Rail Business Award Winners 2022

UK: After two years which have tested the railway more than ever seemed possible, more than 450 guests from across the industry came together on February 23 for the 24th Rail Business Awards. The event presented an opportunity to celebrate the dedication and hard work that has continued throughout the pandemic, and the ability to continue to innovate even through the most difficult of circumstances.

Organised by the Railway Gazette Group at DVV Media International, the star-studded evening at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel was hosted by comedian Suzi Ruffell.

TransPennine Express was namedRail Business of the Year, recognising the work it has undertaken to bring new fleets of trains into service and reorganise its timetable during a challenging time in the north of England. The company also took the award for Marketing & Communications Excellence for its Reassurance Campaign, and was named Train Operator of the Year, beating off a strong challenge from Greater Anglia.

The judges said the TPE Reassurance Campaign was ‘a near perfect example’ of marketing and communications, whilst the transformation of its performance over the last two or three years had been very impressive thanks to the new train fleet and close co-operation with stakeholders along its routes. Overall the judges felt that TPE had demonstrated a strong performance across the board, focusing not just on operational reliability but also on marketing and communications to give returning passengers greater confidence about using rail. It was no coincidence that revenue recovery had also been excellent.

This year’s Industry Leader award went to Nick Millington, Director of Network Rail’s Safety Task Force, and current President of the Permanent Way Institution. The impact of the recent severe weather has emphasised the importance of maintaining a safe railway and on a personal level the judges felt that Nick has made a significant contribution to the safety of track workers with his clear vision and leadership. They felt he was really leading by example, involving front line workers in the improvement programmes and having a measurable impact.

This was further underlined when the Safety Task Force carried off the award for Safety & Security Excellence. The judges said NR’s Safety Task Force had taken a radical and approach to reviewing work practices, combining maintenance works to reduce the opportunity for harm to staff, whilst also bringing benefits to the operation of the network.

Ryan Firth from Balfour Beatty was named Young Professional of the Year; the judges were impressed by the impact he has made during his relatively short time in the industry, and the legacy he is creating for the future. They were particularly impressed by his dedication towards sustainability.

The development of the next generation of railway experts was recognised with the award for Education & Training Excellence being presented to Nexus for its New Learning Centre. The judges praised this ‘exceptional all-round entry’; noting that with its New Learning Centre, Nexus has pulled out all the stops and shown new approaches to training, as well as working in partnership with the local community.

West Midlands Trains was recognised for its work to develop a more inclusive workforce with the award for Diversity & Inclusion in Rail; the judges said this was an inspiring entry, which showed real commitment to making a difference. To ensure that the EDI strategy is embedded into the organisation, WMT has introduced a package of measures that focus on individual responsibility.

The Hearts, Minds initiative at Network Rail Southern Region saw it receiving the award for Wellbeing in Rail; The judges said NR Southern Region had taken ‘an incredibly joined-up approach’ to both mental and physical health and wellbeing, with a dazzling number of initiatives that showed real commitment, but also an understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach is rarely ever the answer.

As the industry has worked to encourage people back to rail following the pandemic the customer experience has been vital and KeolisAmey Docklands was recognised for its work with the award for Customer Service Excellence with the judges commenting that the Docklands Light Railway ‘had its finger on the pulse of its local communities and passengers’, translating its response to the pandemic into a wide range of specific activities that provided genuine benefits.

Media company Whoosh received the Innovation of the Year award for its Real-Time Journey Dashboard which provides passengers with bespoke real-time journey updates, contactless at-seat catering and other vital information.

Collaboration and teamwork have never been more important and the Rail Team of the Year award was presented to Network Rail & Industry Partners for the King’s Cross remodelling programme. This was a cross-industry team effort involving Network Rail and a wide range of partners including train operators and contractors. The judges felt the complex programme had been exceptionally been well-managed to minimise the impact on customers, despite the impact of the pandemic, demonstrating great teamwork and collaboration across the rail sector.

