READING has been named as 'Station of the Year' in the industry's "equivalent to The Oscars."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid tribute by video to the UK's rail industry for keeping the country moving during lockdown at the National Rail Awards 2020, which took place last week (Thursday, September 17).

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For the first time in its 21 year history, the awards took place as a virtual ceremony due to the pandemic.

RAIL magazine’s annual event is known as the industry's 'Oscars', and were hosted by BBC news anchor and broadcaster Huw Edwards and RAIL magazine's managing editor and events director Nigel Harris.

They honour and engage the UK’s rail community and celebrate the industry's standard.]

Network Rail at Reading Train Station won the title of 'Station of the Year' following an unprecedented year of disrupted travel during the worst crisis in living memory caused by the pandemic.

This year's class of finalists and winners, including behind-the-scenes heroes, judges, category sponsors, frontline staff and passengers, were all highly praised more than ever for getting the country moving again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:"I'm delighted to be speaking to you at this virtual National Rail Awards and I want to congratulate you all for your heroic efforts to keep our country moving during the lockdown.

"If we needed any more proof that our railways are full of brilliant and determined individuals then just look at the way the rail industry has risen to the challenge of this crisis.

"At the same time advancing this mission to increase capacity, while keeping people safe with everything from one way systems, deep cleaning, encouraging people to wear face coverings of course, an outstanding feat the like of which has never been undertaken before.

"At the same time you've been getting on with essential maintenance pushing ahead with all the big projects, moving goods around the country, keeping a vital service running for all the doctors, nurses, social care workers, shop workers – everybody who physically had to get on with their jobs.

"So, I want to say a huge thank you, and a heartfelt thank you, to the entire railway family."

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Nigel Harris, RAIL’s managing editor and events director, said: "During the pandemic, our railwaymen and women made sure that essential workers, medicines and crucial supplies were all where they needed to be, month after month – not once was the country let down by this amazing workforce.

"Railways isn't what these people do – it's what they are – and they just got on with it.

"They deserve the nation's thanks and it's great that the PM took time out to offer such sincere appreciation."