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Hidden heroes celebrated at RailStaff Awards

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Each and every day, the rail network is kept running safely by countless talented teams and individuals. At the same time, others are designing new systems or writing new protocols to keep rail travel smooth and efficient. The Digital Railway Person or Team Award celebrates these hidden heroes, and highlights the pioneering work carried out by the industry’s signalling and telecommunications specialists.

Network Rail’s Safety Task Force (STF), which took this year’s award, was formed to improve the safety of track workers.

13,000 workers are on the track daily and their families expect them to come home every day. As such, in partnership with track workers and signalling teams, the Safety Task Force works to eliminate unassisted lookout (red zone) working and to provide improved planning methods, track safety equipment and training.

In the past two years, the STF’s work has resulted in many benefits, including: a 98% reduction in unassisted lookout working; an increase of around 1.5 million hours of work between near misses; and a 74% reduction in the number of near misses.

The team has also optimised signaller capacity by reviewing each and every signaller workstation; designed and installed 150 Semi Automated Track Warning Systems (SATWS); and identified 3,636 CESS paths ways for refurbishment so teams can access the worksite safely.

Nick Millington, Network Rail’s Acting Route Director, Wales Route, said: “I’m really proud that the Safety Task Force team, which operates in every part of the country, has been recognised for their work improving track worker safety. There has been a big shift for the better in safety risk over the last three years, including a 70% reduction in near misses. But there is always more to do in this space, and I am confident that this winning team is focused on delivery more tangible improvements over the next 24 months. Great Stuff!”

This year, the award was proudly sponsored by Amey Consulting. The firm works around the clock, maintaining the railways by upgrading track and overhead lines, performing regular asset inspections, and installing the latest signalling systems.

James Andrews, Amey Consulting’s head of engineering said: “As a leading railway consultant in the UK, we are at the forefront of the digital revolution through our development of a PLC solution to greatly simplify signalling and level crossing design and installation. We are aware that the Digital Railway means different things to different people. That is why we were pleased to award the title to the Network Rail Safety Task Force, who have utilised digital technology to greatly reduce risk and improve safety for track workers across the network.”

Highly commended
Callum Stopforth, Alstom
Telent Public Wi-Fi Installation Delivery Team, Telent