The sixth Women in Rail Awards took place on Thursday 18 May at the stunning and iconic Roundhouse, Camden London. 

The evening saw 14 awards being presented across 13 individual and team and corporate categories, with a further 10 Highly Commended awarded to exceptional shortlisted nominees.  

Delivered by Nimble Media, the event was attended by over 760 individuals from across the rail industry, coming together to celebrate colleagues, teams and companies, who work hard to support others and to help create a more gender balanced, diverse and inclusive work culture in our industry. 

Following the Champagne Reception, guests were serenaded to their seats by the Southeastern TRAXChoir. A welcome address from Huw Merriman, Minister for Rail and HS2, marked the opening of the ceremony, followed by Vice-Chair of Women in Rail, Shona Clive, then an inspirational address by Anit Chandarana, Lead Director, Great British Railways Transition Team. Returning host, Gemma Cairney – Broadcaster, Youth Rights Activist and Author – and self-declared rail enthusiast – added a witty commentary to the evening. 

For 2023, a celebration of the allyship shown to Women in Rail over the past decade was rewarded, with the introduction of Male Rising Star and Apprentice of the Year categories. In addition, to add to the legacy left to the charity by its Founder, Adeline Ginn MBE, two categories were created to recognise an Unsung Hero and the dedication of a long-serving member of the industry with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 2023 Adeline Ginn Unsung Hero was named as Laura Warwick of Avanti West Coast – who the judges felt went ‘BEYOND above and beyond’ to support local charities, with a focus on mental health support, making a huge difference in the lives of her community’s most vulnerable people. Neil Pepper MBE of Transport for London was presented with the Adeline Ginn Lifetime Achievement Award, to honour his inspirational 36-year career in rail – during which he continues to be an avid STEM ambassador, inspiring thousands of children in London and the home counties, a passionate advocate for women within the industry – and a champion of equality, diversity and inclusion for all. 

In a first for the event, the judges chose to celebrate the efforts of two exceptional women for The Equality Diversity and Inclusion Individual Award. Elizabeth O. Umoke of Arriva Rail London – London Overground – and Laura Phoenix of Alstom – both deserving winners and incredible EDI Champions, who, as part of their working and voluntary roles within their organisations, have spearheaded changes for EDI within their companies and the wider industry. 

The judges specifically requested that all the nominees be commended for their hard work, selfless dedication, and commitment and that a huge thank you be directed to all those, and especially male allies, who nominated for this year’s Women in Rail Awards.

The full list of Winners, Highly Commended and Shortlist is available to view on the Women in Rail website.

Shona Clive, Vice-Chair of Women in Rail and Project Lead for the Rail cluster project and the Forth and Tay Offshore project, Scottish Engineering said: “The calibre of this year’s nominations was truly exceptional. We received over 430 entries from – and in respect of – a wide range of individuals, teams and companies in the railway sector, many of them from male allies nominating their female co-workers. The judges admitted having a very difficult task selecting who should be shortlisted and ultimately win. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated – and of course to our winners – who continue to promote and improve EDI across the sector.”

Women in Rail would like to extend a big thank you to all the 2023 Sponsors: 

Headline Sponsors: SPL Powerlines UK Ltd

Category Sponsors: BAM Nuttall Ltd, Worldline IT Services UK LTD, Morson Group, Egis, KeolisAmey Docklands, West Midlands Trains, Beacon Rail Leasing Limited and Hitachi Rail Limited 

Fundraising Sponsor: Telent Technology Services Ltd

Table Gift Sponsor: Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited

Table Decoration Sponsor: Rail People Solutions

The awards received tremendous feedback and we look forward to celebrating our inspirational colleagues with you again next year at the Women in Rail Awards 2024!

  • Roundhouse, Camden, London

  • Order of Events
  • Champagne Reception
  • Dinner
  • Awards Ceremony
  • Music & Dance
  • Carriages
  • Dress Code: Black Tie and Formal Wear

The Host

Gemma Cairney

Broadcaster, Youth Rights Activist and Author

Gemma Cairney is a multi award-winning broadcaster, author and activist.

Gemma has recently presented Landmark, Sky Arts’ 8-part series, uncovering the purpose and power of public art (Sky Showcase) and the web-series Art + Technology for Hyundai and the Bloomberg Media Group.

Gemma’s documentary radio series include The Leisure Society for BBC 6 Music and The Sound Odyssey for BBC Radio 4. Previous radio credits include: Island Sounds, Dolly, Dylan or Daft Punk, and Mali Music (BBC 6 Music). Tempted By Teacher and Bruising Silence (BBC Radio 1) garnered two Sony Golds and her interview with Grace Jones, Amazing Grace, (BBC 6 Music) won the Best Music Show Rose d’Or.

Gemma has presented acclaimed television documentaries including: The History of Feminism (BBC Learning), Riots: The Aftershock and Dying for Clear Skin (BBC 3). She made royal history by hosting a live Google hangout from Buckingham Palace for The Queen’s Young Leader project alongside HRH Price William and HRH Prince Harry.

Gemma loves to write, explore the planet, trek mountains and DJ garage classics. Her debut book Open, a toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2017 and was later released in paperback as Open Your Heart. Gemma’s love letter to her adopted hometown of Margate was also published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in Hometown Tales: South Coast. Her latest book, The Immortal Sisterhood, will be published by Canongate in 2023.

Keynote Speaker

Anit Chandarana

Lead Director, Great British Railways Transition Team

Anit Chandarana is the Lead Director of the Great British Railways Transition Team and oversees the whole operation of the GBRTT, working with Andrew Haines and team on the interim arrangements for the railway following the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail in May 2021. 

Prior to taking on this role, Anit was Chief of Staff at Network Rail where he led Network Rail’s involvement in the building of the white paper. Anit has worked in the rail industry for over 18 years and joined Network Rail after completing his training at Sainsbury’s, he then went on to spend five years at Shell where he worked in the retail part of the business. 

As well as his full-time role, he is also a Non-Executive Director for East London NHS Foundation Trust and has previously Chaired the Trustee Board for two of Network Rail’s pension schemes.