The RailStaff Awards 2023


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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Bob Bryce

Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Bob Bryce, Govia Thameslink Railway Limited

Bob completed an NVQ level 3 apprenticeship course at the age of 76, becoming an inspiration for others throughout the world. As he came near to completing the course it became apparent that he was the country’s oldest apprentice. Bob was eventually interviewed by 19 different news organisations including Sky, BBC World Service and Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4. His motto throughout his many media appearances was “never give up”.

1st Runner-up: Marnie McKay, Atkins

2nd Runner-up: Chloe Farrell, Merseyrail

Nicola Dawson

Award for Charity

Winner: Nicola Dawson, ScotRail

Back in 2018, Nicola ran her first ever ultra-marathon raising over £1700 for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. In June 2022, she set herself her biggest challenge and took part in the West Highland Way race - an ultra-marathon running the full 96-mile West Highland Way. She completed it in 27 hours and raised nearly £1500 for Scottish Mountain Rescue. In total she’s raised over £6000 whilst keeping people fit and healthy!

1st Runner-up: Susan Temple, ScotRail

2nd Runner-up: Charles Dickson, GTR

Gavin Dicks

Covid Hero - Outstanding Individual Award

Winner: Gavin Dicks, LNER

As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions in spring 2020, Gavin and many of his frontline colleagues were stood down from their day-to-day duties. Whilst it would be understandable to use this time for reflection and to take a breather, Gavin was one of the first colleagues to sign up to the LNER Reserves, its advice and support network of volunteers across our route, spanning London to the Scottish Highlands.

1st Runner-up: John Sidebotham, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Sharon Smith, McGinley

SNGX Santa Train

Covid Heroes - Outstanding Team Award

Winner: SNGX Santa Train, Southern Rail & Gatwick Express

Every year the SNGX Santa Train team delivers a memorable experience for over 500 children of colleagues. In December 2020, Covid-19 meant the usual live event format wasn’t possible, but the team was determined to make sure that the children still got to see Santa Claus and have a magical experience. With a lot of planning and with a little help from some ‘elves’, they set about creating an interactive virtual experience that would bring a smile to the children of the network.

1st Runner-up: Metro South Operations, Southern

2nd Runner-up: Rail Enforcement, Great Northern & Thameslink, GTR (Great Northern)

Charles Dickson

Customer Service Award

Winner: Charles Dickson, Southern

Charles is seen as a local hero at Gipsy Hill station - and for good reason. He has worked at the station for the better part of a decade and has got to know countless customers and staff. He always greets passengers with a welcoming presence, wishing them a safe journey and leaving them with a smile on their faces. His work ethic and customer service are always exceptional.

1st Runner-up: Deborah Hubner, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Charlene Peirson, MTR Elizabeth line

Jake Harwood & Duane Fryer

Depot Staff Award

Winner: Jake Harwood & Duane Fryer, Northern

These outstanding individuals were nominated for their quick response to a very daunting and challenging situation at Blackpool North station in July. Jake Harwood spotted a suspicious package on the track and promptly reported this to his T.P.O team leader Duane Fryer. Duane then contacted the Station Supervisor immediately and the HOT and WHAT protocols were carried out. During this time a sidings train was arriving at the approach on the same platform as the suspicious package. Duane was very proactive and confidently carried out the emergency hand signal stop on top of the platform for the driver to stop the train. Both Jake and Duane remained calm and cool under pressure. Once the station was fully evacuated, they both assisted customers with queries and provided water to all on this hot summer day.

1st Runner-up: Shane Hill, Freightliner

2nd Runner-up: Abbie Wood, Network Rail

Safety Task Force

Digital Railway (S&T) Person or Team Award

Winner: Safety Task Force, Network Rail

The Safety Task Force (STF) was formed to improve the safety of track workers. The STF is eliminating unassisted lookout (red zone) working in partnership with track workers and signalling teams to provide improved planning methods, track safety equipment and training. In the past two years, the STF’s work has resulted in: a 98% reduction in unassisted lookout working; an increase of around 1.5 million hours of work between near misses; and a 74% reduction in the number of near misses.

1st Runner-up: Callum Stopforth, Alstom

2nd Runner-up: Telent Public Wi-Fi Installation Delivery Team, Telent

Louis Szymanski

Graduate or Newcomer Award

Winner: Louis Szymanski, D2 Rail

Louis is an integral part of both the D2 Rail Project Controls Team and the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) West Alliance Planning & Controls Team. He has very quickly grasped the fundamentals of Earned Value Management and enabled a smooth transition of responsibility for the administration of the Alliance Earned Value Management System. Louis proactively seeks out opportunities to extend his own professional development into other areas, such as Risk Management, Change Management, Schedule Management and Reporting. He continues to impress with his dedication, compassion, and professionalism.

