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New Year’s Honours for railway heroes

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More than 1,000 people have been named on the New Year’s Honours list 2018 for exceptional achievement and service.

Among them are a number of individuals who have been praised for their work in the UK’s rail industry. Read on to find out more about the honorary individuals.

Eddie Martin pictured in 2013 with his RailStaff Award. Photo: Rail Media.
Eddie Martin pictured in 2013 with his RailStaff Award. Photo: Rail Media.

Eddie Martin, CrossCountry train manager, British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to charity

Eddie, who won an award for his charity work at the 2013 RailStaff Awards, has been given the BEM for helping to bring clean drinking water to tens of thousands of African villagers.

Eddie set up the charity ‘Myras Wells’, which raises money to build wells in Africa. To date, Eddie has raised more than £500,000 and funded more than 100 wells across Burkina Faso.

The initiative is named after Eddie’s late wife, Myra, who was killed in 2005 in a car crash on her way to work.

Superintendent Matthew Wratten, British Transport Police (BTP) officer, Queen’s Policing Medal for services to policing

Photo: BTP.
Superintendent Matthew Wratten. Photo: BTP.

Supt Wratten joined BTP as a constable from Kent Police in 1999. He is currently based at Central London police station within the justice department and has been recognised for leading the operation to drive down theft on the London Underground.

From 2010 to 2013, BTP saw a rise in thefts on the Underground. Working with Transport for London, Supt Wratten developed initiatives to drive down those numbers, culminating in a 17 per cent reduction in theft in the first year alone. That equated to nearly 3,000 fewer victims.

Colleagues said the results were testament to his effective leadership and passion for protecting victims of crime, and the tactics – which involved collaboration with partners, extensive media campaigns and pioneering methods – were rolled out nationwide.

Jane Owen. Photo: Network Rail.
Jane Owen. Photo: Network Rail.

Jane Owen, train running controller at Network Rail, BEM for services to the LGBT community

As a train running controller, Jane secures the smooth operation of a section of Network Rail’s London North Western route. Monitoring train performance on the network, Jane uses her skills to optimise train running to deliver the timetable in collaboration with Network Rail’s signallers and train operating companies.

For more than seven years, Jane has also worked tirelessly for the LGBT community, dedicating much of her free time and energy to improving awareness of the needs of transgender people.

She is chair of the board of trustees of Sparkle, the national transgender charity and is a critical leader in organising the Sparkle Weekend celebration in July of each year, which actively promotes trans awareness in the UK.

She proactively works within Network Rail to support it becoming a more inclusive environment for transgender employees. Jane has also supported trans individuals by providing them with advice and support from the perspective of someone who has transitioned from male to female.

Cliff Perry. Photo: IMechE.
Cliff Perry. Photo: IMechE.

Clifford Perry, business coordinator of IMechE’s railway division, Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to railways

Clifford joined British Rail’s training scheme in 1967 and went on to, in his own words, have “altogether not a bad life”.

A fellow and ex-chairman of the IMechE, Clifford’s work saw him support the introduction of HSTs in 1976, engineering and organisational change in the ‘80s, and privatisation in the ’90s.

He also supported the introduction of train leasing at Angel Trains, the creation of the RSSB, taking railway research into the private sector (BR Research) and, on a smaller scale, the invention of the National Incident Record system to broadcast safety critical train faults.

Cindy Beckford. Photo: Network Rail.
Cindy Beckford. Photo: Network Rail.

Cindy Beckford, principal programme controls manager at Network Rail, MBE for services to the railway industry

Cindy began her railway career in 1979 as a clerical officer for the train enquiry bureau and has worked her way up to become principal programme controls manager, where she currently works closely with HS2.

She set up Cultural Fusion, Network Rail’s first Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) employee network, in 2013, and has chaired it ever since. It now has almost 500 members and provides a platform for members to network internally and externally and to develop their careers.

Led by Cindy, Cultural Fusion was last year singled out for its work at the Race for Opportunity Awards 2016 where it was highly commended.

Photo: ACoRP.
Former chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships Neil Buxton. Photo: ACoRP.

Neil Buxton, former chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to local and rural railways

Neil Buxton retired as ACoRP’s chief executive in November 2016, after spending many years devoted to community rail.

As the general manager, Neil has liaised with government and industry on community rail issues, led ACoRP’s restructure in 2016 and helped the organisation grow in stature and influence.

ACoRP is a Department for Transport-funded umbrella group which supports Community Rail Partnerships, shares ideas and best practices among its members and hosts the annual Community Rail Awards.

David Buttery, former deputy director of high speed rail legislation and environment at the Department for Transport, OBE for services to transport

Dave joined the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2003 and became the deputy director for high speed rail legislation and environment in February 2012.

Among his many achievements in the department, he developed the HS2 Phase One hybrid bill and managed its passage through parliament to royal assent in February 2017. He left that role in April, 2017.

Responding to the New Year’s Honours list, Mr Buttery said: “I’m very proud to receive this OBE for my work on the HS2 Phase One bill.

“The bill – the largest piece of legislation considered by parliament – was a massive team effort across DfT and HS2 Ltd. So while I’m honoured to receive this award it really recognises many people’s hard work.”

Photo: Network Rail.
Tom Crosby. Photo: Network Rail.

Tom Crosby, Network Rail volunteer, BEM for services to rail safety

At the age of 14, Tom received a 25,000V electric shock whilst playing trackside with a friend. He was hospitalised and given a 25 per cent chance of survival. Tom received 14 skin grafts and still suffers with his mental health to this day.

In 2015, Tom decided he needed to do something positive with his injuries. He proactively contacted Network Rail and offered to share his story to reach out to young people directly. Since then he has been actively involved in Network Rail media campaigns and talks at schools and events.

Tom might not be a Network Rail employee but he is a committed safety campaigner, giving up his free time and energy to encourage young people to stay safe around Britain’s rail infrastructure.

In the last year, he has directly spoken to more than 1,000 young people as part of the Network Rail Community Safety programme.

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