A rail freight operator has been named as the most reliable in the UK for the seventh year running.

Direct Rail Services, based in Carlisle, was given the award for being the Best Performing Rail Freight Operator at the Golden Whistle Awards last week.

The awards are made on the basis of operational performance statistics with DRS again being recognised as the UK’s most reliable freight operator.

Norman Egglestone, DRS’ head of HSEQ and performance, said: “DRS has been awarded another well-earned Golden Whistle Award which is only made possible by the huge commitment to customer service across the whole business, a real team effort, week on week, month on month, and something we never take for granted.

“DRS has and continues to maintain our track record of delivering commercial freight services arriving at destination on time or no later than 14 minutes late at a level above any other freight operator.

“This is no easy feat and reflects the professionalism and ethos of everyone at DRS.”

Debbie Francis, DRS’ managing director, added: “Safe, secure and reliable is at the heart of the DRS mission and we ensure this is in everything we do, these awards are a testament to the dedication of all colleagues and I want to thank each and every one of them for all of their superb efforts over the last 12 months.

"This award is for them.”

DRS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and supports its decommissioning mission as the UK’s only rail freight operator licensed to transport nuclear material.

NDA group commercial director and DRS chair Kate Ellis, said: “DRS makes a vital contribution to the NDA’s decommissioning mission.

"I am delighted to see them win such a prestigious award once again reflecting their commitment to service reliability and the values of the NDA."

Now in its eleventh year, the awards are organised by the Institute of Railway Operators and in conjunction with Modern Railways Magazine.

Over 300 rail professionals attended the awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel on January 24.