Guest speaker at the prestigious National Rail Awards 2000 presentation gala dinner at the London Hilton Hotel on Thursday 7 September will be the internationally respected journalist and broadcaster John Humphrys.
NRA 2000 is sponsored by Angel Trains and staged jointly by NCE and RAIL magazines.
Humphrys is best known as one of the no-nonsense presenters of Radio 4's agenda-setting Today current affairs and news programme and has a long and distinguished career as a print, radio and television journalist.
As well as giving the evening's keynote address, Humphrys will also act as master of ceremonies and will present all the awards to the winners.
Commented awards director Clive Nicholls: 'John Humphrys is the perfect guest for the NRA 2000 dinner at the London Hilton. He is massively respected not only in Britain but around the world for his incisive and fearless journalism.
'As one of the leading voices of the Today programme I'm confident he will be known by all the guests from across the industry and within government who will be attending the dinner.
We're very pleased indeed that the man who calls Prime Ministers to account will join us to help host the NRA2000 dinner.'
Tables are now selling quickly, but there's still time to book and full details are on the inside front cover. The guest list already indicates that this will be one of the best networking nights of the year, not only for those who are already involved in the railways, but also for newcomers who want to work more closely inside this fast-growing industry, or join it for the first time.
'The Government's recent announcement of £60bn of new public and private investment in railways over the next ten years means that existing business opportunities are going to grow very rapidly.
'Those who wish to take further advantage of these new and developing opportunities - or break into railways for the first time - will need to expand their contacts rapidly and the NRA2000 dinner is going to be one of the very best chances to meet the right people in a pleasant, high quality, sociable environment, ' said Nicholls.
NRA 2000 is the only venture to cover the entire railway industry, from drawing board to driving cab and beyond, principally because of its roots through the readers, contributors and advertisers of organising magazines NCE and RAIL.
Commented NCE publishing director Andrew Dowding: 'NCE 's partnership with RAIL is a unique alliance, but the addition of Angel Trains as sponsor makes the event even more powerful.
'The awards dinner will be a high quality event and an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of everyone in the rail industry, whether they've won an award or not.'
NRA2000 is set to become the industry's 'night of the year' Oscars-style awards scheme and will be held in September each year. There are 13 awards and this first year attracted an enthusiastic response from all sectors of the industry.
Train operators, civil engineering design and construction companies, project managers, consultants, design companies, top executives, front line railwaymen, and software/computer companies submitted a wide range of entries. These posed a tough challenge for the judges, chaired by international industrialist Sir Robert Horton, but the finalists and winners are now all chosen and their names sealed in the NRA2000 safe, until the night of September 7 when they will be revealed.
Dowding concluded : 'I can promise you an entertaining evening. There will be no long and boring speeches and we'll make sure that the event has pace and excitement as well as credibility and gravitas. Don't delay making your booking.'