The railway industry and heritage

Network Rail works hard to develop the railway for the 21st century, while keeping an eye on preserving its built heritage.

The railway has a powerful impact on people and the landscape; development work on the layout of the railway as well as our bridges, tunnels and stations often alters its original construction in some way. Being able to do this sympathetically is important to Network Rail and we work with industry partners to do this where we can.

The Historical Railways Estate

The Historical Railways Estate (HRE) is a collection of over 3,100 structures and assets which were once part of Britain’s rail network. Since 2013 National Highways have been responsible for looking after the Estate on behalf of the Department for Transport. Many of the structures were built more than 100 years ago. The HRE team of engineers uses well-established methods to maintain the Estate, including yearly inspections of all structures. You can find out more about National Highways work on the HRE here. 

The Railway Heritage Trust

The Railway Heritage Trust supports the preservation and maintenance of listed buildings and structures that are either owned by Network Rail or that form part of the National Highways Historical Railways Estate. The Trust does this through advice on preservation and maintenance as well as its formal grant programme. 

Network Rail applies for grants to help with the repair, restoration and reinstatement of heritage building features and equipment as part of our civil engineering and railway regeneration projects.

You can find out more about Network Rail projects that have benefitted from grants from the Railway Heritage Trust

National Railway Heritage Awards

Network Rail is proud of the work we do in relation to preserving and maintaining our historic infrastructure. Occasionally we enter our projects to the National Railway Heritage Awards.

The National Railway Heritage Awards was established in 1979 and celebrates the implementation of best practice, high standards, careful design and quality of workmanship in the restoration and maintenance of buildings, structures and signalling installations.

You can find out more about the projects that Network Rail has entered into at the National Railway Heritage Awards website

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