Winners of Railfuture's annual Rail User Group Awards have just been announced. Now in their seventh year, the awards were presented at Railfuture's annual national autumn conference in Reading by Vice-President Stewart Palmer.
“The judges were so impressed with the nominations this year that they decided to make two Special Awards” said awards organiser Roger Blake.“The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway won their award, received by Chairman Danny Woodward, for reopening their heritage service into Princes Risborough mainline station in mid-August. West Coast Railways were recognised for launching their special loco-hauled ‘Lakelander’ service for Windermere. In a couple of weeks in June when Northern withdrew all their services, they carried 17,000 passengers in just that fortnight.”
The judging panel of Railfuture Vice-Presidents drew on the expertise of well-known industry figures such as Ian Brown CBE FCILT and Paul Abell, and included Railfuture’s honorary president Christian Wolmar.
The Clara Zilahi Award for best campaigner was won by Graham Collett, co-Vice-Chair of Yorkshire branch, who was visited by Ian Brown. The award specifically paid tribute to Graham’s lead on behalf of Railfuture in responses to two important consultations, both by the Office of Rail and Road. The first was on Improving Assisted Travel, leading to his subsequent participation by invitation in a follow-on ORR workshop on the subject. The second response was on the impact of the May timetable on Northern and TransPennine services and their passengers, and again an invitation for Railfuture to participate in a workshop on the ORR’s interim report and contribute to their final report.
The Oliver Lovell Award for best new group was won by the South East Wales and West of England Business Link (SEWWEB) with its campaign to develop the connectivity of a corridor via Bristol between Newport and Weston-super-Mare.
The best newsletter award winner was ‘Track Record’ from the Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield Rail Users’ Association. Vice-president Paul Abell, a former editor of Rail Professional magazine, was so impressed that he visited their Chairman in person.
The award for best campaign went to the Hastings & Rother Rail Users’ Alliance (six local RUGs, including four affiliated to Railfuture) for ‘The Eastbourne Overlap’, an innovative timetable solution to the proposed split of the through Brighton-Ashford hourly2-car diesel service at Hastings in May negotiated with GTR. The replacement 4-car electric from Brighton runs to Hastings as planned, but the 2-car diesel from Ashford continues west of Hastings to Eastbourne – ‘The Eastbourne Overlap’ – thereby increasing the previous 3tph service between Eastbourne and Hastings, via Bexhill, to 4tph. The HRRUA members are Ore Transport Group, MarshLink Action Group, Three Oaks and Winchelsea Action on Rail Transport, St. Leonards & Hastings Rail Improvement Programme, Bexhill Rail Action Group, and the Normans Bay Residents Association.
The best website award went to the Great Western Coffee Shop – a virtual online rail user group and forum run by a group of GWR customers with three active administrators, and a further nine moderators!
Notes to editors:
Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.
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You can see the full background presentation to the awards-giving at November's Reading conference at www.railfuture.org.uk/RUG+Awards