Golden Spanner Awards

Date(s) - November 26 2021
9:00am - 4:30pm

The Grand Connaught Rooms

Sponsored By

           Houghton International Logo

In association with



spanner-trophyModern Railways Industry and Technology Editor Roger Ford (‘Captain Deltic’ to generations of the magazine’s readers) has for many years assessed the reliability of the nation’s train fleets. In 2005 the 4th Friday Club asked the Cap’n to hand out that archetypal depot tool, a spanner, to the builders, owners and maintainers of the most reliable fleets.

The Golden Spanners is now an annual event at which all those interested in railway rolling stock meet to discuss best practice and celebrate excellence in train maintenance. After lunch and a speech from a key industry figure Roger Ford leads the awards.


HOST: Roger Ford

Industry and Technology Editor of Modern Railways

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Roger is probably best known for his authoritative column ‘Informed Sources’ in the monthly trade and technical magazine Modern Railways. ‘Informed Sources’ is noted for its in-depth analysis of railway technical, commercial and policy issues.


Director of Rail, Transport Scotland

Bill Reeve

Bill Reeve joined Transport Scotland to establish its new rail team, following the devolution of rail powers to the Scottish Parliament in 2005. Bill has worked in a number of roles in Transport Scotland, and is now Director of Rail. Bill also leads Transport Scotland’s work introducing integrated smart ticketing across all public transport modes in Scotland.

Bill has more than 30 years of experience of the passenger and freight transport industry, working in British Rail, the privatised rail industry, and as Director of Project Sponsorship at the Strategic Rail Authority prior to joining Transport Scotland.

Bill’s career has included front line production management; rail freight business development; policy and strategy development; management of franchise contracts; and major rail project sponsorship including new railways, rolling stock and service developments.

Bill is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and recently served as Chairman of its Railway Division.


The Golden Spanners awards – in which the trophies feature that archetypal element of train maintenance, a spanner – celebrate the best of rolling stock maintenance and are handed out to those companies making the greatest strides in train reliability, as measured by MTIN (Miles per Technical Incident). The awards are based on moving annual averages at Period 7 (four weeks ending mid-October).

The source of the statistics on which the Golden Spanners awards are based is the ReFocus programme run by the Association of Train Operating Companies. This is part of Fleet Challenge, which is responsible for rolling stock performance within the cross-industry National Task Force. This was set up by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the late 1990s following concerns about punctuality.

Initially called the National Fleet Reliability Improvement Programme (NFRIP), the aim of ReFocus is to encourage the spread of best practice in train maintenance: the Golden Spanners awards are acknowledged as having made a valuable contribution to this aim.


• Ex-BR Inter-city
• First generation new inter-city
• Second generation new inter-city
• First generation new DMU
• First generation new EMU
• Second generation new DMU
• Second generation new EMU
• Wild card – a different category every year, decided by Cap’n Deltic

In each category, the Golden Spanner is awarded for the most reliable train based on Miles per Technical Incident (MTIN), the Silver Spanner for most improved (percentage improvement in MTIN), and the Bronze Spanner for fastest incident recovery, based on primary Delay minutes Per Incident (DPI). Each year the Cap’n normally specifies a wild card category as well – such as Pacers or loco-hauled trains.


The Golden Spanner awards are made on the basis of statistical information compiled by the industry and do not require companies to enter.


For sponsorship opportunities contact Dave Lane via email or call on 07795 031051


The schedule for the 2021 Golden Spanners event will be confirmed later this year.

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