5 minute read – South Western Railway commits a further £265,000 to community rail, as the Reading to Ashford, Windsor & Eton partnership joins the club

South Western Railway (SWR) has announced that it is committing a further £265,000 to Community Rail Partnerships across its network, with a new alliance on the Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside lines just launched. It brings the total number of community rail partnerships across SWR’s network to 12.

Community Rail Partnerships – or CRPs – are not-for-profit organisations that help connect SWR with the communities it serves. Connecting people and communities is at the heart of SWR, and CRPs focus on a wide range of projects which aim to:

  • promote sustainable and healthy travel
  • bring communities together
  • support social and economic development

The new CRP will stretch from Reading to Ashford and Windsor & Eton Riverside, and work with local schools and community groups, with a focus on supporting people who face barriers to travel. Seven stations in the area have already been “adopted” by local arts societies and organisations that support those in the community who have mental health needs and disabilities, and the CRP will be partnering with these groups to provide further support.

The funding from SWR is invested in both projects and employing an officer for each CRP, who delivers  the community activity. SWR is actively involved with each CRP, working in partnership with them to deliver outcomes that benefit as many people as possible.

Tim Barkley, Chair of Southeast Communities Rail Partnership CIC said:

“We are very grateful for the support from South Western Railway in creating our new Community Rail Partnership. Communities and railways work hand in hand together to promote social inclusion, support local businesses, involve local communities, and encourage travel by rail.

“We are looking forward to welcoming passengers safely back on board to take them on a journey of discovery to experience the best that that our region has to offer – whether that be culture, countryside, water sports, leisure activities or outstanding food and drink.

“What better way is there to have a relaxing and stress-free day out than taking the train to enjoy all that our beautiful part of the Thames Valley has to offer?”

Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager, South Western Railway commented: 

“Despite the challenges of 2020 and 2021, community rail has continued to grow across our network.

“South Western Railway is delighted to have supported so many vibrant Community Rail Partnerships, and we look forward to continuing our work with these organisations, and others, in 2021 and beyond.”

Iconic Isle of Wight trains reach the end of the line after 82 years

Today marks the end of an era as Isle of Wight residents prepare to bid an emotional farewell to Island Line’s famed and beloved 82-year-old trains.

The final Class 483 train will roll out of the iconic Ryde Pier Head Station at 23.17 this evening, closing a historic chapter for Island Line passengers and staff.

Every ending heralds a new beginning though, and Islanders can look forward to a major upgrade this spring with a new, fully refurbished fleet which will deliver a modern railway for the Isle of Wight.  

Old and new at Ryde depot - Island Line

The trains, which are estimated to have travelled in excess of 3 million miles in their 82 years, will enjoy a retirement which befits their cherished status. One will be heading to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, meaning that islanders and visitors alike will still have a chance to enjoy the old red train, while another unit goes to the London Traction Transport Group. Formed in May 2020, the Group hopes to run the train on the Epping Ongar Railway under its own power and even take it to rail galas across the country.

Commenting, South Western Railway’s Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:  
“Today we’re saying goodbye to a truly iconic train fleet which is held in great affection by people living on the Island and elsewhere.

“These trains had already been carrying passengers for half a century by the time they arrived on the Island in 1989, coincidentally the same year that I started my first job on the railway, but they have served our customers well – even if they have on occasion shown their age. This is in no small part thanks to the exceptional team at Ryde Depot, who have gone above and beyond to keep the trains running. 

“While this may be an emotional end to one era, it’s also the start of an exciting new one. The £26 million being invested in new trains and major infrastructure upgrades will help to deliver a railway fit for 2021, with performance and customer experience both set to be transformed. “ 

Steve Backhouse, General Manager at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway said:  
“The Isle of Wight Steam Railway already has a world-class collection of carriages dating back to the opening of the Ryde to Shanklin line in 1864. The 1938 stock have been an iconic feature of the Isle of Wight for the last 30 years and we’re delighted that a unit will be preserved at Havenstreet so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.” 

Daniel Nash, Secretary of the London Transport Traction Group, said: 
“80 years after delivery to London Transport,  we’re excited to be bringing unit 483006 back to a former tube line at the Epping Ongar Railway. We hope that enthusiasts who have not been able to make it to the Island today due to the current restrictions will support us and help us to keep one of these trains running in preservation. Although they have finished on the Island Line, this will not be the last chance to ride on one of the trains.”

