The award is open to candidates over the age of 16 and entry is free. All entries are judged by an independent panel of acknowledged S&T professionals, led by a Past President of the IRSE.
Nick’s commitment and achievements are very evident from the range of activities that he undertakes. The growth and, where appropriate, modernisation of signalling and telecoms on the K&ESR is largely down to his drive. Overhaul and reuse of equipment is one of his pet activities and he provides an on-call fault support service. The novel “A” block which he developed for the railway, remote alarms and points out of correspondence alarms for signalmen are a few of his novel contributions made to the K&ESR.
Nick has created an electronic reference library and a cloud-based maintenance recording database and has developed and mentored supporting staff. Additionally, he does not restrict himself to just S&T activity but applies his knowledge and skills to associated operating areas including the railway’s rules and regulations working group and leading on level crossing safety.
The team is active in not just maintaining and altering mechanical signalling equipment but also in applying novel technology to suit the operating environment of the Museumstoomtram railway. They are not S&T trained but bring a range of skills from other engineering backgrounds. Their achievements are therefore all the more significant because of this.
Of particular relevance to their selection is the breadth of activity undertaken ranging from mechanical interlocking, work associated with the station remodelling and the unique level crossing processor developed and installed by the team. Good knowledge retention efforts and skills growth for mechanical interlocking and telegraph/telecommunications along with the creation of a versatile and active group of volunteers are positive outcomes demonstrated by the members. Their plans for further novel improvements are to be complimented.
Running since 2010, the award is a fantastic way to reward and recognise the work of the many hard-working volunteer engineers and is designed to recognise an individual or a team that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment, on a regular basis, to the practice of S&T engineering on your minor railway or in a minor railway context.
This prestigious accolade carries with it a cheque for £450 in prize money, membership of the IRSE for one year, nominal ownership for two years of the Charles Hudson trophy and a commemorative plaque and certificate.
The 2021 award winner was Chris French of SignallingWA for his work on the Claremont Signal Cabin.
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"It gave me a great sense of achievement to know that something I'd done had been recognised by the IRSE. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from others who had seen I'd won the award and this helped me develop my skills to the extent that I now have my own signal box in the back garden.
- James Tyers, winner 2010
"Firstly it was the best feeling for the work out in at the Churnet Valley and the Peak railways, that feeling of accomplishment and acknowledgement from all the other folks that were part of the judging was very much appreciated. Apart from that, as James notes, the world of signalling knowledge is something that is consistently growing and winning the award helped open up that knowledge base. I regularly assist anyone and everyone who needs that help themselves. Folks who were in the same seat as I was then all those years back myself, passing on those knowledge and skills."
- Dominic Beglin, winner 2011
"I am note sure what I think about my friends and colleagues who nominated me, if you asked me before winning it, I would have thought some kind of wind up as all I have ever done is my job to the best of my ability and lent a hand here-and-there when people have asked for the specialist knowledge I have. I have always been more than happy to help others out and pass on my knowledge to others as they grapple with their signalling and locking conundrums. I feel delighted to have been considered for the award, overwhelmed by winning it and humbled that there are those in my peer group (who are all pretty handy themselves with S&T matters) that think I deserve it. Thank you to all of them."
- Rolland Johnson, winner 2017
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