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Stagecoach’s rail companies came out top at the annual National Cycle Rail Awards held this week, scooping first place and commendations in a number of categories. East Midlands Trains and South West Trains were recognised for delivering good customer service and significantly improved cycle facilities.
East Midlands Trains won first prize for Best Customer Service for going the extra mile in their commitment to extend cycle facilities. They built a brand new cycle hub at Sheffield station and, despite some scepticism regarding cycle uptake in a city famous for its seven hills, it proved a huge success. Two years after the hub was opened, it had to be extended to cater for new cyclists who had embraced greener travel.
Judges praised East Midlands Trains’ commitment to customers and said: “There was considerable evidence of providing value-added services such as free membership and the use of cycle hubs across their network. This demonstrates a holistic approach towards providing cycle-rail improvements and benefits.”
East Midlands Trains also picked up the highly prestigious Operator of the Year, with South West Trains securing the runner-up spot. Judges recognised East Midlands Trains for its ambition in delivering cycle-friendly facilities. Better signage on trains, staff training and heightened engagement with cyclists and cycle user groups was highlighted.
The idea of a train ‘triathlon’ was also praised as an innovative idea – encouraging people to cycle to their station, take a train and then walk to their final destination. The judges said: “East Midlands Trains are taking a lot of care over getting details right. We loved the triathlon idea, and the way they are working hard to engage with their own staff. They offer a good mixture of the practical (bike health checks) and the creative.”
South West Trains was also highly commended in the Operator of the Year award for the number of cycle facilities that have been added across the network for the benefit of customers. With an excess of 14,000 cycle parking spaces, South West Trains has the largest provision of cycle parking by any train operating company across the UK.
From South West Trains, cycle champion Ross Kempson from Brockenhurst Cycle Experience was highly recommended for his hard work and commitment. Steve Smith from South West Trains also won a prize for photo of the year - two children on bikes outside the brand new cycle hub at Winchester station.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for Stagecoach Rail, said: “I’m delighted that East Midlands Trains and South West Trains have both been recognised at the National Cycle Rail Awards.
“The hard work over the past year has really paid off and we have managed to deliver better cycling facilities and make it even easier for our customers to cycle to work or for leisure. “We will continue to push forward with partners from the Rail Delivery Group, Department for Transport, local authorities and community and cycle user groups with new innovations to make sure both of our networks are as cycle-friendly as possible.”The National Cycle Rail Awards were created to recognise the progress that has been made by the rail industry, associated organisations and all those who work and use the network to integrate cycle-rail travel.