Record attendance as 2023 Golden Spanner winners revealed

A record crowd of more than 450 industry representatives gathered in London for the annual Golden Spanner Awards, organised by the Modern Railways Fourth Friday Club.

The Spanners is the annual event at which the rolling stock sector meets to celebrate improvements in train maintenance practices and reliability. A morning conference on topical rolling stock matters featured presentations from Midlands Connect, Instrumentel, CrossCountry and East Midlands Railway. After-lunch speaker John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, shared his reflections on train maintenance before Modern Railways Industry and Technology Editor Roger Ford revealed the winners of the Golden Spanners.

This year’s awards were calculated using Miles per 701D for the first time, 701D being the fault code now used by the industry to measure fleet reliability. Figures are based on the Moving Annual Average Mp701D figure to Period 6, the period ending in mid-September. The fleet reliability data is collected by the Rail Delivery Group as part of the Fleet Challenge initiative.

Gold Spanners are awarded to the best performing fleet in each category (based on age and type of train) and Silver for most improved over the last year. Bronze Spanners were previously awarded to the fleet with the lowest average Delay Per Incident (DPI), but as this measure is no longer recorded, new Bronze awards were presented to the best operator in each of the long-distance, regional and London & South East sectors for minimising the delay impact of any train failures.

The headline sponsor at the Golden Spanner Awards is Houghton International, which this year marked 10 years of support for the awards. Associate sponsors were Hexagon, Hitachi, Porterbrook and Resonate – we are grateful to all our sponsors for their support.

This year’s winners are listed below – Roger Ford’s full fleet reliability review will appear in the January 2024 issue of Modern Railways, on sale on 28 December.



Gold: South Western Railway Class 159/0 (Salisbury Depot; BREL/Cummins/Voith; Porterbrook)

Silver: East Midlands Railway Class 158 (Eastcroft Depot; BREL/Cummins/Voith; Angel Trains/Porterbrook)



Gold: South Western Railway Class 455 (Wimbledon Depot; BREL/Vossloh-Kiepe; Porterbrook)

Silver: West Midlands Trains Class 323 (Soho Depot; Hunslet TPL; Porterbrook)


Wild card – most reliable loco-hauled fleet

Gold: LNER InterCity 225 (Neville Hill Depot; Met-Camm/GEC/BREL; Eversholt Rail)


Bronze Awards – lowest passenger impact

Regional: Merseyrail

London and South East: c2c

Inter-city/inter-urban: Great Western Railway


1st Generation new inter-city

Gold: East Midlands Railway Class 222 (Etches Park Depot; Bombardier (Alstom)/Cummins; Eversholt Rail)

Silver: Grand Central Class 180 (Heaton Depot; Alstom/Cummins/Voith; Angel Trains)


2nd Generation new inter-city

Gold: Hull Trains Class 802 (Bounds Green Depot; Hitachi; Angel Trains)

Silver: Lumo Class 803 (Craigentinny Depot; Hitachi; Beacon Rail)


1st Generation new DMU

Gold: Govia Thameslink Railway Class 171 (Selhurst Depot; Bombardier (Alstom)/MTU/Voith; Eversholt Rail/Porterbrook)

Silver: East Midlands Railway Class 170 (Etches Park Depot; Bombardier (Alstom)/MTU/Voith; Eversholt Rail/Porterbrook)


2nd Generation new DMU

Gold: Greater Anglia Class 755/4 (Crown Point Depot; Stadler/Deutz; Rock Rail)

Silver: Northern Class 195/1 (Newton Heath Depot; CAF/Rolls-Royce/ZF; Eversholt Rail)


1st Generation new EMU

Gold: Govia Thameslink Railway Class 387/1 (Hornsey Depot; Bombardier (Alstom); Porterbrook)

Silver: c2c Class 357 (East Ham Depot; Bombardier (Alstom); Angel Trains/Porterbrook)


2nd Generation new EMU

Gold: ScotRail Class 385 (Craigentinny Depot; Hitachi; Caledonian Rail Leasing)

Silver: Arriva Rail London Class 710/1 (Willesden Depot; Alstom; Rail for London)