The second Network Rail Partnership Awards took place at the NEC’s Metropole Hotel last night and around 400 representatives of Network Rail’s suppliers gathered for an evening of dinner, speeches and awards.
Chief Executive Iain Coucher introduced the evening, saying “We launched these awards last year to recognise and reward our partners and suppliers for the work they do for us. Network Rail believes in Partnership. We know that we cannot deliver a bigger, better railway without the innovation, expertise, commitment and passion of our best partners and people. Without this vital contribution the railway would not be the great success it is today.”
After an enjoyable meal, the audience was entertained by Rory Bremner with a combination of comedy and impressions. Rory bemoaned the recent change in government and the fact that a lot of his “old faithful” characters would no longer be around and he would have to learn a whole new set. His “David Cameron” though was very impressive.
The evening then moved into the main purpose of the event, the presentation of the awards. Over 200 submissions had been made, all of high quality, and from them a short list had been selected and then the winners chosen by a panel of Network Rail managers and directors.
Rory Bremner hosted the ceremony, and asked Peter Henderson, Director of Asset Management, to present the first award – for Innovation. Saying that the winner had “implemented a method to ensure safe working whilst also providing efficiencies for the company” he made the presentation to Trojan Services Ltd for their combined cable trough route and safe access walkway.
In November 2009 the RIMD Scotland, Richard Lungmuss, asked Trojan if it could design and supply a high volume cable trough that could also act as a walking route. In response Trojan developed TroTred, a product 700mm wide x 385mm deep x 1000mm long. TroTred is manufactured from recycled polymers using the injection moulding process. Trojan will shortly complete the supply of 22kms of TroTred for the Airdrie to Bathgate project in Scotland.
Dorman and the Revolution in Signalling were highly commended for their new Integrated Lightweight Signal, as were Kirow Aredelt AG with the Network Rail Tilting Wagon Delivery System.
Community Engagement Award
Next up was the Community Engagement Award, recognising companies who have made a clear impact on society and local communities through community or charitable giving programmes. Richard Lungmuss, Route Director, presented this award to First ScotRail for their Adopt a Station Policy which has made a significant difference to the passenger experience, local residents and businesses across the country.
Chichester Council and the Chichester Railway Safety Awareness Team, and Sole Events and the Sole Events Streetgames Projects, were highly commended.
Environmental Sustainability Award
Peter Henderson returned to the stage to present the third award of the evening, for Environmental Sustainability. This went to Trackwork Limited for developing sustainably-sourced hardwood for sleepers and bearers.
Trackwork have overcome endless difficulties to develop supplies of genuine FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) timber, which meet Network Rail’s demanding specification at reasonable cost. Trackwork managers have repeatedly travelled to remote sawmills in the Amazonian rainforest to validate environmental credentials, negotiate deals, train sawmill staff and overcome logistical problems. The result: top quality, long-lasting sleepers and bearers at reasonable cost, a healthy rainforest and work for forest-dwelling peoples.
In this category the judges highly commended Costain Laing O’Rourke for their work at Farringdon.
Good Lineside Neighbour Award
The Good Lineside Neighbour award came next. This award, as the name suggests, is to recognise an organisation or person who has thought about the impact that work on the railway has on the people who live nearby and who has made sure that their interests are looked after properly. Steve Featherstone, Director of Infrastructure, presented this award to Skanska Civil Engineering for their work on the Thameslink Programme, Borough viaduct, where they have developed processes to minimise the impact on local residents and businesses in a densely populated area.
Halton Scaffolding, for the temporary station at Workington North, and Landolt and Brown for the West Hampstead Thameslink replacement station, were highly commended.
Information Technology Award
Catherine Doran, Director of Corporate Development, presented the Information Technology Award. Stating that the winning project had enabled Network Rail to respond quicker to business demands, making them more efficient in its process and work practices, she made the presentation to Atos Origin for the external services gateway.
The new Network Rail brand centre, developed by Adgistics, was the project to be highly commended in this category.
The Heritage Award recognises organisations and projects that have made a concerted effort to restore the heritage of Britain’s railway. Robbie Burns, Major Programme Director, broke with tradition by making the award jointly to two organisations, John McAslan and Partners and Stonewest Limited, both of whom had worked on the Eastern Range building at King’s Cross. They returned the Grade I-listed building to its former glory, bringing back into use 70,000sqft of office space in the heart of one of Britain’s busiest transportation hubs. The Victorian structure comprises three levels of accommodation suspended over the historic cab road, which is also the site of a new platform within the redeveloped station.
Investing In People Award
Finance Director Patrick Butcher was asked to step up to the microphone next, and make the Investing In People Award to Rail Tech Group for their commitment to the training and development of its employees. The Rail Tech Group has been a specialist outsourcing provider in the Signalling & Telecoms sector since 1996. It constantly invests in the development of its engineers, regularly introducing new people into the rail industry.
High commendations went to the University of Warwick and the Project and Programme Management MSc.
