While controversy continues to range over the letting of railway franchises the surge of support for the RailStaff Awards is not in doubt.
This year people nominated for an award – taken all together – attracted over 30,000 votes. This is double the number last year. Although this extraordinary rise in interest can partly be explained by a growing industry wide recognition of the RailStaff Awards the real reason is the determination of the actual staff, the teams of railway people up and down the network, to celebrate the high value we place upon our colleagues.
Doubts remain about the role of invisible civil servants; certainly the lamplighters of Marsham Street are in for a tough winter, make no mistake about that. Possibly too much is made of their failings. What is not in doubt is the hard work and dedication of the vast majority of railway staff – from executive director level right up to the cleaners and train crew, trackworkers and customer support staff – who turn up for work come rain or shine.
Railway shifts often start and end in the small hours. Booking on points and depots can be many miles away from convenient stations and bus routes. Yet our people get there. Last year Heather Neely, a Train Care Charge Hand at Southern’s Brighton Depot, won the Depot Staff of the Year Award. Heather trekked into work on foot through two feet of snow during the big freeze of December 2010. She set off at 0400 to start her shift at 0600.
The RailStaff Awards 2012 is full of stories like this that inspire and reassure the industry. Number crunchers and analysts may argue over risk projections and the investment required to sustain the railways. What they can never put an adequate value on is the indomitable spirit, courage and
determination of the people this industry attracts to its ranks with such aplomb.
This year’s RailStaff Awards 2012 will feature an even bigger party in a mock up New York speak-easy themed around the gangsters and molls Prohibition Era of the 1930s. It’s a good chance to meet old friends, compare notes, dance and celebrate the continuing good fortune of the modern rail industry.
Whilst rail barons and political bosses fulminate at the failure of risk arithmetic at the department they should take heart from the people in the industry itself. Let them take a closer look at the mathematics of success so powerfully on display at the RailStaff Awards 2012.
Stop Press: The unprecedented response to the RailStaff Awards 2012 means capacity has had to be increased. Over 820 people will be attending at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham on Saturday night, 20 October. If you already have a ticket – well done – there are very few left.
We would like to thank all the sponsors, companies and individuals who have come together to make this the most spectacular RailStaff Awards yet. For last minute bookings contact Pat on 01530 56 00 21.