The fleet of two-carriage trains were built back in 1938, serving the London Underground network before travelling across the Solent to the Isle of Wight in 1989, where they have been faithfully carrying passengers ever since. 

The Class 483's last maintenance fitters say goodbye to the train today

Maintenance Fitters at Ryde depot (L-R): Kieran Heatherington, Tony Long and Ian Butcher (Interim Depot Manager)

In keeping with tradition, the fleet set to replace the retiring trains are also former London Underground stock which previously served the District Line. This upgrade will give a major boost to reliability, comfort and convenience, with the fully refurbished trains boasting modern features such as free on-board WiFi, improved passenger information, at-seat charging points and wheelchair spaces. The first new train was welcomed onto the Island last month.

The new trains form part of a £26 million investment in Island Line, which will deliver the installation of a new passing loop at Brading, allowing for a service at regular 30-minute intervals; track enhancement work to improve ride quality; and adjustments to platform heights to improve accessibility. These major improvements will take place between 4 January and 31 March, during which time there will be no service on Island Line. A bus service will be replacing trains throughout the three months.  

Syon Lane station upgrade complete

South Western Railway (SWR), in partnership with their contractor Osbornes, has officially opened the new lift and footbridge at Syon Lane, brining enhanced station capacity and accessibility at the busy west London station.

With the recent expansion of the nearby Sky campus on Grant Lane, the existing station infrastructure needed to be improved to improve the customer experience and allow for the extra passengers at peak times.

The project has seen the installation of two new extra wide flights of stairs and a wide aisled bridge across the railway. Additionally, the station has a new lift down to the Hounslow bound platform and a new step free footpath to the Waterloo bound platform. New Oyster card readers have been installed and located in positions that aid passengers flows into and out of the station as well as a new customer help point.

Funding for the station infrastructure improvements has been provided by the Sky campus expansion, with the London Borough of Hounslow adding significant funding to ensure the station is step free and fully accessible. The finished station now boasts new structures that are not only capable of accommodating increased passenger numbers for years to come, but also removing the need to change trains at Feltham or Brentford for those with limited mobility.

SWR puts the customer at the heart of everything it does. The improvements at Syon Lane are part of a wider commitment to improving access across the network and the whole journey experience for customers, and investing in the communities it serves.

Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and One Hounslow said:

“The Council is committed to increasing the use of public transport and reducing the use of the private car and by improving our connections and making them fully accessible. By working with partners such as South Western Railway and Osbornes, we are fulfilling our ambition to provide high quality inclusive public transport infrastructure.”

Mark Hopwood Managing Director of South Western Railway said:

“The scheme to improve capacity and accessibility at Syon Lane was accepted as a legacy project at the beginning of the SWR franchise, we are pleased that it has been delivered and are looking forward to working with the council to make other stations in the borough accessible in the future.”

Appointment of new Managing Director for South Western Railway

South western Railway are pleased to announce that Claire Mann has been appointed Managing Director of South Western Railway (‘SWR’) and will take up her post early in 2021.

Claire has more than two decades of experience in the transport sector and has held a number of senior leadership roles in the rail industry including Director for Docklands Light Railway (‘DLR’) at Transport for London (‘TfL’) where she led the DLR team; Operations and Safety Director at Arriva Trains Wales; General Manager East at the former First Great Western (now GWR) and Customer Service Director at London Overground. Most recently, she moved within TfL to become Director of Bus Operations, where she was responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the capital’s 9,200-strong bus fleet.

Mark Hopwood, currently Interim Managing Director of SWR, will return to be Managing Director of GWR on 4 January 2021. The role of SWR Managing Director will be covered by Mike Houghton, Chief Operating Officer, from 4 January 2021 until Claire joins.

Claire Mann said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the SWR team. This is a railway close to my heart and one that is vital for connecting so many diverse communities. I am passionate about delivering an excellent customer experience and building on the great work already underway to transform this railway. People are the most important part of any successful operation and I am looking forward to meeting the teams and individuals across the SWR network.”

Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director, said: “With her experienced background in customer service and public transport, Claire is well-placed to lead South Western Railway as we continue our £1.2bn programme to transform the travelling experience for our customers. We are all looking forward to having her on the team. Although passenger numbers may be suppressed at the moment, people will want to travel again for work or leisure, and we are ready to play our part in helping the economic recovery across the network. I’d like to thank Mark Hopwood performing this important interim role over the past year and for his commitment to improving services for customers at SWR.”

Steve Murphy, Chief Executive Officer MTR UK, added: “I am delighted that Claire has agreed to join us as SWR’s Managing Director. Claire’s outstanding leadership qualities, along with her extensive experience across the transport sector, will be invaluable as we drive the business forward in line with our customers’ expectations. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Hopwood for the excellent job he has done as Interim Managing Director.” 

Mark Hopwood said: “It has been an honour to lead the team at SWR and I would like to thank all my colleagues for their professionalism, dedication and commitment in what has been a challenging year. I feel we have made real progress with our performance, our investment programme and improving our customer experience. I know that I head back to GWR leaving SWR in very capable hands.”

Meet Barry: South Western Railway’s secret weapon in drive to boost performance

The customer now has a voice at the very heart of South Western Railway’s (SWR) control room and his name is Barry.

Based at the Wessex Integrated Control Centre (WICC), Barry Lemm is one of the seven new Duty Control Managers (DCM) being tasked with ensuring that the customer is at the centre of decisions taken during service disruption.

Barry and the other DCMs are on hand 24/7 to make sure the right decisions are made for passengers as well as for the railway. They help to ensure that service is recovered not just as quickly as possible, but in a way that impacts the smallest number of passengers.

Barry Lemm, Duty Control Manager, said:

“We can’t have our customers in the control room with us, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a say in how our network runs. My DCM colleagues and I are proud to represent the interests of our passengers and be their voice in the control room.

“Those of us who work on the railway do so because we are passionate about delivering the best journeys we can for our passengers. In this role, we DCMs are uniquely placed to really make a positive difference to the services we run”.   

Barry and his DCM colleagues kick into action as soon as disruption takes place on the network, working to mitigate its impact and ensure that passengers are given up-to-date and accurate information as quickly as possible.

To assist Barry and his colleagues in the control room is a new web based tool called Standard Operating Procedure Checklist. This tool helps to ensure that incidents are managed in a timely manner by checking off the required actions of everyone involved as the incident unfolds right up until it is closed.

Previously, management of the train service across the network was led by Network Rail alone, but this new arrangement sees the DCMs working in tandem with Network Rail’s Route Control Managers.

The move comes following a 2018 report on SWR performance by Sir Michael Holden which identified train service management during disruption and the resulting impact on customers as an area which required improvement. The introduction of DCMs is a response to this and signals a major shift towards improving customer experience.

The Holden Report was the catalyst for the creation of the Joint Performance Improvement Centre (JPIC) which has been in existence now for almost two years. The creation of the DCM role was made possible as a result of close collaboration between both SWR and Network Rail, via JPIC, as part of the Control Transformation Programme.

Commenting, Stefan Chybowski, SWR’s Train Service Delivery Manager, said:

“We strive to put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and this shakeup will put our passengers’ interests at centre stage when incidents and disruption occur on the network.

“We are determined to drive up the performance and punctuality of our network, and the Holden Report identified disruption management as an area which was key to bringing about improvements. This move is a direct response to this report, with the DCMs set to help deliver the changes our customers rightly want to see”.

Former London Underground District Line trains swap the City for Island life

The first of the fully refurbished, high specification fleet arrives today, marking a significant milestone in the delivery of a modern railway for the Isle of Wight 

This afternoon (Thursday 19 November), amidst the usual mix of customers making their way over to the Isle of Wight, the 14:45 ferry pulled into Fishbourne Ferry Port carrying a rather different kind of passenger.  

Whilst cars, vans and lorries are very often seen boarding, it is rather rarer to see a train, on a lorry, on a ferry.  

With a major upgrade to Island Line underway, however, the arrival of the first of the new fleet of trains has been highly anticipated in advance of their entry into service in spring 2021. The delivery, which marks a major step towards a modern Island Line, has been in the works since September 2019, following the announcement of £26m of funding primarily from the Department for Transport (£25 million), with support from Isle of Wight Council (£300,000) and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) (£700,000). 

