The country’s first dedicated cycle hub, a pioneering school cycle scheme enabling pupils to take bikes on trains, and 1,500 additional cycle spaces across one operator’s stations are some of the achievements celebrated at this year’s National Cycle Rail Awards, held last week.
The Awards, which are run by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and sponsored by Broxap, celebrate the work being done by train companies, associated industry groups and individuals across the country to encourage the combined use of cycle and rail travel.
ATOC wants to encourage the greater use of cycling to access the railways. Train companies are constantly looking for ways to work with local individuals and groups to improve access, security, and information.
Cycling offers passengers a low cost way to travel; it has considerable health benefits; and it is environmentally friendly, all of which are reflected in the growing number of rail-cycle commuters.
Train companies recognise this and the growing importance of integrated travel, and the awards show the continuing progress that is being made in developing new schemes by working with local communities.
This year’s winners included South West Trains, which has improved cycle access for around 50% of its passengers by introducing 1,500 additional cycle spaces, three cycle hire schemes and installing six new secure cycle compounds across its stations, plus launching the Brompton Bike Dock, the first solar-powered vending machine for folding bike hire, at Guildford station. The Dock is a pilot scheme that will be rolled out to other train companies.
Another winner was Northern Rail’s Ian Hall, who set up the first UK school cycle registration scheme and Summer Series of bike events to promote Northern’s new Bike ‘n’ Ride facilities.
ATOC Chief Executive Michael Roberts said: “Train companies and the rail industry as a whole are committed to improving and developing cycle-rail provision, as cycling plays an ever more important role in Britain’s growing railway.
“We have seen a record number of entries to the Awards this year, not only from train companies and other industry organisations but from cyclists themselves.
“The consistently high standard of entries reflects a real commitment to improving facilities which both help those who have already decided to cycle, and encourage more people to opt for ‘saddle and train’.”
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: “The Government is committed to encouraging cycling as a healthy and enjoyable way of getting around. It helps reduce congestion, gives people more opportunities for exercise, and it can play a part in the fight against climate change. This award ceremony recognises the significant achievements train companies and the industry has made towards meetings these goals.
“Cycling can be a valuable part of a joined-up journey. It increases the catchment area for train operators over access by foot and also enables the bike to be part of longer journeys using trains. We continue to encourage cycling through cycle to work schemes, Bikeability training and improvements funded through the £560m Local Sustainable Transport Fund.”
The awards were judged by transport writer Christian Wolmar, ATOC Integrated Transport Manager Conrad Haigh and Martyn Brunt, National Cycle Network Development Manager at Sustrans.
Best Customer Service (sponsored by Brompton Dock) – Winner: Merseyrail
Best Local Government Scheme – Winner: Eastleigh Borough Council
Innovation (sponsored by First Group) – Winner: Leeds Cycle Point
Cycling Champion – Winners: Ian Hall, Northern Rail & Phil Dominey, South West Trains
Station of the Year – Winner: York Station, East Coast
Operator of the Year (sponsored by Cycle Pods) – Winner: South West Trains
Best Station Travel Plan Measure for Cycling – Winner: Purley Station Travel Plan
Partnership Working (sponsored by Abellio) – Winner: Northern Rail
Pic by Pete Skinner. More pix here.