Chris Benson wins Rail Person of the Year

Chris Benson

Chris Benson has won the Rail Person of the Year award at this year’s RailStaff Awards. The prize was presented by Pete Waterman and Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail.

Says Tom O’Connor, Rail Media Group, which organises the awards, ‘Chris Benson is a one man power station – running stations across the north and finding time to help and support station adopters and rail user groups in the area. This award is highly deserved, well done.’

Chris Benson is Station Manager for Northern Rail, looking after stations in the north east. Earlier this year, the station manager for Teesside moved to a new role, leaving Chris to look after the whole North area alone, from Whitby on one side of the country to Carlisle on the other. Faced with the doubling of his workload, Chris got on with it. Relishing a tough challenge, he found himself managing a total of 70 staff and 62 stations, spread across three large counties. While he was at it, he still continued to deliver outstanding projects, including the refurbishment of Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Sunderland stations.

Northern Rail operates train services across the north of England and has 4,800 employees providing nearly 2,550 local and regional train services every weekday. Northern Rail’s trains call at over 500 stations of which it manages 462. The company leases around 290 trains, both diesel and electric.

Network Rail which sponsored the Rail Person of the Year award operates railway infrastructure across the country including tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts and level crossings.

The RailStaff Awards, now in its fourth year, celebrates the courage and heroism of the thousands of working people who make up Britain’s fast expanding rail industry. The RailStaff Awards is organised by the Rail Media Group, publishers of RailStaff, the leading industry newspaper specialising in good news stories about the railways and the people who work on them. RMG also publishes the rail engineer magazine taking an in-depth look at railway engineering developments. is a specialist rail recruitment web site also run by RMG. The next RailStaff Awards will be on 8th October 2011 at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

Over 500 railway staff and their families attended the RailStaff Awards at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. Pete Waterman hosted the evening which opened with brief speeches of welcome by Edward Welsh, director of corporate affairs at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), and Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail. ATOC and Network Rail are Associate Sponsors of the RailStaff Awards. After dinner comedian Alun Cochrane delighted the proceedings. Then, after the actual awards, railway staff danced the night away to live band, Fully FunKtional. ‘It was a great night out, a family get together and a celebration as well as a brilliant party,’ says Gemma King, organiser of the evening and manager of the RailStaff Awards.

Big hearted party goers at the RailStaff Awards managed to raise over £2,000 for the Railway Children – official charity of the RailStaff Awards.

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