialfrom Richmond to Hoxton.

Civil engineering features have had a good run this year, with the major replacement ofBridge No.30 at Darnholm on the North York Moors Railway, the thorough refurbishments of Barnes Bridge over the Thames and the historic Spa Road Arch in Bermondsey, and the replacement footbridge at Highley. Somewhat more unusual was theview of the west portal of Box Tunnel, opened up by lineside clearance; we now await remedial work on the portal itself. At Stenkrith Bridge outside Kirkby Stephen theViaducts Walk over two impressive former NER viaducts (themselves recent Award winners) has been enhanced by a new car park and approach. On a more mechanical note we welcomed the turntable newly restored in the former engine shed yard at RowsleySouth (the table coming from Mold Junction) while the loco works staff at Bridgnorthlaboured equally mightily in rescuing and installing the massive early BR wheel drop from Leicester (Midland) MPD. At Sheringham the North Norfolk Railway achieved its long-awaited link with the “main line” which necessitated a new level crossing over the High Street with gates in M&GN Railway style.

It only remains for me to thank my team of three dozen judges and the Panel of Adjudicators, both of whom willingly give of their time in visiting and assessing the entries, and to the entrants themselves for their continued interest. This all makes for a strong,  lively, well-respected and continuing annual Awards competition.

Robin Leleux
Chairman of the Judges                                                          October 2010

News from 2010

Cromford’s Double Success Marked
On an overcast Friday, 6 August 2010, more than 40 guests from the entire partnership team, lead by the Arkwright Society, gathered at Cromford Station to witness the formal unveiling by Chris Green, railwayman extraordinaire and former CEO of English Heritage, of the two plaques won in the NRHA’s 2009 competition and sponsored by the Railway Heritage Trust.
Among those present were Tim Collis and Ryan Phelps, who won a plaque for their lead in restoring the former waiting room as holiday let accommodation, whilst on the other side of the line, guests had the chance to look over the office accommodation that had been created within the old station building and, particularly, to admire the excellent glazed clerestory sympathetically added to the northern end of the station in place of the previous external gentlemen’s urinal.
The first photographs shows Chris Green formally unveiling the plaque at Cromford station along with, centre, Dr Christopher Charlton OBE (Project Co-ordinator) and, right, Robert Faithorn (Chairman, Arkwright Society). The second photograph records, from left, Malcolm Woods (Railway Heritage Trust), Deborah Trebinksi (NRHA), Barbara Bowman (architect), Tim Collis (owner of the former waiting room) and Tony Tomkins (NRHA) in front of the plaque on the restored waiting room.



Holt Signalling Installation Takes Two Awards
A ceremony held on 7 July 2010 at Holt, on the North Norfolk Railway, marked the unveiling by Mike Stanbury, Secretary of the National Railway Heritage Awards management committee, of the two plaques awarded to the railway in the 2009 NRHA competition. The first of these awards, sponsored by Invensys, reflected the success of the railway in the recreation of an authentic Midland & Great Northern Railway signalling installation at the line’s western terminus. The second award, sponsored by the National Railway Heritage Awards itself and the only one to come with a cash element, was the Volunteers’ Award, reflecting the contribution made to the project, both in funding and actual installation work, by volunteers from the railway.
The photograph shows the prominent display of the two plaques shortly after the unveiling with, on the left, Roger Bell (of the North Norfolk Railway) and, on the right, Mike Stanbury.

Garsdale Station Plaque Unveiled
On Thursday 1 July 2010, Sarah McManus, National Property Manager of First Group, unveiled a plaque at Garsdale station, on the stunning Settle-Carlisle line, to mark the success of the station in winning one of the First Group Craft Skills Awards in the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards competition. The award recognised the use of traditional craft skills in the restoration of an historical railway structure. Seen here with Sarah are Patrick Cawley of Network Rail, Douglas Hodgins (Chairman of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company) and Mark Rand (Chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line).

Plaque Unveiled at Gunton Station
A ceremony was held at Gunton station, on the Norwich-Sheringham line, on Wednesday 16 June when the journalist and member of the Railway Heritage Committee Christopher Fildes unveiled plaque won by the privately-owned station in the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards. Although the station is still served by passenger trains, the main station building is now owned privately and has undergone a major restoration. Built originally at the expense of Lord Suffield, whose estate it served, the station was constructed in a much grander style than its location would normally have been merited. Sold originally in 1975, the main building has now been restored to its original splendour with the work being recognised as one of the winners of the First Group Craft Skills Award. Seen in the photograph, taken after the unveiling, are (from left to right) Christopher Fildes, John Ellis (Chairman of the NRHA) and Stanley Hurn (station owner).


Ceremony at Beckingham Signalbox
Tuesday 18 May 2010 saw a ceremony at Beckingham signalbox, an ex-Great Northern Railway box, to unveil the plaque awarded to Network Rail for its sympathetic restoration of the box in the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards. Located on the Doncaster-Gainsborough line and dating originally to 1877, the box was adjudged overall winner of the Invensys Rail Signalling Award for structures in the 2009 competition. The photograph shows the group present at Beckingham following the unveiling of the plaque.


Double Unveiling on Welsh Highland

Wednesday 26 May was a notable day in the history of the revived Welsh Highland Railway. Not only was it the day that the extension to Pont Croesor officially opened and the new halt at Nantmor dedicated to the late Dr Ben Fisher, but the railway’s triumph in the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards was recorded in the unveiling of two plaques. The success of the revived Welsh Highland Railway was recognised in two awards for 2009 — the Ian Allan Publishing Heritage Railway of the Year and the Ian Allan Publishing Award for the entry adjudged by the adjudicators to be the best in any category. In the photograph, alongside the two unveiled plaques, are, from left to right, Andy Savage (Welsh Highland Railway and NRHA), Robin Leleux (Chairman of Judges — NRHA) and David Lane (Magazine Publisher — Ian Allan Publishing Ltd).


Hull Paragon Success Marked

On Friday 7 May 2010 the commemorative plaque marking the success of the consortium behind the work at Hull Paragon in restoring the old station booking hall was unveiled at the station. With funding coming from a number of sources, it made the project a worthy winner of the Network Rail Partnership Award in the 2009 National Railway Heritage Awards. The illustration shows the unveiling of the plaque with (left to right) Vernon Barker (Managing Director, First TransPennine Express), Sue Balthazar (Travel Extra), Neil Barthorpe (Community Rail), Andy Savage (Railway Heritage Trust and National Railway Heritage Awards) and Dean Lancaster (Station Manager).