As the 2016 Most Interesting Awards night draws closer, attention is starting to focus on the potential shortlist from which the winners will be chosen.

These unique and prestigious awards will be presented at the Rail Exec Club Gala Dinner, to be held at Derby’s Roundhouse on Thursday 1 December. Trophies and accolades will be handed out in 11 categories which cover the range of activities going on in the rail industry today.

The awards that nobody can enter, nominations are derived from those articles in Rail Engineer, RailStaff and Global Rail News that the respective editors have deemed to be Interesting throughout the year. With the time period being 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016, the initial list of suggestions is filling up. This ‘longlist’ will get abbreviated to a shortlist of six nominations in each category during October, and then a panel of independent industry judges will make their choices as to which of these are the Most Interesting for the year.

So, to get the ball rolling for the 2016 Most Interesting Awards, here is the latest longlist:

Most Interesting initiative in safety and sustainability

  • New door seals for London Underground sliding doors – Tara Parendeh of Transport for London Underground
  • Tea trolley for track workers stranded far from an access point – Track Safety Alliance/AJC/Amey
  • Bespoke fall-protection system for workers at Reading station – Eurosafe/Latchways
  • Road Rail Performance System (RRVPS) to improve plant reliability – Network Rail Plant Reliability Team/Torrent Trackside
  • Modular Multilevel Converters – Siemens Rail Automation
  • Hesop reversible substation – Alstom
  • Safe Start 2016  – Carillion/A-Plant/CR Civil Engineering/Bodyguard/Selectequip/Bridgeway
  • No Time To Lose campaign against silica dust – IOSH/ORR/Crossrail/Network Rail/CIRAS/MTR Corporation

Most Interesting original design

  • Using RED (Railway Engineering Designer) to develop OLE designs – Balfour Beatty Rail Engineering Technology Solutions/Bentley Systems
  • New rail connection to Arcow Quarry – Tarmac/Network Rail/Story Contracting/Babcock Rail
  • The National Radio Network (NRN): retrospective on its demise – British Rail National Radio Plan team
  • Interlocked Traction Earths – P&B Weir Electrical
  • Incline lift at Greenford station – London Underground/Hütter-Aufzüge/Kone GB
  • Solar-powered CCTV to monitor work sites – Red CCTV

Most Interesting development in support equipment

  • ‘Prelink’ Interchangeable cable plug-ends for pulling through ducts – Harting
  • Using System Design Exchange Format (SDEF) to survey trackside assets – Network Rail
  • Robokatta – cutting rails using a Bluetooth connection – Cembre
  • FTNx telecoms network – Network Rail/Cisco/Infinera
  • Mega Chipper: high capacity vegetation chipper – QTS Group/Terex
  • EcoS traction power meter – RailWare
  • Innovative Solution to Isolation Splits – VGC

Most Interesting training and development programme

  • Bombardier Innovation Forum – Bombardier
  • Military2Rail Initiative – Siemens Rail Automation/ISS Labour/Help for Heroes/Wiltshire College
  • Rail Week – Young Rail Professionals
  • Opening of National Training Academy for Rail – NTAR/NSAR/Siemens/Clegg Construction/CMPG
  • Basingstoke Campus opens – Network Rail/South West Trains/BAM Construction/Basingstoke & Deane BC
  • Welcome To Rail – Young Rail Professionals
  • Miners train for railway work – NTRS/Linbrooke Services
  • Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy – Department for Transport/Network Rail/Crossrail/HS2/li>

Most Interesting railway infrastructure development

  • Resignalling the Sub-Surface Railway – Thales/London Underground
  • Cyber Security – NIS and the legal position – Bird and Bird
  • Zone Controller Technology – Siemens Rail Automation
  • Surveying the Railway using UAVs – Resource Group/Mott MacDonald/Topcon
  • Slab Track Trials – Rhomberg Sersa/ÖBB/A Porr/Vossloh/Hope Construction Materials
  • BIM: a year in infrastructure awards – Bentley Systems/London Underground/Network Rail/MWH Global
  • Line-speed handbacks – Network Rail track team/Babcock/Robel

