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Friday, May 24, 2024

Feeling at home at the RailStaff Awards

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The RailStaff Awards emphasises the success of railway staff from all backgrounds in delivering the railway day by day, night by night.

That Colin Flack, who runs the Rail Alliance, should be hosting the event is quite fitting. Award winners find his presence reassuring. His own story underscores the message behind the RailStaff Awards

Quite ordinary people do extraordinary work in progressing a vast series of projects on Europe’s fastest growing railway. The essence of the RailStaff Awards evening at Birmingham (on 5th October – nominations are open now) is a celebration of the courage and dedication of working people.

Our heroes are too often overlooked by big business, government and media. Yet it is the signallers, drivers, track workers, engineers, ticket sales staff, dispatchers and planners who form the backbone of the railway and deserve, but too seldom receive, recognition. Nominating people you work with for an award is a great way of redressing the balance – the more nominations the better.

The RailStaff Awards needs to reflect the industry it serves. However the idea of taking the stage at a big event and accepting an award can appear daunting to many people. This is not some movie Oscar parade where gushing stars feign startled surprise at winning.

Railway staff are quite often modest to a fault. ‘I was just doing my job’ is the usual response to recognition. As Tom O’Connor remarks elsewhere in this issue, ‘People are often quite shocked to have won an award and are unused to stepping into the spotlight. Colin is a down to earth reassuring presence up there on the stage.’

Flack himself is an ex-army officer from a working class background in Chatham. He recalls his first days at Sandhurst – which he’d managed to get into from his local grammar school. ‘In my intake of about 200, I think, there were only four of us not from public schools. They were speaking a language I didn’t understand.’

In fact Colin’s background held huge advantages when it came to leading men under fire, travelling the world and relating to very different cultures overseas. Such experience is now serving the railway industry.

Colin Flack left the army after 27 years and with his wife, Ruth, runs Motorail Logistics which organises stabling and maintenance for rolling stock at Long Marston. Colin also runs a personal development and team coaching business, Vision to Mission.

The RailStaff Awards grows year by year in popularity and this year looks to be bigger than ever. However the central ingredient is the people who make up the railway industry. Nominating a work colleague is a great way of saying thank you.

Seeing them up there on that stage accepting the award is better still. Send in nominations and take a look at the web site.

There’s a full guide on how to nominate at www.railstaffawards.com

October 5th will be a great evening, a real celebration and Colin Flack will be there on stage making sure everyone feels thoroughly at home.

For more details go to www.railstaffawards.com

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