The RailStaff Awards 2019


The RailStaff Awards Hall of Fame

Listed below are a list of all the winners, both past and present, that have been awarded a RailStaff Award.

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Cameron O'Connell

Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Cameron O'Connell, Amey

Cameron has shown excellent technical skills, passion and innovation while helping deliver a better service for passengers through his work on the East Midlands area and West Hampstead signalling power upgrade projects.

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He has successfully taken a lead role in managing surveys on site and is in charge of the Amey Consulting Rail (Birmingham) close calls register - an important tool for reporting which contributes to the reduction of risks or hazards.


1st Runner-up: Carl Braid, telent Technology Services Ltd

2nd Runner-up: Christopher Sadler, HS2 Ltd.

Neil Wightman

Charitable Person or Team of the Year

Winner: Neil Wightman, Network Rail

Neil pledged to complete at least one obstacle course race a month throughout the year to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, following his dad’s diagnosis in 2016.

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By the end of 2018, he will have taken on nine Tough Mudders, two Tartan Warriors, two MacTuffs, a Badass Mucker and a Winter Wolf run, as well as several other walking and running events - one of which was the Glencoe Challenge, a 26-mile walk through the Scottish mountains.

He quickly overtook his £1,000 fundraising target and has helped raise awareness about the condition.


1st Runner-up: Carys Thomas, Great Western Trains

2nd Runner-up: Felix Huddersfield, Transpennine Express

Garry Andrews

Control, Signalling & Telecoms Person or Team of the Year

Winner: Garry Andrews, telent Technology Services Ltd

Responsible for training and mentoring a third of the UK rail industry’s operational telecoms Person In Charge Of Testing (PICOTs), Garry is passionate about developing individuals to help bridge the skills gap and increase the talent pool to keep the railway running safely and on time. During a 30-year career, Garry has worked on many high-profile projects, collaborating with both customers and supply chain while gaining a wealth of experience and has become renowned for his rail industry knowledge.

1st Runner-up: Mike Lewis, Siemens Mobility Limited

2nd Runner-up: Signalling Innovations Group, Network Rail

Encarna Huerta

Depot Person or Team of the Year

Winner: Encarna Huerta, GoVia Thameslink Railway Ltd

Encarna Huerta carries out all the administrative tasks needed behind the scenes to ensure that others in the Bedford teams get paid correctly, have their leave applications processed and that purchase orders are raised so that they have all the necessary tools, equipment and uniforms needed to carry out their daily tasks. She is also not afraid to get her hands dirty, assisting the cleaning team when they are shorthanded or just putting away stores deliveries, unasked and often unassisted.

1st Runner-up: Old Oak Common Depot Closure Team, Great Western Railway

2nd Runner-up: Scott Richards, GTR

James Featherstone

Graduate of the Year

Winner: James Featherstone, Network Rail

James’ communication and organisational skills saw him become the Midlands lead for the Safe by Design Young Engineers Forum within a matter of months of joining. He is the graduate liaison on Network Rail’s BIM Discipline Review Group, the civils lead on the graduate Technical Training Steering Group and leads engineering engagement in his region. James does this alongside his training scheme and working towards professional chartership.

1st Runner-up: Danny Matthews, Great Western Railway

2nd Runner-up: Inge-Sarah Andersen, Network Rail

Graeme Brindle

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Graeme Brindle, Amey

With a career spanning 45 years of electrical design, commissioning, maintenance and project management, Graeme Brindle lives and breathes railways.

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He’s used his extensive knowledge and experience to improve safety, implement innovation and develop generations of electrical engineers. 

Nominations came falling in for Graeme, with one saying that, blessed with an unfathomable knowledge of electrical engineering, a deep-rooted passion for the industry and a unique sense of humour, it is “impossible not to be charmed” by him.


1st Runner-up: John Jebson, McGinley Support Services (Infrastructure) Limited

2nd Runner-up: Peter Bowes, Virgin Trains West Coast

ScotRail Communications Team

Marketing & Comms Person or Team

Winner: ScotRail Communications Team, ScotRail

The ScotRail communications team won widespread plaudits for its work during the Beast from the East, which caused significant transport disruption across Scotland. The team worked tirelessly for the duration of the storm to communicate effectively with customers during a very challenging situation. During the five days of the storm, the ScotRail Twitter team dealt with 26,000 incoming messages – more than four times the average figure for five days. 

