THREE heritage railways have won prestigious prizes in this year’s National Rail Heritage Awards.
The Supporters Award for the best small project went to The New Glyn Valley Tramway & Industrial Heritage Trust for its conservation and restoration of the original Glyn Valley Tramway locomotive shed at Glyn Ceiriog.
Volunteer input is essential for the successful completion of many structural projects on heritage railways, a factor recognised by the Stagecoach Volunteers Award. This year it went to the Severn Valley Railway plc for its ongoing work in bringing Arley station back to pristine condition.
Effective signalling is essential on any railway and heritage railways often achieve this by using redundant structures and equipment from the national system; such was the case with the Bluebell Railway with its new Kingscote signalbox and signalling. It used a signalbox from Brighton and installed a miniature lever frame from Clapham Junction earning them the Siemens Signalling Award.
The NRHA Award for the overall Best Entry for 2016 was presented in memory of Deborah Trebinski, the awards manager for many years, who sadly died from cancer aged only 58, and to celebrate her considerable contribution to the awards over the past 12 years. It went to Kier Construction & King’s Cross Partnership for their remarkable transformation of the disused King’s Cross Midland Goods Shed complex into a supermarket, cookery school and events venue, where the original ironwork stands above the grocery shelves.
The Taylor Woodrow Partnership Award was made to the Port of Dover for its sympathetic conservation of the former Dover Marine Station Building for continuing use as a cruise terminal.
The Great Western Railway Craft Skills Award, recognising the best use of traditional craft skills in the restoration of a building or structure, was made to London Underground for the skilful removal, conservation and reinstatement of the Paolozzi mural mosaics at its Tottenham Court Road station, as part of the extensive Crossrail works.
The Urban Heritage Award, sponsored by MTR Crossrail, recognises the success of a train operator in enhancing the environment of a significant urban station in its care, while harmonising its historic ambience with modern passenger requirements. It was awarded to Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Ltd for its imaginative work at its busy James Street Station in Liverpool.
The Contractors Award concentrates on historic civil engineering structures on the railway and was given to Iarnród Éireann for its refurbishment and strengthening of the magnificent Boyne Viaduct at Drogheda.
The London Underground Operational Enhancement Award recognises significant operational improvements at a station that respect its heritage character. It was made to Virgin Trains for its work in bringing back to life the long-neglected West Side Buildings at Stoke-on-Trent station.
The Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the best restored structure, supported by funding from the trust, was won by Network Rail Property for its regeneration work in restoring Corrour station and signalbox for overnight accommodation.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP presented the 2016 National Railway Heritage Awards at a ceremony held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London.