Train manager in running for award

Robbie McKeown.
Robbie McKeown.

A senior train manager from Whitehead has been nominated for a prestigious accolade in the 2018 Rail Staff Awards.

Robbie McKeown is a finalist in the Outstanding Customer Service category.

Robbie, who works on the Enterprise service, will attend the finals in Birmingham on November 29.

He is the only Translink nominee in the awards.

Robbie joined the railway in 1991, starting at York Road Station in north Belfast as a conductor.

For the first five years of his career, he was on the frontline of suburban services to Larne, Bangor, Portrush and Londonderry services.

In 1997, Northern Ireland Railways invested and introduced a fleet of 28 new carriages that were built by De-Deitrich in France for the cross-border ‘Enterprise’ rail service between Belfast and Dublin.

This investment was a huge project for the cross-border route ensuring that the two major cities on the island had a dedicated rail service.

In 1997, Robbie, was nominated by his manager to progress to become a train manager for the new service.

From this, he has been responsible for the testing, introducing and running of the fleet of trains which was a milestone for his career. The service launched in September 1997 and since then Robbie has been an integral part for the flagship service.

Wishing him well, Lyndsay Orr, Enterprise Product Manager said: “Robbie’s award nomination is in recognition of a career working on our premium service and delivering excellence in customer service.

“I’m delighted to wish Robbie every success in these prestigious awards.”

Chris Playfair who has worked in the railway for 10 years and knew Robbie for over 20 as a personal friend said: “Robert is certainly a go to person who you can rely on.

“In recent times of disruption or service alterations, he has been a proven support to other members within the grade of train managers should they not be sure of anything or want to clarify an issue with their senior colleague, even on his day off when he is at home.”