Whilst the outside of the trains may look familiar – although in a different colour scheme – the inside will tell a different story, with a whole host of upgrades, new interiors and enhancements to the customer experience. The complete makeover also includes adding free on-board WiFi, significantly improving onboard passenger information, and providing charging sockets and wheelchair spaces.  

The newly refurbished train will operate alongside four others in the fleet, due to arrive on the island over the coming months. These trains, known as Class 484s, continue Island Line’s long-standing tradition of using refurbished and transformed former London Underground rolling stock. They will replace the existing 82-year old Class 483 fleet, which were originally built in 1938 for the London Underground, and have served Island Line since the late 1980s. 

New train arrives on the Isle of Wight

The new trains – which previously served London’s District Line, delivering customers to popular events and locations such as the tennis at Wimbledon and the museums in Kensington, not to mention the heart of the City – are being built by English rolling stock manufacturer, Vivarail, based in Long Marston in Warwickshire.  

For those hoping for a sneak peak of what it will feel like inside the new trains, Vivarail have created a virtual tour of the train interior which can be viewed here 

Alongside the modern fleet, Island Line will soon benefit from a number of infrastructure and station improvements including: the installation of a new passing loop at Brading, allowing for a service at regular 30-minute intervals; track enhancement work to improve ride quality; and adjustments to platform heights to improve accessibility. 

In order to complete these improvement works, Island Line will be closed from 4 January 2021 until 31 March 2021, with replacement buses operating instead. Following these works, the new trains will be introduced into service. 

For more information on the improvements we’re making to Island Line, head to southwesternrailway.com/islandupgrade   

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of South Western Railway said: “Island Line customers are going to notice a real improvement with the introduction of this new fleet, improving journeys for the future. 

“The Class 483s have proven to be the workhorse of the railway, but these newer trains will help modernise the rail experience on the Isle of Wight for years to come. 

“This is the first major step towards a better railway for the island, and we are now only a matter of months away before the trains enter service.”  

Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said:“It’s great to finally see this long-awaited, welcome improvement, that will bring the Island Line into the modern era.  

“Passengers on the Island Line will benefit from the new fleet’s more comfortable and reliable services, whilst still being able to enjoy the unique charm that has become a hallmark of the island’s railway.” 

Rachael Randall, Solent LEP Director, said: “The arrival of the first of the new trains is a major milestone in our work with South Western Railway to improve connectivity on the Island. We now need to ensure that local communities can get the best possible use of this new fleet, with a regular service aligned with other transport options, and I am delighted to be able to confirm the LEPs £700,000 Local Growth Deal investment into the Island Line to make this possible. This will ensure that the service is sustainable and can operate for the benefit of Island commuters for years to come.” 

Bob Seely, Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight, said: “I am delighted to welcome the first of these trains to the Island. This is good news for residents, commuters, students and the tourism industry who can now look forward to a much better passenger experience from next May onwards. 

“Today marks an important milestone in the overall improvement of rail provision and connectivity from Shanklin all the way through to the mainland. We will see half-hourly trains throughout the day, starting earlier and finishing later to provide a more comprehensive service. 

“Along with the Isle of Wight Council, the Solent LEP, KILF and various other interest groups, we convinced the Government to back this multi-million pound investment in Island Line, which – together with the forthcoming work to Ryde Railway Pier – amounts to the biggest upgrade the route has seen in over 50 years. I am also grateful to South Western Railway who have remained committed to delivering these improvements, despite the significant difficulties of recent months. 

“Like many Islanders, I look forward to travelling on the trains once they are fully operational.” 

Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure at the Isle of Wight Council, said: “We welcome this investment in Island Line by South Western Railway which will usher in a new era of travel on this important railway line. 

“The new Class 484 trains will offer rail passengers travelling between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin more comfort, greater capacity, better accessibility and modern features such as USB charging, passenger information systems and free on-board WiFi. 

“This is in stark contrast to the current trains being used on the Isle of Wight which are older than some of the trains running on the heritage steam railway. 

“We look forward to seeing the Class 484 trains in action next year, together with a new passing loop at Brading which will enable Island Line to run a service at regular 30-minute intervals, providing better connections to ferries to the mainland.” 

