I'm absolutely delighted to welcome you to the launch of National Rail Awards 2000, staged jointly by the industry's two market-leading magazines - New Civil Engineer and Rail.
Both magazines are highly respected and between them they cover the entire railway industry, from design and construction, right through to operations and customer service. No other magazines are better placed to stage an annual rail awards scheme.
The National Rail Awards will celebrate excellence and achievement in real style. The Awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the London Hilton, Park Lane, on Thursday 7 September - so do put the date in your diaries now if you want to join us on the night.
Everyone in our world-class industry should benefit from the National Rail Awards, which will be outward-looking and committed to telling the world just how good we are - and highlight what progress the industry is making.
As chairman of the judges I can promise you a panel of top quality, skilled experts who I know will have a very tough job singling out the winners.
Let's make sure, as we leave behind a year of very mixed fortunes for the railway, that 2000 is a fresh start in every way - not least in our determination to really take pride in your achievements - and tell the world about them.
National Rail Awards 2000 is an excellent way to do this. I look forward to seeing plenty of entries for a Railway Oscar.
Sir Robert Horton
Chairman of the judges