An exceptional range of innovative and impressive community rail projects, events and schemes were recognised at the 14th national Community Rail Awards, attended by 480 community rail partnerships, groups, industry leaders and government representatives.
Organised by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), the Awards were this year hosted by Abellio and ScotRail at a gala dinner in Glasgow, on 4 October. The event continues to grow in size, this year receiving 180 entries.
Severnside Community Rail Partnership beat off strong nationwide competition to scoop the top award, Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail, on the showcase night for the community rail movement, with their programme of projects aiming to put the railways in the west of England back into the heart of the communities they serve. Their work has this year included:
- an innovative, award-winning, electronic season ticket scheme for pupils travelling by train to Cotham School;
- rail familiarisation and safety visits for year 6 students attending local schools; an increased number of local stations achieving “outstanding” in the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ scheme;
- a 50-metre-long street art mural at Bristol’s Montpelier station developed in partnership with the artist Silent Hobo, Dolphin School, and City of Bristol College students; sponsoring and arranging a funding package for the complete rebuild of platform one at Avonmouth station;
- a new families and young people’s website and resource pack for ‘Discovering the Severn Beach Line’;
- the hosting of two ‘Fun Palace’ events along the Severn Beach line during the world-wide weekend celebration of arts and science.
Chris Austin OBE was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to community rail. Chris has been a prominent advocate of the community rail movement, leading the first consultation on the Community Rail Development strategy, later doing much to bridge the gap between community rail and heritage rail by being actively involved in both sectors.
The night’s category winners:
Involving Children and Young People sponsored by Rail Media
Conwy Valley Railway Partnership for Rail Safety Video
Involving Diverse Groups sponsored by Great Western Railway
Community Rail Lancashire for The Railway Confidence Programmes
Community Art Schemes – Permanent sponsored by Grand Central
Severnside Community Rail Partnership & Crimestoppers for The Fearless Four Seasons Mural
Community Art Schemes – Renewable & Smaller sponsored by Transport for Greater Manchester
Kent Community Rail Partnership, Bradfields Academy & British Transport Police Kent for British Transport Police Text Number Poster Campaign
Most Enhanced Station Buildings and Surroundings sponsored by Arriva Trains Wales
Friends of Buxton Station for Heritage-friendly life-saving improvements
Small Projects Award – Under £500 sponsored by Community Rail Lancashire
Friends of Ally Pally Station for Hop on a Train
Best Community Engagement Event sponsored by Great Western Railway
Community Rail Lancashire for Women Who Wander
Best Marketing or Communications Campaign sponsored by Govia
Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership for 100 years of aviation along the Poacher Line
Influencing Positive Change sponsored by TransPennine Express
Women in Community Rail for Women in Community Rail – ‘Achieving Change Together’
Photo Competition | “Community Rail in Action” sponsored by Porterbrook
Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership for “Carefully does it! Face painting on the Santa Special
It’s Your Station sponsored by ScotRail
Friends of Glossop Station – Lead Gold / category winner
Outstanding Volunteer Contribution sponsored by Northern
ACoRP Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Rai
ACoRP Lifetime Achievement Award
Chris Austin OBE.
The Awards were hosted by ACoRP chief executive Jools Townsend and managing director of ScotRail Alliance Alex Hynes, and were attended by 500 community rail officers, chairs, volunteers and partners, plus senior government and rail industry figures.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: “The Community Rail Awards are a wonderful celebration of the achievements and hard work of community rail volunteers and partnerships across Britain – and we are thrilled that the event continues to grow. A record 500 community rail representatives and their industry and government partners attended the gala dinner in Glasgow, enthusiastically applauding an impressive array of community rail work. Our winning entries ranged from a wide-ranging programme promoting confidence in rail travel among children and young people, to a defibrillator being installed in a station’s heritage phone box, to a scheme celebrating local aviation history. Congratulations go to all our winners and entrants, whose efforts show just how important community rail is, in connecting local people with their railways and building more inclusive, sustainable and cohesive communities. We will be sharing these inspiring examples throughout the year to come, to help the community rail field to continue to go from strength to strength.”
ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes said: “ScotRail is delighted to have hosted the Community Rail Awards in Scotland for the first time, celebrating the fantastic work being done across the country.
“Congratulations to all of the winners and the entrants for the considerable effort and time they give up to help connect local communities with the railway.”