HomeEventsOutstanding customer service and first female engineering award winner

Outstanding customer service and first female engineering award winner

Listen to this article

Danny Roberts of TransPennine Express and Natalie Dickinson from ISS Labour were the first winners of the night at the 2016 RailStaff Awards.

Danny, a customer service assistant at Grimsby station, won the Outstanding Customer Service accolade. His nomination described a dedicated member of the team, who on a number of occasions has shown great compassion and care in dealing with vulnerable members of the public.

Chris Nutton, major projects director at TransPennine Express, collected the award on Danny’s behalf. He said Danny’s achievement reflected the quality of service provided by staff throughout the company. ‘Danny’s done some outstanding work for us at TransPennine working at Grimsby station – part of a small and really dedicated team delivering for our customers on the line there in north Lincolnshire.

‘He’s gone out of his way to deliver not just great customer service but also really managing safety in an excellent way, caring for vulnerable people and working both with his colleagues at the station and other agencies on the railway to make sure that we’re looking after our customers and going the extra mile.’

RailSport sponsored this year’s Outstanding Customer Service Award. Established by the British Rail Staff Association, RailSport has been pitting rail staff against one another in sporting competition since the early 1990s, culminating each year with the annual RailSport Games, which next year will be held in Loughborough. The award was presented by RailSport secretary Cliff Robinson.

Chris Nutton (left) and Cliff Robinson.

The second award of the evening was won by Natalie Dickinson, who was named Rail Engineer of the Year and became the first woman to receive the award in the event’s 10-year history. Natalie joined the rail industry 13 years ago and currently works as an engineer within ISS Labour’s OLE Division offices in Salford. During the 2015 Christmas works programme, Natalie took on a new and challenging role which involved reviewing OLE designs, ordering materials and ensuring projects kept to strict deadlines.

Nominating Natalie, ISS Labour chief executive Simon Higgens said, ‘Natalie’s breadth of experience and engineering knowledge is vital to the development and nurturing of the next generation of linesmen. As such, Natalie will be playing a key role in the mentoring of ISS Labour’s new batch of OLE engineers, where her exceptional communication and interpersonal skills will come to the fore.

‘Natalie thoroughly deserves the recognition that this award will convey. Modest, humble and not seeking attention, she has achieved a significant amount in her career and is an exceptional example to us all.’

A couple of days later, having had time to reflect on the award, Natalie said she was ‘genuinely astounded’ to have won. ‘I was so surprised to have been nominated. To have won is amazing. It was completely out of my comfort zone being nominated for such an award and to be up against 19 other strong nominees was quite daunting.’

‘The award has made me realise that I am accepted and valued by the team that I work within. I think that to be acknowledged for your effort is important for everyone who works in a team. For me personally, I feel very proud and motivated. I also feel a great deal of loyalty to both the team that I work with and ISS Labour who I work for.’

Natalie, who joined the rail industry as a team organiser, said she hoped becoming the first female winner of the award will help in some way to raise the profile of female engineers.

‘To find out that I am the first woman to receive this award in the 10 years the event has been going is a tremendous achievement. The rail industry is notorious for being male orientated; however, this is changing and becoming more diverse. I hope this will inspire more female employees to reach their full potential.’

Natalie collecting her award from sponsor Keltbray.

She added, ‘I would like to thank my four colleagues that nominated me as the words they used for the nominations proved to me that they know I am passionate about my work. I’d also like to thank everyone who voted for me, past work colleagues, family and friends who have supported me throughout my 13 years working within the rail industry.’

Rail Engineer of the Year was sponsored by Keltbray Rail, part of the Keltbray Group. Keltbray Rail, which holds a principal contractor license with Network Rail and a Plant Operators Scheme Licence, offers electrification design and build services, as well as rail and civil engineering and plant delivery services. Projects Keltbray Rail has recently contributed its expertise to include the Welsh Valley lines, Crossrail Anglia, Great Western and the West Coast Main Line modernisation scheme.

Managing director of Keltbray Rail & Infrastructure, Phill Price, said, ‘Keltbray Rail plays a key role in maintaining and developing Britain’s infrastructure. We are currently involved in the development and upgrading of the some of the UK’s greatest railways, and were proud to sponsor this year’s Rail Engineer Award.

‘We were even more proud to sponsor this in the year Natalie Dickinson won as the first ever woman to win this award. This is an important milestone for our industry, which needs to work harder to attract a more diverse workforce so that we better reflect the communities within which we work.’


  • Siobhan Maloney, Pro Rail Services Ltd
  • Zoe Hemes, Southern Railway


  • Abdul Rehman Savant, Alstom Transport UK Limited
  • Steve Butt, Bridgeway Consulting Limited