Adrian Shooter, CEO Vivarail said: “The Class 484s are an excellent addition to our suite of emission-free trains and we are delighted that they are heading to Island Line.  The air on the Isle of Wight seems to suit trains so perhaps these will continue the venerable tradition of the Class 483s and keep passengers and tourists moving for decades to come.” 

Railcam’s Andy went down to Portsmouth to see the first unit arrive. Here are his pictures. And our view from Ryde cam of the unit on the ferry.

There is also a video of the first coach arriving at Portsmouth that can be viewed here

Templecombe and Haslemere stations shortlisted for coveted railway prize

Two South Western Railway (SWR) stations are in the running to be crowned ‘Station of the Year’, as part of the National Rail Awards (NRA) 2020.

The judges were impressed by Templecombe station in Somerset and Haslemere station in Surrey, with both being shortlisted earlier this month.

The Friends of Templecombe Station – a long established adoption group which has worked closely with the SWR member of staff at the station – has continued to produce beautiful flower displays which are on show across the site, including on the disused platform. They also host monthly coffee mornings in the station’s waiting area, supporting passengers and the local community alike.

The station has history with the awards, having been highly commended in this category in 2018 and winning in 2019.

The local station adoption group at Haslemere has worked closely with the SWR team to install new flower displays, a defibrillator and artwork produced by local schoolchildren. They also received funding and assistance from a variety of teams across SWR to completely refurbish the volunteer-run Information Hub, which is leased on a peppercorn rent.

Commenting, SWR’s Head of Stations Jerome Pacatte said:

“Our station colleagues and local community groups work incredibly hard to maintain and enhance our stations, and in doing help to enhance the overall experience of using our network.

“It is fantastic that the teams that help to maintain both Templecombe and Haslemere stations have already been recognised by the National Rail Awards. This is richly deserved, and we are all wishing them the best of the luck for the next stage of the competition”.

South Western Railway launches Apple Pay on its app and website

South Western Railway has become one of the first UK train operators to launch Apple Pay on its app and website making it even easier for customers to buy their tickets online.

Customers using an apple device such as an iPad or iPhone can use the feature through the SWR app or SWR website when purchasing a ticket.

The Apple Pay feature allows customers to buy a ticket without having to enter their details such as card number and billing address every time they purchase a ticket. Instead, the system uses the card information saved on the device to process the transaction in a matter of seconds.

Using the SWR app also allows customers to use e-tickets which can be saved directly onto a customer’s phone, rather than having to print a ticket at the station before travelling.

Peter Williams, Commercial Director for South Western Railway, said: “Using our app or our website has always been the easiest way to buy train tickets.

“We’re constantly looking at new technology to make buying tickets even easier for our customers and this new feature will do just that.”

Arterio fleet will transform travel

South Western Railway (SWR) today unveiled Arterio as the name for the new £1 billion train fleet set to transform travel across South West London, Surrey and Berkshire.

Unveiled by SWR’s Managing Director Mark Hopwood during a special event at Wimbledon depot, the name Arterio reflects the suburban network’s importance to the nation’s capital.

The UK’s busiest station, London Waterloo is at the heart of the South Western network and SWR’s suburban routes are the arteries which feed it, taking people to work and school, to the capital’s theatres, restaurants and bars and home again.

The 90-strong fleet will replace some of the network’s oldest trains, and will offer better reliability and performance, delivering more passengers where they want to go, on time and in comfort.

Customers travelling on Arterio will experience more comfortable and connected journeys with two by two seating, onboard Wi-Fi, at-seat charging points, screens showing real-time service information, air-conditioning, walk-through carriages, dedicated wheelchair spaces and fully accessible toilets across the entire suburban network for the first time.

The first Arterio train is expected to be introduced later this year on the Reading line, with a total of 750 new carriages to be introduced over the following two years.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“This is an important milestone for South Western Railway. This new fleet which will offer improved reliability and better facilities, getting passengers across the South West to their destination in comfort and on time.

“As services begin to return to normal levels and passenger numbers increase, it is our upmost priority to ensure everyone stays safe when travelling, which is why we continue to advise people to wear a face covering, travel at quieter times, wash their hands regularly and maintain social distancing.”