1st Runner-up: Stuart Humphreys, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Germaine Mbabi, GTR

Paul Arnill

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Winner: Paul Arnill, Land Sheriffs LTD

A railway bylaw enforcement officer for Greater Anglia, Paul interacts with a huge number of commuters on train services and at stations while on his patrols. Colleagues said Paul has a history of exceptional customer service and has a natural ability to engage with the public. He constantly engages with customers in a positive way and is actively helping to increase customer perception regarding safety and security on board trains and at stations.

1st Runner-up: Alex Lucas, Greater Anglia

2nd Runner-up: Kevin Kramer, CrossCountry

Kirsty Devlin

Project Manager Of The Year

Winner: Kirsty Devlin, ScotRail

Kirsty was project manager for the launch of ScotRail’s Class 365 trains, acquired from GTR as a contingency due to delays in the delivery of the new Class 385 trains. She was responsible for bringing in ten new trains in record time - just five months. It is a remarkable achievement that this project went from conception to full delivery in so short a time. Kirsty deserves a massive amount of credit for leading this.

1st Runner-up: Darryl White, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Andy Mooney, Costain

Scott McKavett

Rail Engineer of the Year

Winner: Scott McKavett, Network Rail

Scott McKavett, a senior project engineer within Infrastructure Projects Northern Programme, is on a mission of continuous improvement in project delivery. He is proactive, collaborative, efficient and flexible. He goes the extra mile in response to stakeholders needs and not only meets, but exceeds, customers’ and clients’ expectation. During the last 12 months, Scott has made an exceptional effort to innovate and improve in many areas, and in doing so has greatly helped the programme to successfully deliver its goals.

1st Runner-up: Melanie Osborne, Amey Consulting

2nd Runner-up: Andrew Thompson, Mott MacDonald

Emergency Intervention Units

Rail Infrastructure Person or Team

Winner: Emergency Intervention Units, British Transport Police

The Emergency Intervention Units (EIU) are specialist blue-light vehicles crewed by a police officer and a mobile operations manager from Network Rail. There are currently six EIUs, based on the Wessex, Anglia, Kent, Sussex, Western and LNE-EM routes. The units undertake preventative patrols when not responding to incidents. Last year, the teams responded to 1,429 incidents, including dealing with trespassers, suicidal interventions, supporting police operations and dealing with level crossing failures, stalled and trapped trains.

1st Runner-up: Thameslink Programme, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Anglia Route Tasking Team, BTP and Anglia Route (Network Rail)

Carys Thomas

Rail Manager of the Year

Winner: Carys Thomas, Great Western Trains

Carys has worked tirelessly with the local community in Bristol to enhance the city’s railway stations, as well as inspiring young people to use the rail network and consider a career in the industry.

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This year, Carys was awarded business mentor of the year by Envision - a charity which helps underprivileged teenagers to develop key skills - for her work with Colston’s Girls’ School.

Carys is also part of Young Rail Professionals and is an ambassador manager for the Western region.


1st Runner-up: Joe Brown, London Underground

2nd Runner-up: Samantha Lear, Govia Thameslink Railway

INDEPENDENT PANEL - Lee Woolcott-Ellis

Rail Person of the Year

Winner: INDEPENDENT PANEL - Lee Woolcott-Ellis, Southeastern

Drawing on experiences from a troubled childhood, Lee has written a book, A Childhood Not Easily Forgotten: A History of Abuse, and is now championing a new mental health programme for staff to try and change the stigma surrounding mental health. 

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He has a hunger to make a difference in order to help others and will lead a team of trained mental health advocates who will be specially trained to support work colleagues.


