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A celebration of suc-cess?

The awards season is upon us once again. So imagine my delight and surprise a couple of months ago when the postman delivered a glossy flyer informing me of a forthcoming event - "The Cess of the Year Awards".

At last, I thought, movement! A chance for the rail industry to show off all those improvements it's making to the cess and, with it, the safety of all those who work on track.

Three days later, another large envelope floated through the letterbox, this time containing a glossy brochure. It gave details of the event at a posh London hotel. Categories for judging included -

  • best rebuilt cess in an urban area

  • best rebuilt cess in a rural area

  • best new cess alongside a renewal site

  • best new cess leading from an access gate well as several others covering all aspects of the railway infrastructure.

It was going to cost a staggering amount which meant that, if I wanted to attend, I would have to forgo fags, drink and a ten-day trip to the Costa I had planned this winter. Quite a sacrifice!
...if I wanted to attend, I would have to forgo fags, drink and a ten-day trip to the Costa I had planned this winter.

But I was promised a four-course meal (the dinner suit would have to be brought out of mothballs!) and an evening of magnificent splendour, with the highlight being presentation of the awards including the 'best in show' for the overall winner. An assortment of suits from the industry had indicated their intention to attend and a Minister (not sure whether they meant political or religious) had also been invited so a good night seemed on the cards.

A never-ending stream of large, white envelopes dropped on my mat over the next few weeks seeking support for the event.

Then, three weeks ago, more classes were added including the unusual -

  • any area more than one chain in length, adjacent to the sleeper ends, incorporating a position of safety

  • any clear area of land within sight of the sleeper ends

  • any area of land inside the boundary fence on which you can stand and still see your own feet

  • the Clutching at Straws Award for the Most Average Cess.

The accompanying note requested urgent attention to the matter.

But sad news. Today I received a postcard (second class) informing me that the event was being shunted into the long grass (plenty of that around the railway!) due to a lack of eligible entries.

Bring back the prize length!

Story added 1st October 2005

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