The annual Heritage Railway Association Awards (HRA) for 2022 sees record numbers of entries covering all areas of railway preservation in the UK
The awards aim to celebrate the achievements of the heritage sector and will include ten categories of recognition, from locomotive restoration to the contribution of young volunteers. The awards are open to entry to all heritage railways and organisations no matter how big or how small, with this year’s shortlist featuring entries from all over the UK.
The Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award shortlist includes the Strathspey Railway’s restoration of London Midland and Scottish Railway ‘Black Five’ No. 5025, the Mid Suffolk Light Railway’s transformation of 2ft gauge Ruston diesel and the Watercress Whickham project on the Mid Hants Railway.
The Morgan Award for Preservation sees the Kent and East Sussex Railway’s overhaul of its Woolwich carriage shortlisted alongside the Great Central Railway-based ‘Quorn Wagon and Wagon’ group for the completion of their 17-vehicle box van train and Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway’s Pullman camping coaches restoration.
The HRA Award for Diesel Locomotion sees the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s transformation of pioneering 1920s Drewry railcar No. 2 go up against the East Anglian Railway Museum’s restoration of 1950s Waggon & Maschinenbau railbus, the Mid Suffolk Light Railway’s 2ft gauge Ruston restoration and the Irish Traction Group for their diesel preservation in Ireland.
A highlight for the heritage railway sector has seen no less than 11 nominations made for the Lord Faulkner Young Volunteers Award. Judges made the choice to include all 11 entrants rather than shortlist three due to their incredible efforts. The young volunteers are:
- Tristan Allen, Isle of Wight Steam Railway
- Isaac Farnbank, Isle of Wight Steam Railway
- Bradley Lambert, Tarka Valley Railway
- James Shillabeer, Tramway Museum Society (Crich Tramway Village)
- Andrew Hanbury, Tramway Museum Society (Crich Tramway Village)
- Jake Butt, Mid-Hants Railway (Watercress Line)
- Jamie Randall, Leighton Buzzard Railway
- Alex Duggan, Railway Preservation Society of Ireland
- Morgan Young, Downpatrick and County Down Railway
- David Reed, Tanfield Railway
- Sarah Tagart, Kent & East Sussex Railway.
The HRA Award for Communications has seen a large number of entrants this year and has been split into categories for internal and external communications work.
The external category sees the East Lancashire Railway shortlisted for its digital work, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the ‘Love your Railway’ campaign, the Central Tramway Company of Scarborough for its illustrated guide to funicular railways, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway for the 50th-anniversary special edition of its magazine Island Rail News, the Great Central Railway for their Quorn Transport Films and the Talyllyn Railway for the Awdry Extravaganza event.
The internal category sees the West Somerset Railway Association, Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway and Friends of Vintage Trains shortlisted for their member’s newsletters and magazines.
2022 See’s a new HRA category created, ‘the HRA Award for Environmental Innovation’ and sees the Bure Valley Railway shortlisted for its work on sustainable steam, the Talyllyn Railway for its efforts in working towards ‘net-zero carbon emissions and the Kent & East Sussex Railway for its introduction of green diesel fuels.
The Most Innovative Fundraising Idea category sees The Class 502 Preservation Trust for its work in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Merseyrail, the Downs Light Railway for the work of two young volunteers in securing major funding, and the Bluebell Railway for its appeal to restore Horsted Keynes station shortlisted.
The HRA Award for Small Groups sees The Bahamas Locomotive Society, Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, Georail Heritage Volunteer Group and Volks Electric Railway.
The HRA Award for Large Groups shortlist includes the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, Bodmin and Wenford Railway, Nene Valley Railway, Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, and the Great Western Society.
The HRA Outstanding Visitor Attraction Award sees Bure Valley Railway, Seaton Tramway, the Tramway Museum Society’s Crich Tramway Village and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway shortlisted.
The HRA Chairman’s Special Award is given to a project that has shown exceptional merit and this year will be awarded to Railway Vehicle Preservations Ltd for the rebuild of London and North Eastern Railway ‘beavertail’ observation saloon, taking it back to its 1937 condition.
The Manisty Award for Excellence, the most prestigious of HRA’s awards only being given on rare occasions and in the case of extreme and outstanding contributions to railway preservation, will see it awarded to the Talyllyn Railway for 70 years of pioneering excellence.
Heritage Railway Association Chief Executive, Steve Oates, said:
“The sheer volume of entries for the Heritage Railway Association Awards this year is testament to just how strongly the sector is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic. To see the largest ever number of entries so soon after most railways were forced to close during the height of Covid-19 is simply stunning.
“The judges had an enormous challenge this year and I’m sure that they would have shortlisted almost every entry if they could.
“Now that we can return to holding a full awards event for the first time in two years, I’m sure we’re going to have a great evening. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the achievements of heritage rail.”
The winners will be revealed at the awards ceremony which will take place at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham on the 19th of March and will be hosted by TV historian and rail enthusiast Tim Dunn and Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways General Manager Paul Lewin.