1st Runner-up: Madeleine Coyle, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Alison Clark-Dick, Network Rail

Samantha Winfield

Health & Wellbeing Award

Winner: Samantha Winfield, Great Western Railway

Samantha has been a true star since becoming a GWR Wellbeing Champion a few years ago, supporting the depot with a listening ear and setting up tea and talk events - virtually during the initial Covid restrictions, then face to face. Alongside her activity to support others directly, she also works to raise money for lots of local charities, developing new relationships with local business and community groups. Her efforts helped to make Cardiff Central a more positive place in less than positive times.

1st Runner-up: Nicola Dawson, ScotRail

2nd Runner-up: Heather Waugh, Freightliner

Sharon Salmon

HR, Diversity & Inclusion Person or Team Award

Winner: Sharon Salmon, Network Rail

Sharon’s work leading Network Rail’s Cultural Fusion employee network (CFN) has made massive improvements to diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation. She openly advocates for CFN and uniting BAME colleagues on issues around underrepresentation and inequality. She is engaging and inspiring and uses her skills to build the credibility of the network and its reputation, increasing membership to over 1,000 members. Sharon has worked hard to provide members with a diverse range of activities and arranges guest speakers at events to provide inspirational life stories

1st Runner-up: Shane Andrews MBE, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: EDI Charter Working Group Team, EDI Charter Working Group

Andy Hill

Learning & Development Award

Winner: Andy Hill, Freightliner

Andy is an amazing trainer, competence assessor, and approachable manager. He has extraordinary skills when it comes to blended learning, developing, and online web applications, and spends a lot of his own time helping those who are not up to speed. Andy used his skills to create a digital platform based on operational rules, for staff to use as a resource. He studies the results in his spare time and intervenes when he sees potential risks, providing extra training as needed. The use of this tool has spread across the industry through word of mouth.

1st Runner-up: Alan Godding, Greater Anglia

2nd Runner-up: Peter Woodbridge, Siemens

Alan McLeish

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Alan McLeish, QTS Group

The story of Alan McLeish and how QTS was born is one of grit and determination. Starting the business with a £300 loan from his mum in 1992, Alan gave up his steady, full-time employment to pursue a dream. Fast forward 30 years and that dream is now a reality – with QTS employing over 600 people across the UK and turning over more than £100 million per year. In these 30 years, the contribution Alan has made to the rail industry and to the people who have worked for him, is unparalleled.

1st Runner-up: Andy Nwichi-Holdsworth, Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Vicki Beadle, Network Rail


Marketing & Communications Team Award

Winner: AB2K, AB2K

During the Covid lockdown, Managing Director John Murphy saw potential in an old Mitsubishi van that was parked in the AB2K yard. John’s idea was to create an RRV with a twist. The inside layout includes a seated area for seven, hot drinks, hot water, hot food, and a separate toilet. Outside is a tribute to the band Madness. As soon as it went out on the road the van brought smiles to hundreds of rail staff and the general public. It also caught the attention of the band themselves.

1st Runner-up: QTS Marketing Team, QTS Group Ltd

2nd Runner-up: Lynn Crump - G&W Uk, Genesee & Wyoming Uk (Freightliner)

Whitecross Recovery Team

Rail Civils / Infrastructure Team Award

Winner: Whitecross Recovery Team, Rail Systems Alliance Scotland

Following heavy rainfall and thunderstorms on 12 August across Central Scotland, local maintenance teams found that the Union Canal had been breached causing significant damage on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Main Line. Network Rail sought support from various suppliers including the Rail Systems Alliance Scotland (RSAS), to remediate the track asset failures. RSAS quickly mobilised its development team to drive the project forward and manage the recovery. The scale of the work in front of the team was incredible given the devastation of the track, but the programme was delivered despite the exceptional circumstances and time constraints. Most importantly, everyone came home with no accidents throughout this accelerated programme.

1st Runner-up: TRU - LINESIDE CIVIL DESIGN TEAM (DERBY), Amey Consulting

2nd Runner-up: Lundy Projects WCML Project Delivery Team, Lundy Projects Limited

Chloe Thomas

Rail Engineer of the Year

Winner: Chloe Thomas, Transport for Wales

Chloe joined the railway back in 2015 as a fleet maintenance apprentice. Seven years later, she is a Fleet Support Engineer who has just completed her BSc Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Not only did she successfully juggle full time work and part time study she received a First- Class Honours Degree. This year she was awarded the IET Prize for most outstanding student and was also presented with an additional award by the Dean of the University – the Certificate of Excellence for University of South Wales.

1st Runner-up: Nathan Sealy, Amey Consulting

2nd Runner-up: Jason Petersen & David Moss, Quattro Plant

Lauren Heap

Rail Manager of the Year

Winner: Lauren Heap, Southeastern Railway

Lauren has gained respect with all her staff in such a short time and always finds time to help anyone. She has helped staff develop within their roles from organising a simple cab ride, to attending training courses, to expanding their training and knowledge base. In the early part of her role, she took the lead and managed the station team through Covid, putting the welfare of staff and passengers at the forefront. Lauren is a true inspiration to the whole station group.

