KeolisAmey Docklands and Blackpool Tramway win big operator accolades at Global Light Rail Awards

Taking place on 6th October, the Global Light Rail Awards recognise excellence and innovation in light rail across the world, although many of the candidates and winners do come from within the UK and the ceremony also takes place in London. The big winners at the 2021 event were KeolisAmey Docklands (Operator of the Year) and the Blackpool Tramway (Most Improved System) although many other UK systems were also celebrating on the night with recognition for their achievements over the past 12 months.

At the 2020 awards, Tram Operations Limited (operator of London Tramlink) were given the Operator of the Year Award but in 2021 this category went across London to KeolisAmey Docklands who were recognised for their achievements in 2020/21. This category also saw KeolisAmey Metrolink “Highly Commended” for their work in past 12 months.

The other main operator based award is the Most Improved System and the judges awarded this to the Blackpool Tramway. Now, considering that the past 12-18 months on the Blackpool Tramway have seen significantly reduced services running which even though a full service has been resumed is still seeing one of the worst frequencies during the summer and illuminations period for quite some time this award may seem pretty unlikely but that is what happened at the Honourable Artillery Company in London at the ceremony. In announcing the decision it was said that there has been a resurgence in passenger numbers over recent months helped by the staycation boom, seamless ticketing (as long as you want to pay by cash of course – although that should soon change) and low fares.

Ian Middlemiss, Head of Tramway at Blackpool Transport, said: “I’m proud to have accepted this award on behalf of the efforts of every single member of our team. The challenges and adversity we have faced have been matched with enthusiasm and desire to continue to offer an amazing service for our customers and I’m delighted that our collective efforts have been rewarded.”

Jane Cole, Managing Director of Blackpool Transport, added: “Blackpool is deservedly being recognised on a global scale for its efforts in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic in true Blackpool style. We have a world-class tramway system here and we’re delighted that customers are trusting us to return to their normal daily lives using our services.”

Away from the Operator awards, the Judges Special Award went to Mike Mabey, who is set to retire from Nottingham Express Transit at the end of October following 30 years in the light rail sector. Mike previously worked at Manchester Metrolink and moved across to Nottingham in 2014 ahead of the major expansion of the system where he ends his career as Head of Operations.

Paul Robinson, Tramlink Nottingham’s Director and General Manager, commented: “Mike has been a real asset to NET, bringing a wealth of experience that was invaluable as the network expanded.  He quickly became a pivotal member of the Senior Management team, always there to support his colleagues whilst leading from the front. Widely respected throughout the sector, as well as here in Nottingham, Mike thoroughly deserves this recognition, and we will all miss him when he retires.”

Elsewhere, the Midland Metro Alliance won two further categories – Outstanding Engineering Achievement for the design and delivery of the delta junction in Birmingham City Centre currently being installed and Rising Star of the Year where Marta Gasch Bielsa was recognised for her work in the Eastside extension project out to Digbeth.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is brilliant to see the success of our Metro teams at yesterday’s ceremony. Winning accolades for the complex engineering the team has achieved is fantastic, as is the recognition of the record investment we’re providing to extend our metro across the region. To be chosen as winners ahead of international entries from as far and wide as America, Europe and the Middle East does really illustrate how we’re leading the industry from right here in the West Midlands. A huge congratulations to the teams at Midland Metro Alliance and West Midlands Metro on their success.”

In total 17 awards were given out on the night with categories also having a Highly Commended status as well. Details of some of the awards – where awards went to UK systems – are given below:

Best Customer Initiative: Nexus – Reassure, Remind, Recober

Technical Innovation of the Year (Rolling Stock): Nexus – Digital Fleet Consultation

Manufacturer of the Year: Stadler (Highly Commended: CAF)

Project of the Year under 50m euros: Network Rail Tram-Train Learning Hub

Outstanding Engineering Achievement: Midland Metro Alliance – Birmingham Eastside Delta Junction

Employee of the Year: Adrian Rowe – HSQE Manager, MPT

Rising Star: Marta Gasch Bielsa – Midland Metro Alliance

Most Improved System: Blackpool Tramway (Highly Commended: West Midlands Metro)

Operator of the Year: KeolisAmey Docklands (Highly Commended: KeolisAmey Metrolink)

Judges’ Special Award: Mike Mabey

Judges’ Special Award: Andres Munoz de Dios

This entry was posted in Blackpool Tramway, Docklands Light Railway, Manchester Metrolink, Nottingham Express Transit, West Midlands Metro. Bookmark the permalink.