Most Interesting approach to train operations

  • The Digital Railway – Network Rail
  • Coasting through neutral sections alongside work sites – CPMS
  • ETCS testing on Thameslink core – Siemens Rail Automation
  • Sheffield Tram-Train Integration – Stadler (Vossloh)/Stagecoach Supertram/Network Rail/University of Huddersfield
  • Refurbishment of Craigentinny Depot – Virgin Trains East Coast/Garrandale/Spencer Group/Zonegreen/Cairn Cross/Mechan
  • Improving On-board Internet Access – Icomera/Nomad/RSSB/RDG
  • Asset Conditions Systems for Lifts and Escalators – Telent/Humaware/Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham
  • S Stock fleet deliveries completed – London Underground/Bombardier

Most Interesting major infrastructure project

  • New station at Rochester – Spencer Group/Atkins/Balfour Beatty/Freyssinet
  • Victoria Line signalling upgrade – Siemens Rail Automation/London Underground
  • Christmas works 2015 – Network Rail/Staffordshire Alliance/VolkerRail/Carillion/Siemens Rail Automation/SPX/London Underground/Wessex Capacity Alliance/Colas Rail/AECOM
  • Replacing Dover to Folkestone line at Shakespeare Beach – Network Rail / Costain
  • Rebuilding Conwy – Alun Griffiths
  • Re-opening Lamington Viaduct – AMCO/Donaldson Associates/Freyssinet
  • Landslip at Farley Haugh, Corbridge – Construction Marine/AECOM/Geotechnical Engineering

Most Interesting new product

  • Tracktherm point heater insulation – A Proctor Group
  • ScotRail Class 385 trains – Hitachi Rail Europe/Abellio ScotRail/Caledonian Rail Leasing
  • Flex level crossing system – Schweizer

Most Interesting innovation

  • EULYNX: European Initiative Linking Interlocking Subsystems – CFL/DB Netze/Infrabel/Jernbaneverket/Liikennevirasto/Network Rail/ Prorail/SNCF/SŽ – Infrastruktura/Trafikverket
  • BIMXtra: consolidating project information – Kier/Clearbox
  • Tram runs 41.6km without wires – Bombardier/Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr
  • Internet of Things – Tew Plus
  • Earthworks monitoring – Network Rail Geotechnics/ORBIS/Intelligent Infrastructure/Findlay Irvine
  • Using Reinforced Soil in bridge replacements – BAM Nuttall/Tony Gee & Partners/Maccaferri
  • Improving wheelsets and the wheel/rail interface – Kluber Lubrication/Perpetuum/Mechan/Eversholt Rail/IMechE/Lucchini Unipart Rail/LASE/MRX Technologies/Alstom/University of Huddersfield/ Bombardier.

Most Interesting thing we saw

  • Resignalling the Bluebell Railway – Bluebell Railway
  • Using helicopters to deliver equipment to remote areas – Fenix/Telent
  • Testing ATO for London Underground in Leicestershire – Bombardier/London Underground/Thales
  • Return of Flying Scotsman – National Railway Museum/ National Heritage Memorial Fund/Riley & Son

Most Interesting community engagement activity

  • 20 years of improvement at Handforth station – Friends of Handforth station/Northern Rail/Network Rail
  • Rail Staff Christmas Carol Service – Transport Benevolent Fund/London Transport Choir
  • Travelling classroom – ScotRail Alliance
  • Remembrance Christmas tree at Ebbsfleet station – ellenor/Network Rail High Speed
  • Tyne Tees Tracker raises £20,000 for Railway Children –  First Transpennine Express/Branch Line Society
  • First Thameslink Station Partnership at Crofton Park – Thameslink/Crofton Park Railway Group
  • GBRf raises £62,000 for Bloodwise – GBRf/Bloodwise
  • We Listen campaign – Network Rail/Samaritans


Twelve of the rail industry’s most respected people make up this year’s Most Interesting Awards judging panel.
Andrew Boagey – Chair, Railway Engineer’s Forum (REF)
David Clarke – Technical Director, Railway Industry Association (RIA) Richard East – Chairman, Railway Division, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
Chris Fenton – Chairman, National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR)
Jon Hemsley – Chairman, Railway Technology/Professional Network (TPN), Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Francis How – Chief Executive, Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE)
Sabrina Ihaddaden – National Chair, Young Rail Professionals (YRP) Simon Iwnicki – Director, Institute of Railway Research, University of Huddersfield
Richard Parry-Jones – former Chairman, Network Rail
Ian Prosser – Chief Inspector of Railways, Office of Rail and Road (ORR)
Bill Reeve – former Railway Division Chairman, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
Farha Sheikh – Head of Rail Digital Services, Department for Transport (DfT)