Vortok International, a Plymouth company, has won this years prestigious Award for Innovation at the 2008 National Railway Awards, known as the “Railway Oscars”.

The Roborough-based company has developed a device to assist in the vital stressing of rail to ensure it is safe in extremely hot or cold weather and it is for this device that the award has been made.

The Vortok Stressing Roller has replaced old techniques that required three different pieces of equipment that the new unit integrates into one. It is an under-roller, a side roller and a lifting device all in one. It reduces the time it takes to carry out the work, reduces the number of people needed and operates in a much safer way and produces higher quality track.

The award was presented by Haydn Abbott, Chief Executive of Angel Trains, co-sponsors of the event with RAIL Magazine, at a ceremony in the London’s glamorous Grosvenor House Hotel to an audience of 1,200 of the great and the good from the UK’s railway industry.

The judges said “Any innovation that can reduce the time it takes to lay track perfectly has to be welcomed with open arms.”

The invention is being widely used in the UK but has already spread to Denmark, France, Australia, South Africa, Croatia and Brazil and has just last week been launched in the USA to great acclaim.

Vortok, which sells its products in over 30 countries worldwide, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pandrol Group, a worldwide company making rail fastenings, which itself is part of the French Delachaux Group.

The 18-strong workforce is celebrating this success against major international railway technology companies despite being such a small company, and is hugely proud to be bringing this award to Plymouth and the West Country.