The winners of this year's Rail User Groups Awards have been announced. The awards, now in their sixth year, were presented at Railfuture's annual national conference in Leicester. "We achieved a breakthrough this year with almost all of the award-winners receiving a visit from a Vice-President as part of the judging process."said Railfuture President Christian Wolmar, who presented the awards. "The quality of the entries continues to improve, and this year was notable for three of the nominations - all of them winners - from Chesham & District, Chinley & Buxworth, and Hadley Wood, all focusing on station accessibility improvements for passengers."
Seven of Railfuture's Vice-Presidents, together with President Christian Wolmar, adjudicated between this year's 18 nominations across six award categories and eight of Railfuture's 14 branch areas. Judges Paul Abell, Ian Brown, Roger Ford, Chris Green, Stewart Palmer, Lorna Slade, and Stewart Stevenson MSP had all been able between them to visit almost every one of this year's contenders.
Every one of the eight Railfuture branch areas from which the 18 nominations came, from Scotland to Devon and Cornwall, saw at least one entrant awarded a gold, silver or black-framed certificate
Friends of the Far North Line and the Tarka Rail Association each won a 'Best Newsletter' Gold Award for their magazines.
The 'Best Website' Gold Award went to Stourbridge Line User Group. Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers' Association were awarded Silver, and a Commendation went to South East Northumberland Rail User Group.
Chinley & Buxworth Transport Group won the Oliver Lovell Award for Best New Group, while Hadley Wood Rail User Group received a Commendation.
The Gold Award for Best Campaign went to the Melksham Rail User Group. Hadley Wood RUG picked up the Silver Award, while Chesham & District Transport Users' Group and Chinley & Buxworth Transport Group each received a Commendation. It was notable that all of the last three have focused on step-free access campaigns..
The Clara Zilahi Award for Best Campaigner in 2017 has been awarded to Francesca Caine, from the Hadley Wood RUG.
This year's Judges' Special Award has been given to The New Stations Fund, for enabling 10 stations to be added to the national network and bring access to rail services closer to local communities.
Notes to editors:
Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.
Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk
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You can see the full background presentation to the awards-giving at November's Leicester conference at www.railfuture.org.uk/RUG+Awards