1st Runner-up: Scott Nickels, London Northwestern Railway

2nd Runner-up: Georgina Cooper, GTR

Milton Keynes Escalation Project Team Milton Keynes

Rail Safety Person or Team of the Year

Winner: Milton Keynes Escalation Project Team Milton Keynes, Network Rail, Samaritans, BTP, TVP, West Midlands Trains and Virgin

Between July and November 2017, there was a series of suspected suicides on the rail network in the Milton Keynes Council area. The incidents were having a huge impact on the local communities and on the rail industry. In response to the incidents, a multi-agency group was formed, which has worked together to pursue a range of different workstreams covering information sharing, community engagement, increasing the chances of human intervention and promoting help-seeking.

1st Runner-up: Stuart Haden, Arup

2nd Runner-up: Ann Mills, RSSB

Team Project SWIFT (NRT, NR, Scotrail, CISCO, telent)

Rail Team of the Year

Winner: Team Project SWIFT (NRT, NR, Scotrail, CISCO, telent), telent Technology Services Ltd

Delivering the complex Superfast Wi-Fi In-carriage for Future Travel (SWIFT) trial between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Network Rail, ScotRail, Cisco and telent came together to design and build a multi-disciplined rail-specific trackside wi-fi network.

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Working together to deliver the trial, team SWIFT overcame significant challenges including successfully engaging varied stakeholders to gain their buy in, product approval, design approval and to deliver to tight timescales, often in challenging weather conditions.


1st Runner-up: GWR Care Team, GWR

2nd Runner-up: Royal Wedding Team GWR SWR, GWR & SWR

Stephen Bullock

Recruiter / HR Person or Team

Winner: Stephen Bullock, Aecom

Steve successfully manages a team of six in-house recruiters covering a transportation team of 2,500 across AECOM’s business in the UK and Ireland. In the last year this team has achieved some 220 direct hires.

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Over the last 20 years Steve has recruited all levels of white collar workers in the rail industry and has become a fount of knowledge for anything related to it. 


1st Runner-up: Lydia Fairman, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Louis Williams, GWR

Rizwan Javed

Samaritans Lifesaver Award

Winner: Rizwan Javed, MTR Crossrail

Rizwan has been nominated for this award for his outstanding contribution towards saving lives on the railway.

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Since attending a managing suicidal conversations course in 2015, he has made 25 Samaritans-verified lifesaving interventions.

What colleagues say strikes them about Rizwan is his calm demeanour and the ability to make people feel comfortable around him. He has used the training and his own high levels of interpersonal communication skills to literally change people’s lives.


1st Runner-up: Samantha Wood, London Northwestern Railway

2nd Runner-up: Matt West Jim Wilson and Jake Chiverton, Southeastern

Nigel Venneear

Station Staff of the Year

Winner: Nigel Venneear, Govia Thameslink Railway

Nigel was reaching the end of his shift at Hitchin station when he came to the aid of a passenger who collapsed on the platform. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Nigel noticed that the customer had stopped breathing and was advised to make a sharp, strong hit to the middle of the chest to try and resuscitate him. Remaining cool and calm, Nigel’s actions helped save the customer’s life.

1st Runner-up: Richard Shaw and the Ebbsfleet Team, Eurostar

2nd Runner-up: Teresa Miles, London Underground Ltd

Jason Brooks

Train Driver of the Year

Winner: Jason Brooks, Greater Anglia

Jason Brooks was the driver of a Liverpool Street to King’s Lynn service which arrived at Ely when a male passenger was taken ill. He performed CPR while a colleague detrained the passengers and locked out the carriages. Although three or four people with medical knowledge boarded the train to assist, Jason continued to perform CPR and mouth to mouth, plus he used the station defibrillator on the ill passenger while the ambulance took 40 minutes to arrive. 

1st Runner-up: Scott Ward, Greater Anglia

2nd Runner-up: Andrew Butler, First TransPennine Express

Virgin Trains Training Team

Trainer or Training Team of the Year

Winner: Virgin Trains Training Team, Virgin Trains

In January 2018, Virgin Trains created a new training team to support the rollout of a system for ticket offices that was designed to be multi-functional, allowing the teams to become mobile and offering a greater retailing experience for all customers. The new team had to train nearly 400 people across 21 stations, delivering first-class training on the biggest system and business change that Virgin’s retail teams have seen for over 10 years. 

1st Runner-up: Trevor Boyd and the TIM Team, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Mark Sunshine, LandSheriffs