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RailStaff Award winners: Part III

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Following the RailStaff Awards event on October 5, Global Rail News is taking a look at each of this year’s worthy winners.

Southern stars win Depot Team of the Year

A trio from train operator Southern have been named Depot Team of the Year at the annual RailStaff Awards ceremony.

John McCuaig, Justin Lanigan and Jason Fenner, Southern ‘s Continuous Improvement Team, have been recognised at this year’s event – held at Birmingham’s ICC on October 5 – for increasing capacity and reducing down time on Southern’s train fleet.

The three-man team from Southern’s Brighton and Selhurst depots have halved the amount of time taken to maintain the operator’s Class 377 trains from between 80 to 90 hours to 40 hours, boosting capacity by 3,000 and 2,000 seats in the morning and evening peaks respectively.

Major exams can now be completed within a 48-hour target time – something that was previously considered near impossible. Depot Staff of the Year - Continuous Improvement team - Southern

“It’s the guys that did it, the guys on the shop floor,” said John.

“They did the work, came up with the ideas and with their help we managed to bring in the changes and meet the targets.”

Tom O ‘Connor, managing director of event organiser Rail Media, said: “Capacity is the number one issue on Britain ‘s railways.

“The industry is a success story and is struggling to cope with the huge upsurge in people wanting to use trains.

“Long term, we need more railways, a high-speed network and new fleets. However, the fact that railway staff can make such a great difference to seat availability during the morning and evening peaks is a phenomena we should celebrate.

“Well done to John, Justin and Jason. I know they deserve a standing ovation and of course many of those who appreciate their efforts most now have a seat.”

Phil Whittingham of Virgin Trains, which sponsored the award, said: “Team work in the industry is massively important. They are working in an area with relatively fixed costs so any improvements that can be made are welcome.

“It shouldn’t be forgotten. They are an important part of the industry and recognition in the industry is really important in particular for the staff and the unsung heroes.”

Skyfall Sara wins rail award

East Coast’s Sara Borland has won this year ‘ss Project Manager of the Year award for her role in organising a Skyfall train to celebrate the most successful James Bond movie of all time.

Earlier in the year, East Coast was approached to help with the global release of the James Bond thriller, Skyfall, on DVD and blu-ray.

The highly-ambitious project involved a fully-wrapped train, itself to be chartered from King ‘s Cross to Edinburgh, transporting film stars, writers and producers.

Project Manager 2013 - Sara Borland – East Coast with Sponsor from Navartis [new]George Shuttlewood of East Coast, said: “Sara made the East Coast ‘Skyfall’ train happen, and happen in incredible style, with every detail covered to ensure our moment in the global spotlight was a proud one.

“I think many others would have considered the project too hard to deliver, and having no specific requirement to do it, perhaps just said no. However, Sara spotted the opportunity to be associated with such a great British icon as one not to be missed, and she convinced the business it was a project worth delivering and associating ourselves with.”

Accepting her award, Sara, 47, who is based in York, said: “It’s my birthday tomorrow (October 6) and this makes a fine birthday present.

“Can I thank all the team at East Coast.

“To me the reason for doing the train for Skyfall was to show the world that rail travel can be glamorous.”

Andy Milne, editor of RailStaff, said: “Daniel Craig ‘s reprisal of the role of James Bond and the inspired directing of Sam Mendes made Skyfall one of the best Bond films of all.

“It is great that the makers of all such a bold and brilliant movie should look to East Coast trains to help launch the DVD and blu-ray version. I have been involved in film location work on the railway and dealing with showbiz people, whilst rewarding, is never easy. Sara Borland is exceptional in being able to bring this off.

“James Bond historically uses rail travel as a reliable form of escape – just like thousands of our more conventional passengers. Congratulations, Sara.”

Speaking about Sara’s award, Navartis’ Toni Goulden, this year’s sponsor of the Project Manager of the Year Award, said: “We deal with project managers all the time but there are always some who stand out more.”

Redditch signalling engineer wins rail award

Richard Bradley of FT Transformers Ltd has been named this year’s Signalling and Telecommunications Engineer of the Year.

Richard, 34, won the accolade at the RailStaff Awards 2013 for his work designing and building a new innovative transformer for Network Rail.

The device differs from typical transformers because it doesn’t draw any of the high electrical current normally needed for start up – known as inrush – making it safer and more efficient. Richard was presented with the award in front of industry peers at Birmingham’s ICC on October 5.2013 Rail-Engineer-of-the-Year-Peter-Musgrave–Network-Rail
He said: “I’m shocked and really excited that we finally got the recognition for the work that we all put in.

“I’d like to thank Bob Wright, chairman FT Transformers, for steering us in the right direction and everyone at FT Transformers. This is a real team event.”

Phil Mounter, from award sponsor Westermo, said: “It’s great to be here to present an award to such a worthy winner.

“I think it’s important to celebrate individual initiative and the work that they’ve done on their own endeavour.

“The reason we wanted to support the awards was we wanted to support the industry, we wanted to put something back into the industry.”

Andy Milne, editor RailStaff, said: “This is a great example of the ingenuity and cross-fertilisation of ideas in the real industry. It was Richard’s sharp-eyed observation and imagination that resulted in a new generation of  transformers, better and safer than before.”

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