Inspirational railway worker recognized in King’s New Year’s Honours list: Nick Millington headshot at Cardiff Central

Sunday 1 Jan 2023

Inspirational railway worker recognized in King’s New Year’s Honours list

Region & Route:
Wales & Western
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders

Nick Millington, Network Rail’s Wales and Borders interim route director has been awarded an MBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours List.

Nick, who lives in Exmouth, has been awarded an MBE, (The Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the railway, charity and the NHS. He is also joined by two other Network Rail colleagues on the New Year’s Honours list, Stephanie Hart and Mark Bridel.

Supporting the NHS

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Nick initially volunteered to help the NHS and the British Army with the creation of the NHS Nightingale Hospitals. He led an army of volunteers that worked day and night to transform a former DIY store in Exeter into the region’s new Nightingale Hospital.

His leadership and coordination were critical to the team’s success in ensuring the hospital opened on schedule. Unlike some Nightingale hospitals, the Exeter Hospital, which is still operational now, was also used to clear the backlog of cancer screening in the South West. On completion of the hospital, Nick led the design and building of a wheelchair friendly garden at the Nightingale for the benefit of the staff and patients.

Also in the South West, Nick further supported the NHS by coordinating a team of volunteers - many of whom were Network Rail colleagues - in setting up a large-scale vaccination centre at the Westpoint arena near Exeter which opened in January 2021.

Nick also coached the NHS West of England ‘Clinical Research Network’ for a period of over 12 months ensuring lessons learnt from the pandemic were captured and the pre-existing medical research programme was recovered.

In addition to his NHS service, the interim route director has undertaken various volunteer roles with the Permanent Way Institution (PWI), including serving as president for 12 months. Nick has championed diversity and equality, whilst actively coaching and supporting the next generation of chartered engineers.

Improving the safety of the railway

As part of the ‘day job’, Nick has been instrumental in leading the Network Rail ‘Safety Task Force’. This work, which has focused on improving the safety of all track workers, has resulted in a 99% reduction in the highest risk work types over three years. This has led to a 70% reduction in ‘near misses’ between track workers and trains and ‘potential fatalities’.

Supporting those in need in Ukraine

More recently, Nick organised a relief train to Ukraine in April, five weeks after the initial Russian invasion. The train ran direct from London to Ukraine transporting 1,500 tonnes of crucial aid worth more than £1.3m. Thanks to his experience in the railway industry, he brought together five industry partners and led the collaborative ‘UK Rail for Ukraine.’

Away from the railway, Nick plays an active role in his local community - he is a Run Director at the Exmouth ParkRun and has also completed over 100 ParkRun events himself. He is an active Mental Health Champion and has been instrumental in generating fundraising ideas, including running the London marathon, skiing challenges in his running kit and raising over £250,000 for CLIC Sargent (NR’s nominated Charity partner) with his team.

Nick Millington MBE, Network Rail’s Wales and Borders interim route director, said: "I feel truly privileged to be recognised by His Majesty the King in the New Year's Honours list.

“I would especially like to thank the teams who have worked alongside me, whether that be in a voluntary or professional capacity because without such great people, many of these achievements would not have been possible. Helping others in need has always been a huge honour for me, especially during times of crisis and it gives me great satisfaction to know that I’ve made a real difference to improving the lives of others.”

Michelle Handforth, Network Rail’s Wales & Western regional managing director, said: “Nick is always looking for the next challenge or opportunity to help and support.

“His most recent focus having been organising the ‘UK Rail for Ukraine’ project, which provided 1500 tonnes of much needed aid transported directly by rail from the UK to war-torn areas in Ukraine.

“Nick’s work in areas of public life has helped many, many people in times of great need. He has an unrivalled dedication to helping others, personally, professionally, and leading others to make fundamental changes and improvements. His honour is richly deserved and I’m sure you will join me in congratulating Nick on this amazing once in a lifetime achievement.”

Notes to Editors

Nick left school aged 15 and joined the British Rail (Mechanical and Electrical) Engineering Apprenticeship scheme two weeks after his 16th birthday in 1990.

With over 32 years industry experience, Nick is now a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Chartered Project Manager and a Chartered Permanent Way Engineer; he is a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Permanent Way Institution (PWI) and a past president of the PWI.

Nick’s career experience includes railway maintenance, asset management, project delivery and operations. Nick recently led the Network Rail Safety Task Force and is committed to modernising railway maintenance, operations and harnessing intelligent infrastructure to keep track workers safe.

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