1st Runner-up: Zack Jenkin, Great Western Railway

2nd Runner-up: Michael Trippitt, Merseyrail

Amy Bessie Matthews

Rail Person of the Year

Winner: Amy Bessie Matthews, Freightliner

Amy joined Freightliner on 16th August 2021 as a trainee shunt driver based out of our Southampton operation. Whilst taking on a new role and the extensive training that entails, she also seized the opportunity to participate in other activities including playing an active role in the recently formed Freightliner Female Train Driver’s Forum. Her passion and enthusiasm are infectious and the energy she brings has a massive impact on the group. Not only does she participate in the discussions, but she actively encourages others too. She is an invaluable member of the group, both for what she contributes herself, but also in what she brings out in others.

1st Runner-up: Sarah Bennett, Great Western Railway

2nd Runner-up: Rebecca Vandyke, GTR

Ricky Barsby

Rail Project Manager Award

Winner: Ricky Barsby, LNER

Ricky is nominated due to his outstanding work leading the East Coast Upgrade Team at LNER over the past 12 months. Ricky has brought a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to the project and has used this to pull together informed plans for the duration of the engineering works so far. His enthusiasm and dedication to consistently deliver successful operational and customer service plans has helped to motivate and inspire the wider Project Team to provide the level of support required for a programme of works of this size and magnitude.

1st Runner-up: Shelby Coates, Alstom Transport UK Ltd

2nd Runner-up: Matt Horvai, South Rail Systems Alliance (AECOM)

UK Rail for Ukraine

Rail Team of the Year

Winner: UK Rail for Ukraine, Network Rail

UK Rail for Ukraine volunteers mobilised to despatch 24 containers full of much needed aid items to help displaced citizens in just five weeks. In February 2022, as the number of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion started to grow rapidly, a group of rail industry volunteers joined forces to take action to provide much needed aid. In just five weeks, the team collected over a million items and filled 24 rail freight containers. The UK Rail for Ukraine train was waved off from London on 7 April.

1st Runner-up: Dartmoor (Okehampton) Project Team, Great Western Railway / Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Kilsby Delivery Team, Central Rail Systems Alliance (CRSA)

Matthew Foote

Recruitment & Talent Acquisition Person or Team of the Year

Winner: Matthew Foote, Network Rail

Matt has successfully created a team which effectively encourages graduates into Local Operations Manager roles and supports them through that process. He is a dedicated employee who wears multiple hats and gets things done; leading and supporting others in his team in a diverse range of interventions around positive recruitment and career development. He is known for his passionate speeches on subjects such as women’s careers, compassion, and tolerance of all. Matt has inspired his team to rethink equality in an industry dominated by white men.

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1st Runner-up: Madeleine Phillips, Mott MacDonald

2nd Runner-up: Alstom Advance TRS, Alstom & Advance TRS

Travel Safe, Travel Smart

Safety Person or Team Award

Winner: Travel Safe, Travel Smart, SouthEastern Trains & Network Rail

Sanchez Virginie-Down and Nicola Dooris work in collaboration to manage the first and only railway education and learning centre on railway ground at Margate station. Travel Safe, Travel Smart (TSTS) undertakes educational workshops for junior school children and youth clubs. Consequences, hazards, and electricity story boards are used to help visitors understand the impact of their behaviours. The TSTS centre has welcomed over 1,000 children in 2022 alone.

1st Runner-up: Hi 5 Safety Team, Freightliner

2nd Runner-up: Safety Task Force, Network Rail

Shane Davis

Samaritans Lifesaver Award

Winner: Shane Davis, Network Rail

On 5 December 2021, Mobile Operations Manager Shane Davis was called to an incident concerning a distressed male who had placed himself on an overbridge with the railway situated below. When Shane arrived, he could clearly see that the individual was in a moment of crisis. After asking for permission from the police onsite to approach the individual, Shane was able to offer one-to-one support with the individual and they discussed all the different options for help. Shane was there when this person needed it the most.

1st Runner-up: Richard Baker, MTR Elizabeth line

2nd Runner-up: Amir Aziz, GTR

Paul Gregg

Station Staff Award

Winner: Paul Gregg, Govia Thameslink Railway

Paul is always keen to engage with the public and ensures that he goes beyond expectation, providing customers with a memorable experience while using the service. He is always striving to better himself and has the perfect attitude towards expanding his knowledge through training. Paul is always ready to go above and beyond to help colleagues and customers, and possesses a cheery disposition which makes him as popular with staff as it does with customers.

1st Runner-up: All frontline station staff that worked through covid, All TOC companies & Network Rail

2nd Runner-up: Sheree Whetren, South Western Railway