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18 September 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Pays Heartfelt Personal Tribute to the UK Rail Industry for Keeping Country Moving During Lockdown at the National Rail Awards 2020

The Department for Transport, Scottish Government, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Mayor of London, British Transport Police ALL pay their respects by video to National Rail Award Winners

– and ALL railway men and women – in crisis year


Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a heartfelt personal tribute by video to the UK’s ‘railway family’ during last night’s National Rail Awards 2020, which for the first time in their 21 year history, were re-modelled as a virtual ceremony due to the pandemic.

RAIL magazine’s annual National Rail Awards, known as the industry’s ‘Oscars’, were hosted by BBC news anchor and broadcaster Huw Edwards and RAIL magazine’s Managing Editor and Events Director Nigel Harris.  They honour and engage the UK’s rail community and celebrate the industry’s gold standard.  This year’s class of finalists and winners including, behind-the-scenes heroes, judges, category sponsors, frontline staff and passengers, were all highly praised more than ever, for getting the country moving again, in what has been an unprecedented year of disrupted travel during the worst crisis in living memory caused by the pandemic.

The National Rail Awards, headline sponsored by Angel Trains, have always been held as a physical event, but due to the Covid crisis were brought into the digital world, and alongside Boris Johnson, politicians and dignitaries who also paid their respect and thanks for the exceptional contribution made in the face of adversity, by video included: 

Andy Byford, Transport Commissioner Transport for London; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London; Paul Crowther, Chief Constable British Transport Police; Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport; Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair Network Rail; Polly Payne, Director General Department for Transport; Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary Department for Transport; Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity; Anthony Smith, Chief Executive Transport Focus; Andrew Haines, Chief Executive Network Rail; Alex Hynes, Managing Director, Scotland’s Railway; Mark Phillips, Chief Executive RSSB; Jim McMahon, Shadow Transport Secretary, Labour; Bill Reeve, Director of Rail, Transport Scotland; David Horne, Managing Director LNER; Michael Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Angel Trains; Steve White, Chief Operating Officer, Govia Thameslink Railway; Matthew Galton, Interim Managing Director, Great Western Railway;  Ian Prosser CBE, HMRI Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR;

Clips of tributes all available to view HERE

Bauer Media’s RAIL is the voice of the rail industry, and is the market-leading modern railway magazine, which has an outstanding website and event portfolio, bringing its audience breaking news as well as unrivalled opinion and insight.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Union, and Minister for the Civil Service, commented during the virtual ceremony:

“Hi Folks,  I’m delighted to be speaking to you at this virtual National Rail Awards and I want to congratulate you all for your heroic efforts to keep our country moving during the lockdown.  If we needed any more proof that our railways are full of brilliant and determined individuals then just look at the way the rail industry has risen to the challenge of this crisis.  At the same time advancing this mission to increase capacity, while keeping people safe with everything from one way systems, deep cleaning, encouraging people to wear face coverings of course, an outstanding feat the like of which has never been undertaken before.  At the same time you’ve been getting on with essential maintenance pushing ahead with all the big projects, moving goods around the country, keeping a vital service running for all the doctors, nurses, social care workers, shop workers – everybody who physically had to get on with their jobs.  So, I want to say a huge thank you, and a heartfelt thank you, to the entire railway family.”


Nigel Harris, RAIL’s Managing Editor and Events Director, commented:

“During the pandemic, our railwaymen and women made sure that essential workers, medicines and crucial supplies were all where they needed to be, month after month – not once was the country let down by this amazing workforce.”

“Railways isn’t what these people do – it’s what they are – and they just got on with it. They deserve the nation’s thanks and it’s great that the PM took time out to offer such sincere appreciation.”  

RAIL Magazine’s National Rail Awards 2020 Winners:




Customer Service Excellence

Great Western Railway & ADi Access

The Railway’s First RoomMate

Sustainable Business Award

Eminox, Porterbrook & South Western Railway

Helping passengers to breathe more easily by cleaning up diesel trains

Safety Achievement of the Year

Motion Rail

Motion Reality

Infrastructure Achievement of the Year

Amey Rail

Market Harborough Line Speed and Station Improvement

Freight and Logistics Achievement of the Year

iPort Rail

Year-on-year success

Innovation of the Year


Atkins’ Signalling Method

Fleet Excellence

Hitachi Rail & ScotRail

Class 385: the UK’s most reliable new train

Outstanding Teamwork Award (joint winners)

Great Western Railway & Network Rail

The Railway Family Celebrates International Women’s Day

Outstanding Teamwork Award (joint winners)

Network Rail, Great Western Railway, MTR Elizabeth Line & CrossCountry

Big Plan. Big Change. Big Team

Station of the Year – Small

Transport for Wales


Station of the Year – Medium

Avanti West Coast


Station of the Year – Large

Greater Anglia


Station of the Year – Major

Network Rail


Great Place to Work

GB Railfreight


Passenger Operator of the Year

KeolisAmey Docklands


Outstanding Personal Contribution (Frontline)

Najla Almutairi, Southern Railway


Outstanding Personal Contribution (Management)

Katrina Treacy, MTR Elizabeth Line


Lifetime Achievement Award (joint winners)

Chris Hopcroft, GB Railfreight


Lifetime Achievement Award (joint winners)

Siggy Cragwell, Thameslink


Outstanding Personal Contribution (Senior)

Mike Brown MVO


The Awards judging process is uniquely rigorous in the industry and the panel of more than 20 esteemed judges carry out hundreds of interviews and visits before arriving at their final decisions. This year, that challenge was no mean feat.

All winners receive the iconic and coveted National Rail Award trophy modelled on an actual slice of rail track and made by British Steel.   

RAIL magazine is published by the UK’s biggest selling magazine publisher Bauer Media, which creates iconic and influential magazine media brands, digital properties and associated consumer and B2B live events for diverse, passionate audiences.

The National Rail Awards 2020 full ceremony can be viewed online HERE: 

The National Rail Awards Judges:


About Bauer Media UK:

Bauer Media UK reaches over 25 million UK consumers through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, KISS, Grazia, Empire, Magic, Absolute Radio and the Hits Radio Network. These brands offer commercial partners access to highly engaged audiences, with creative solutions underpinned by insight and instinct. Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe.

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