The Rail Freight Group (RFG) is delighted to announce that Victa Railfreight has won its coveted RFG Business of the Year Award. The Kent-based rail freight support service provider is one of the longest-standing members of the RFG and won the first ever Rail Freight Group award ten years ago.
This year’s award was presented to Managing Director Neil Sime by the Awards’ sponsors and presenters on the night John Smith, MD of GB Railfreight (GBRf), and Simon Coppen of Burges Salmon.
The judges said Victa Railfreight had demonstrated consistently excellent customer service and innovative thinking, while the rapid growth of the company over the last few years had created jobs and improved productivity, safety and profits for its customers as well as for itself. Judges also took the chance to particularly congratulate Neil Sime, whom they said was instrumental in the company’s ongoing success.
“Its driving force is a managing director with a passionate commitment to the rail industry. He realised that freight operating companies would benefit if another party took over the fiddly terminal operations, using older and cheaper locomotives and multi-skilled staff – so he launched that service. He and his team have continued to add new services and improve operational productivity for their customers. They have also worked on some of the country’s biggest rail projects including High Speed 1 and Heathrow Terminal 5,” judges commented.
This year’s dinner was the biggest ever for the RFG and made more special as it was the tenth annual Awards Dinner. More than 200 of the RFG’s members and their guests attended and commemorative silver plates were handed out to all those companies who had been members for ten years or longer.
Iconic record producer and railway fanatic Pete Waterman OBE, who was the first ever guest speaker, returned to provide a passionate reminder of the importance of the freight sector to the UK economy and urged companies to have an even greater voice at national level. He spoke about his work with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and efforts to free up capacity at Crewe and Birmingham. He also spoke in detail about his work to ensure freight could be carried on HS2 in the future and urged freight companies to ensure they had a greater voice at national level.
RFG welcomed a new category to this year’s Awards with Young Railfreight Professional. Everyone recognizes the importance of attracting talented and enthusiastic people into the sector and the judges were very encouraged by the caliber of people who were put forward. The winner was Jack Eagling, Senior Planning Manager at GB Railfreight (GBRf), whom judges described as being an industry-leading individual. Judges said: “His timetabling work has helped increase traffic on one route from 15 to 40 trains a week and his company credits him with enabling the introduction of two additional trains out of Felixstowe in the space of 12 months.”
The full list of award winners and runners-up on the night were:
Winner – Network Rail
Runner-up – Victa Railfreight
Runner-up – Hutchison Ports UK and Network Rail
COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AWARD
Winner – Associated British Ports and Brett Aggregates
Runner-up – Freightliner and Trans Ocean
INNOVATION & TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Winner – Freightliner and Unipart Rail
Runner-up – VTG Rail
JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD
Winner – DB Cargo UK
RAILFREIGHT PROJECT OF THE YEAR
Winner – Direct Rail Services
Runner-up – ABP Southampton and Solent Stevedores
OUTSTANDING INDIVIUAL CONTRIBUTION AWARD
YOUNG RAILFREIGHT PROFESSIONAL
Winner – Jack Eagling, Senior Planning Manager at GB Railfreight
Runner-up – Jonathan Trussler, Senior Controller at Malcom Rail
Highly Commended – Joanna Staniewska, Assistant Project Manager at Colas Rail.
Highly Commended – Luke Corkin, Team Leader, North of England and Scotland at Victa Railfreight.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
The winner – Victa Railfreight
On the night more than £1700 was raised for the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF), the chosen charity of the RFG Award, through a raffle.
RFG Chairman Tony Berkeley said: “It was an amazing night for the RFG and the rail freight sector as a whole. We all work in a dynamic and innovative community that can compete successfully while still coming together to celebrate the best successes and overcome critical challenges. A huge thank you to everyone who attended and we’ll do our best to top it next year.”