At the Heritage Railways Association Annual Dinner and Awards held in Birmingham last Saturday, 11th March, nearly 200 of Britain’s leading preservationists assembled to celebrate the winners of awards in 12 categories that recognised the best practice in everything from income generation to waggon restoration.
The premier accolade as Top Railway of the Year award accolade was scooped by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway for its authentic locomotive restorations, iconic wooden carriages, and exceptional visitor experience. The award was sponsored by Hallett Steam Oils, and although contested by a number of leading heritage railways and tramways, it was the Isle of Wight’s friendly welcome and booming visitor numbers that earned it first place.
A surprise winner of the Coiley Award for Steam Locomotive Engineering was the 2ft 6in gauge Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway for its restoration of its Brazil Class 0-4-2ST Premier. The locomotive was built in 1905 by Kerr Stuart and, relying on photographs, was painstakingly returned to as-built condition before returning to steam on the former paper mill line.
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Read more about the awards here: Wight celebrations, slate jubilations and Premier triumphant at HRA Awards | Heritage Railway Association