Interviewing winners at the RailStaff Awards is my profession’s equivalent of speed dating. Time is precious, you cut out the small talk and dive straight into the serious questions (How old are you? What motivates you? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?) and hope to find someone interesting. Except, in every case, the winners, and many of the runner-ups for that matter, are of course quite extraordinary people.
From acts of bravery straight out of Hollywood, overcoming adversity and a dedication to delivering a better railway for passengers, as far as finding great stories goes, it’s a match made in heaven.
When you factor in that it recognises truly unsung heroes and provides station staff, charity fundraisers and graduates with their moment in the limelight, t’s easy to understand why the RailStaff Awards is our favourite night of the year, and why I couldn’t think of a better place to start my role as this magazine’s new editor.
Working with the production team, former editor Marc Johnson carved out an identity for RailStaff as a title that cuts through the noise to champion the industry and shout about successes that otherwise wouldn’t get heard – not that it means glossing over failures.
By far the stories I most enjoy explore the lives and work of rail staff from across the spectrum, and it’s more of these – of which the Awards oozes – that I hope to capture, but I need your help.
These stories are often overlooked to focus on trains, track and technology, but it’s these stories that this magazine thrives on and it’s these people that are this industry’s greatest asset.
I’m talking about the volunteer filmmakers who are recording traditional forms of signalling before they’re gone for good, a project manager who finished first in a Porsche driving championship and the man who’s overcome a traumatic childhood to become a mental health champion.
We want to continue to create magazines that reflect our readership and cover the issues that matter most. We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and we want you to get in touch with us. There’s a long wait until we can ‘speed date’ at the RailStaff Awards again.
It leaves me with one thing to say: on behalf of all of us at RailStaff, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!