The joint efforts of ScotRail and Network Rail in Scotland saw the Station Excellence award going to Scotland’s Railway for its project to redevelop Glasgow’s Queen Street station; the judges said the transformation of the had been quite remarkable, and the superb result had been particularly well received.

The Richard Hope Award for an Outstanding Personal Contribution to the UK rail sector was launched in 2020 to commemorate Railway Gazette’s former editor, a tireless advocate for the rail sector. The award is intended to recognise Richard’s legacy in spreading best practice in global railway development. This year the award went to Darren O’Brien. A Station Manager for Southeastern, Darren was the instigator of the life-saving ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme, which has now been rolled out across all train operating companies in the UK. The judges commended his timely initiative, which has already helped hundreds of people, with levels of domestic abuse rising during the pandemic.

The freight sector has also played a key role over the last two years, keeping vital good moving around the UK; the award for Rail Freight & Logistics Excellence went to DB Cargo and Associated British Ports for the ‘Southampton Job’ which saw the establishment of a low-cost automotive terminal in the Western Docks. This was achieved by repurposing disused sidings to handle the export of Minis from BMW Oxford.

Turning to infrastructure, Network Rail won the Infrastructure Project Excellence award for the East Coast Upgrade Werrington Grade Separation scheme, which is vital to improving performance and capacity on this important route. The judges said the project team had shown great courage and ingenuity to push an enormous curved structure beneath such a critical section of railway.

Northern Ireland’s Translink received the Asset Management & Maintenance Excellence award for its Rail Health Strategy, which has delivered significant business benefits in only a few years thanks to a huge reduction in track defects.

One Big Circle & Network Rail’s Signalling Innovations Group & Asset Information Services were presented with the Supplier & Contractor Excellence award for the Automated Intelligent Video Review project. The two partner companies rolled out AIVR in a national programme that the judges felt ticked all the boxes: strong collaboration, innovation, reduced costs and improved performance.

Finally, and reflecting a year when the environment was even more in the nation’s thinking the Sustainability & Environmental Excellence award went to Atkins for its Great Crested Newts Detection Dogs project. The judges felt the innovative use of dogs to locate newts ahead of construction projects was an exciting development that is both efficient and more environmentally sustainable, with strong potential for future applications.

‘Once again we have seen a wide range of first class entries from all parts of the rail sector’, said Railway Gazette Editor-in-Chief Chris Jackson. ‘Although times are challenging, there is still much to be celebrated, as we have seen tonight. My congratulations to some very worthy winners, who are setting an example for others to follow.’



Highly Commended

Young Professional of the Year

Ryan Firth,

Balfour Beatty

Fi Westcough, Atkins

Phoebe Wynn, Balfour Beatty

Wellbeing in Rail

Network Rail,

Southern Region

Arriva Rail London


Richard Hope Award

Darren O’Brien

Southeastern Railway


Diversity & Inclusion in Rail

West Midlands Trains


Education & Training Excellence


TransPennine Express

Rail Team of the Year

Network Rail & Industry Partners

Amco Giffen & Network Rail,

BCM Construction,

Great Western Railway

Marketing & Communications Excellence

TransPennine Express

Govia Thameslink Railway,

Network Rail,


Customer Service Excellence

KeolisAmey Docklands

Southeastern Railway

Safety & Security Excellence

Network Rail


Rail Freight & Logistics Excellence

DB Cargo & Associated British Ports


Supplier & Contractor Excellence

One Big Circle & Network Rail’s Signalling Innovations Group & Asset Information Services

Diamond Rail Services


Asset Management & Maintenance Excellence





Infrastructure Project Excellence

Network Rail


Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail & Volker Rail

Station Excellence

Scotland’s Railway

Great Western Railway

Sustainability & Environmental Excellence




Innovation of the Year



Train Operator of the Year

TransPennine Express

Greater Anglia