RUG Awards


Railfuture organises the annual Rail User Group (RUG) Awards, inaugurated in 2012.

Railfuture's annual Awards for Rail User Groups aim to recognise and reward local volunteers who come together and work tirelessly to improve their local railway and stations on behalf of their passengers, efforts which all-too-often would otherwise pass unheralded. Newsletters, websites, campaigns, campaigners, new groups, and use of social media - all are in the field for the 'shy and retiring' to be bold and have a go at celebrating success; and yes, self-nomination is allowed!

The volunteers may be modest but that cannot be said of their achievements. Now in their fifth year, the RUG Awards have so far celebrated 20 RUGs, seven individual campaigners, a Railfuture branch - and, through one RUG, a winning entry from among a group of Northumberland schools!

From Friends of the Settle and Carlisle Line and Harrogate Line Supporters Group in the north to the TransWilts CRP in the south, from the Abbey Flyer RUG in the east to the Saltford Station Campaign in the west, Railfuture has rewarded them, and many others as can be seen via the links below.

From friends of a station with one train a week in one direction only, to those valued by volumes of commuters - 'all stations great and small' - Railfuture has recognised them, and others. You can learn more about previous years' award-winners and their achievements by clicking on links further down this page.


This year 13 Rail User Groups were in the running for awards in the six categories. 17 individual entries were received, coming from groups spread across six of our branch areas. The nominations are judged by an expert panel of our Vice-Presidents, one of whom Roger Ford said in his 'Informed Sources' e-magazine: "November starts with one of the year’s most enjoyable meetings. As an honorary Vice-President of Railfuture I get to join the judging panel for the annual awards. For someone who spends too much time writing about high level policy in these difficult times, it is a refreshing change to help celebrate the successes at the grass roots." Vice-President Stewart Palmer then stood in for President Christian Wolmar to make the RUG Award presentations at our autumn conference titled "Heart of the railway - how West Midlands will lead the way to the future" held in Birmingham on Saturday 12 November.

From the North West seven RUGs and station Friends threw their proverbial hats into the ring: Copeland RUG, Lancaster and Skipton RUG, Furness Line Action Group, North Cheshire RUG, Friends of Reddish South Station, Friends of St. Anne's Stations, and Friends of Rose Hill Station. The North East had an entry from the South East Northumberland RUG, while Yorkshire saw an entry from Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield RUA. Away from The North, Wales had an entry from the Magor and Undy Station Action Group, Wessex had an entry from the Salisbury to Exeter RUG, while London and South East had entries from the Association of Public Transport Users (Thameslink North) and Cambridge Heath and London Fields RUG.

Now read the Press Release announcing the winners.

Download the PowerPoint slides presented at the 2016 awards ceremony.

Click to download RUG Awards Rules 2016.


This year the request for nominations was brought forward to allow more time for our Vice-Presidents who made up the judging panel to have a chance to visit entrants and learn about them and their activities in more detail. Vice-President Roger Ford of Modern Railways' Informed Sources said "Joining my fellow Vice-presidents on the judging panel for the Railfuture annual awards is always an enjoyable meeting and provides an insight into the grass roots railway."

Unlike most other awards, Railfuture has no short-list - the judging panel sees every submission, so the playing-field is completely level. Some previous winners have been smart entrants by going for more than one award category! Recognition comes even from just entering, never mind winning.

Ten Rail User Groups were in the running for this year's awards, presented by our President Christian Wolmar at Railfuture's autumn conference in Bristol on Saturday 7 November. Twenty individual entries were received in all six categories, coming from groups spread across five of our branch areas.

Lakes Line RUG and Ribble Valley RUG were entries from the North-West, while Yorkshire saw entries from Friends of the Settle and Carlise Line and Harrogate Line Supporters Group. Further south, Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers' Association entered from the Thames Valley, and in the London and South East branch area entries came from Abbey Flyer Users' Group and for Dartford Rail Travellers' Association. Saltford Station Campaign, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, and TransWilts Community Rail Partnership entered from Severnside, which was the host organising branch for our November conference titled "Rail Resurgence in the West of England".

The categories entered were for the Best Newsletter, Website, Campaign, Campaigner, New Group, and Social Media. The judging panel of Railfuture Vice-Presidents also chose to make their own Judges' Special Award. Nominations are made and winners selected according to the latest downloadable RUG Awards Rules.

See news article on 2015 winners.

Read the Press Release.

Download the PowerPoint slides presented at the 2015 awards ceremony.


See news article on 2014 Winners.
Read the Press Release.

Download the PowerPoint slides presented at the 2014 awards ceremony.


See news article on 2013 Winners.

Download the Official Notice of the award winners.

Download the PowerPoint slides presented at the 2013 awards ceremony.


See news article on 2012 Winners.

Download the Press Release.

Download the PowerPoint slides presented at the 2012 awards ceremony.