Chiltern Tunnels wins Innovation Award for Major Project

The completion of HS2’s Chiltern Tunnels has won the Major Project prize at the 2024 Railway Innovation Awards.

The awards, the longest standing scheme in the industry, are organised by the Modern Railways Fourth Friday Club in partnership with the Railway Industry Association. Prizes were awarded in eight categories at a lunchtime ceremony held at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London on 21 June, with trophies for the winners and certificates for Highly Commended entries. The keynote speech was given by West Coast Partnership Development Managing Director Shamit Gaiger OBE.

Excavation of the 10-mile-long twin-bore Chiltern Tunnel, the longest on HS2, was completed in March. The entry highlighted innovations within the tunnel boring machines and associated equipment, the use of excavated material, and also the project’s outstanding safety record. Highly Commended certificates were presented in the Major Project category for the reconstruction of the Tyne and Wear Metro depot at Gosforth and the upgrade of University station in the West Midlands.

A full write-up of the awards will appear in the Rail Innovation feature in the August 2024 issue of Modern Railways. The full list of winners is below.


Major Project

Winner: HS2 Chiltern Tunnels – Align JV

Highly Commended: Gosforth Depot Construction – Stadler; University Station Upgrade – West Midlands Rail Executive/Transport for West Midlands


Cross-Industry Partnership

Winner: Passenger Data Initiative – Network Rail

Highly Commended: DepotMATE – One Big Circle; Sustainable Rail Blueprint – RSSB


Engineering and Safety

Winner: Remote Disconnection Device – Network Rail

Highly Commended: Anchor Screw Foundation System – Network Rail and Anchor Systems; Digital Image Correlation – AtkinsRéalis; Trap and Drag Risk Reduction – West Midlands Metro


Environment and Sustainability

Winner: Implementation of HVO Fuel in Class 68s – Chiltern Railways

Highly Commended: Converting a Former Passenger Train to be an RHTT – Angel Trains and Network Rail; Solar Energy Generation – Govia Thameslink Railway and Energy Garden


Operations and Performance

Winner: Deer Deterrent System – LNER

Highly Commended: Freight Resilience of Operational Geometry – Network Rail; iWagon – VTG Rail UK and Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK); PANDAS-V – Transmission Dynamics


Passenger Experience

Winner: Superfare – Avanti West Coast

Highly Commended: Accessibility Smartphone App – Southeastern; Tidier Trains – Northern


People, Skills and Diversity

Winner: CGA Empathy Lab – Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry and CGA Experience

Highly Commended: Apprentice Train – Great Western Railway; Safeguarding Strategy – Southeastern


Small Scale Project

Winner: GUSTO – Network Rail

Highly Commended: ETCS Training Academies – Freightliner; Machine Learning Tech for Fraud Detection – LNER