Team Contribution Award
Iain Coucher returned to the stage to present the award for Team Contribution which recognises those who have shown how teamwork has made a clear difference to the railway. The winner, BAM Nuttall for their work at Derby Station, had “demonstrated initiative in relation to teamwork by devising strategies to create efficiencies, commitment to the end goal and an understanding of its customers and the passenger.”
Two further companies were highly commended by the judging panel, Jacobs and Parsons Brinckerhoff for their work on Thameslink and VINCI Construction on Package 4 of the King’s Cross Redevelopment.
No projects would be possible without sound safety practices so the Safety Award is central to the foundations of Network Rail. Jerry England, Director of AP&C Asset Management, enthusiastically presented it to a company which has demonstrated outstanding safety performance with a record RIDDOR-free period – Carillion Rail for its Target Zero campaign.
Carillion worked for Network Rail for 13 periods without a RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) reportable accident and also worked throughout the whole of the 2009 calendar year without a RIDDOR reportable accident. Carillion were the first of Network Rail’s suppliers to achieve this.
Hochtief (UK) Construction Ltd, for the Stratford Station upgrade, and Vinci Construction UK for their work at King’s Cross, also received high commendations.
Best Project Awards
Finally, it was time for the awards for Best Project which were split into three categories based on project value. Simon Kirby, Director of Investment Projects, presented all three awards, the first for projects valued at under £3 million that have benefited Britain’s railway.
The judges decided that Arup and Carillion Rail’s 8 Hour Bridge Initiative, successfully trialled at Holm Farm, will help Network Rail deliver a seven day railway for the British Public. The project involved the development of a flexible, modular temporary bridge system to allow replacement of a large majority of existing sub-standard bridges without using disruptive possessions. Arup and Carillion developed this system to accommodate different bridge types, spans and track arrangements. The successful trial at Holms Farm, Dumfries, using a series of eight-hour possessions, demonstrated that such bridge replacements can be delivered in a safe, controlled and cost effective manner.
Just missing out for the award were Southern Railways and Optimum Consultancy for the National Station Improvement Programme at Uckfield, and Volker Rail for their level crossing work at Croxton.
Medium-sized projects are defined as being between £3 and £20 million, and for this Simon Kirby announced that Carrillion Civil Engineering and Grontmij overcame difficult conditions to deliver a key improvement to a busy piece of railway with their embankment stabilisation at Medge Hall.
Carillion and Grontmij designed a pile-supported concrete slab solution to stabilise 540 metres of embankment along the Doncaster to Wrawby Junction line. Due to access difficulties, a lightweight plant choice was required which resulted in the use of bottom driven steel tube minipiles. A total of 1,350 piles were driven by four rigs over just five weeks, supported by a 400mm thick slab under the ballast. To assist in the early completion of the project, materials were transported by canal barge.
C Spencer, who built the new Light Maintenance Depot on the Airdrie to Bathgate line, were highly commended for it.
The final project award was for projects valued at over £20 million. Carillion Rail worked with Network Rail to deliver a project which will enable more freight to be transported by rail, reducing the country’s carbon footprint, and they also delivered it a year early!
Southampton Tunnel was a major obstruction preventing Network Rail accepting higher containers on the route from the Port of Southampton. The contract to “slab track” the tunnel, and achieve the required gauge, was awarded to Carillion. Originally planned for completion over two Christmas possessions, Carillion’s innovation allowed the work to be successfully completed over Christmas 2009, with only a 10-day closure. Key to the success was the use of high-output installation techniques developed with Carillion’s partner TSO.
Costain & Laing O’Rourke (CoLOR) were commended highly for the upgrade of Farringdon Station.
Two Special Awards followed, both presented by Iain Coucher. He explained that, on reviewing the entries for this year’s awards, the judging panel felt that two projects didn’t fit the guidelines for any one award but deserved recognition as they had demonstrated a degree of excellence that could not go unnoticed.
The first Special Award was to Halton Scaffolding for building the new temporary station at Workington North in six days (see report here) after floods had washed away all the road bridges that connected the two halves of the town, making the rail bridge the only one left that connected the two communities.
The second Special Award was to the Gloves Community Centre and their leader, WBA World light welterweight boxing champion Amir Khan. The centre offers young people exciting alternatives to playing on the railway providing the opportunity to get fit and keep safe.
Supplier Of The Year Award
That brought us to the climax of the evening, the Supplier Of The Year. This year it went to BAM Nuttall, who in the opinion of the judges had demonstrated quality and best practice in its work with Network Rail and which had contributed the most to the success of the whole rail service over the previous year.
So that was the 2010 Network Rail Partnership Awards. It was Iain Coucher’s last as CEO and during the evening he thanked everyone that had helped to make Britain’s railway a success during his tenure. “Working together over the last few years we’ve made dramatic improvements to the railway… from broken rails and signals passed at danger, to the record number of passengers, and the record number of trains which are all running at record levels of punctuality.
“Only with the help of our partners and suppliers could we have successfully delivered the railway we have today. Without them, and their partnership with Network Rail, we could not have delivered the transformation that we have seen since privatisation and, although I accept that there is still work to be done, I am proud of everything we have achieved.”