Birthday Honours awarded to Network Rail staff

Simon Blanchflower and Ian Harris both receive Birthday Honours.

Two people have been awarded honours on the Queen’s birthday for the work they did with Network Rail.

Simon Blanchflower, the former head of the Thameslink programme, and Ian Harris, an incident officer from the Wales route, have both been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Simon Blanchflower.

Now chief executive officer of the East West Rail Company, the project to link Oxford to Cambridge, Simon Blanchflower receives a CBE for his work on the Thameslink project and his voluntary work in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

Following the disaster, Simon took volunteer leave to coordinate his church’s response to the tragedy, providing community support and raising money.

Ian Harris, who receives an MBE, set up a joint project with Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Cardiff to create a track worker training programme, giving attendees training to lead towards the Personal Track Safety (PTS) qualification.

Ian Harris

The project doesn’t guarantee a job on completion but gives attendees the ability and opportunity to break out of the cycle of re-offending. Over 200 attendees have now completed this training, and the re-offending rate for those who pass the course is 11 per cent, compared with a local average of 63 per cent.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines commented on the two honours: “I am delighted that Ian and Simon have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

“Ian set up a joint project with HMP Cardiff, creating a track worker programme which has so far given more than 200 people the ability and opportunity to break the cycle of reoffending. His huge commitment to this project has helped significantly reduce the re-offending rate and prepare prisoners to secure employment.

“Simon’s work on the Thameslink programme and his commitment to passengers has been transformational, as he led a team of thousands to deliver our largest ever programme of investment. In addition, his extensive voluntary work has been recognised, particularly in the wake of the Grenfell fire. He coordinated his church’s response to the tragedy and continues to provide community support and raise money.

“Simon and Ian are inspirational role models and a reminder of the real difference we can make to our communities. I congratulate them on their honours.”

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