Essex rail engineer John Coates has won the national Depot Staff of the Year prize at this year’s RailStaff Awards 2012.
The 65-year-old, who retired in July having worked his way up to maintenance manager at Greater Anglia’s Ilford depot, was recognised on October 20, at Birmingham’s ICC – 50 years after starting out in the industry.
John Coates, who lives in Romford, joined the depot maintenance team at Ilford Heavy Works shop in 1967 as a teenage apprentice coppersmith and worked his way up to maintenance manager responsible for the depot.
John said: “I’m staggered, absolutely stunned. It’s quite an achievement because from what I understand we don’t normally get these awards at Ilford.
“I want to thank all the people at the depot. I tried to help everyone there and I’m sure they’d say that I helped them in the best way I could.”
The RailStaff Awards is an annual industry-wide event which recognises the hard work, courage and professionalism of the men and women who deliver Britain’s railway every day.
The event is supported by Network Rail, London Underground and the Rail Alliance.
Tom O’Connor, managing director of the Rail Media Group, which organises the RailStaff Awards, said: “The 50 years experience amassed by John Coates is of incalculable value to the railway industry. John is typical of the unsung heroes of our industry. His has been an exemplary career and he deserves both our congratulations and thanks.”
Greater Anglia runs 1,900 trains a day and is part of Abellio Transport Holdings.
Runners up were Ian Bateman of First Capital Connect and Philip Pinnegar of Cleshar; both were highly commended.
Depot Staff of the Year is sponsored by Mechan.