National Rail Awards 2000 organisers RAIL and New Civil Engineer - together with sponsor Angel Trains - can reveal that the scheme has been boosted by the incorporation of Railtrack's Station of the Year Award.
Railtrack's Station of the Year will be included immediately as part of this year's NRA2000 scheme, and will remain a permanent major category in the awards.
NRA2000 awards director Clive Nicholls said: 'The fact that Railtrack is so keen to see its Award rolled into the NRA is a very solid vote of confidence in our scheme, which is staged jointly by the market-leading RAIL and NCE magazines and sponsored by leasing company Angel Trains.
'This development is another tremendously clear indication that the National Rail Awards are already accepted and strongly endorsed by the industry as it's top Oscars-style awards scheme.
We really are determined to reward excellence and achievement in a top quality ceremony which will be strong on gravitas - with no long speeches.'
Angel Trains sales and marketing director Peter Rigby said: 'With our colleagues at RAIL and New Civil Engineer we're determined this will be a highprofile, outward-looking event which serves the entire railway industry.
'As sponsor, Angel Trains is delighted that Railtrack shares our aspirations and we're really pleased that its internal stations competition will henceforth be a part of NRA. I'm very much looking forward to its involvement.'
Railtrack's Station of the Year competition prizes will now be awarded in two ceremonies at the London Hilton on Thursday 7 September. The individual specialist awards will be presented at a ceremony held at lunchtime, with the prestigious overall Station of the Year Award being part of the NRA2000 awards dinner, held in the evening.
Railtrack commercial director Richard Middleton said: 'I am really delighted that Railtrack is to work with RAIL and NCE for the Station of the Year Award to become a major category at the National Rail Awards event. Our decision to support the NRA has been taken to help create a single cross-industry event to celebrate and promote achievement and excellence in the industry.'
The first phase of NRA judging, led by chairman Sir Robert Horton, took place in London on Tuesday 30 May.
Judges are now working in small teams, visiting sites around the country, travelling on nominated train services, looking at nominated freight entries and interviewing relevant staff and managers. The next phase of selecting finalists for this prestigious award will be held in London on Tuesday 4 July.