Mark Hopwood, South Western Railway’s Managing Director, said:
“The name Arterio reflects how important this fleet will be in carrying people in and out of the heart of the capital.

“Although passenger numbers may be low at the moment, people will want to travel again whether that is for work or leisure and we will be ready to play our part in helping that recovery. New trains that offer a transformed travelling experience will be key to that.

“The Arterio fleet is a massive investment for our business, and we are looking forward to our passengers joining us on this exciting journey.”

Matt Byrne, President UK & Ireland, Bombardier Transportation said:
“We are delighted that South Western Railway have chosen the name ‘Arterio’ for the 750-car fleet we have designed and are now building here in Britain.

“We are working with SWR to bring the trains into service as rapidly as possible, so they can help transform the vital routes serving London’s Waterloo Station.”

The new Arterio fleet is financed by Rock Rail South Western, a joint venture between Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure, and will be leased to SWR.

Mark Swindell, CEO Rock Rail and Director Rock Rail South Western, said:
“We are delighted that the new and aptly named Arterio fleet is set to deliver a vastly improved travelling experience for passengers returning to these key SWR routes into and out of London.

“The new fleet represents the largest single investment by pension funds and insurance companies into UK rolling stock, reflecting Rock Rail’s and our institutional partners’ commitment to sustainable travel and, working in partnership with SWR and Bombardier, to helping transform rail travel across the region.”

SWR’s community partners recognised with national awards shortlisting

A number of community rail partnerships (CRPs) and station adopters which have been given funding and support by South Western Railway (SWR) have been shortlisted as part of the coveted Community Rail Awards.

The awards celebrate the important, and often unsung work, carried out by community rail volunteers, partnerships, station friends, and community groups, in bringing local people together, running community engagement and rail accessibility initiatives, as well as helping communities get the most from their local railway lines and stations.

SWR provides funding and support to 11 CRPs (an increase from eight in 2019), and now has 55 registered station adopters (an 800 percent increase in less than two years).

In the Involving Diverse Groups category, SWR’s Community Ambassadors receive a nod for journeys they ran with three CRPs (Devon and Cornwall, East Hants and Surrey Hills to South Downs) for young people with learning disabilities, two primary schools and a group from Dementia Friendly Petersfield.

Two out of the three shortlisted community art schemes in the Permanent and Larger Project category come from the network, with recognition for SWR and The Lightbox’s efforts to brighten up Woking footbridge and East Hants CRP’s impressive vinyls at Liss station. In the Smaller and Renewable Project award, Art @ the station, a joint collaboration between SWR and The Art Society, Guildford is recognised.

Works at stations large and small are also highlighted, including the impressive work undertaken by the Surrey Hills to South Downs CRP adding flower displays, a defibrillator, and a recently refurbished volunteer run Information Hub to Haslemere station is shortlisted for the Most Enhanced Station award.

Four projects from three station adopters are picked out in the Small Project (£500 or less) section, including the SWR funded lifeboat planter at Lake station, community activities undertaken by the Friends of Brockenhurst Station, and the Making Connections project completed by the Friends of Wool Station.

The Friends of Brockenhurst Station are also one of two adoption groups shortlisted in the It’s Your Station category, going up against the Friends of Crewkerne Station. Each group has added impressive planters and organised community events at their stations, further helping the locations reflect the communities they serve.

Meanwhile, the man behind the Wool information project, Tony Smale, is recognised in the Outstanding Volunteer section for his individual efforts with the Friends of Wool Station, helping to bring a real sense of community to the location for more than a decade. Tony is joined in the running by a local Purbeck CRP volunteer, Mick Stone, who has been involved with the partnership since its inception, as well as supporting the North Downs Line CRP. One of the driving forces behind the Surrey Hills to South Downs CRP, Ken Griffiths, is also recognised for his efforts both at Haslemere station and along the line.

In the Best Community Engagement category, the Isle of Wight and Lymington to Brockenhurst CRPs are shortlisted for their efforts to adapt SWR’s funding for ‘Music on the Move’, a performance project with live music on trains, to ‘Food on the Move’, a programme which continues to distribute food to those most in need as a result of COVID-19.

The Isle of Wight CRP’s efforts with Fran Shelley and Alison Botha to deliver the unique Suit Yourself project, offering women the chance to develop their employability skills and confidence is also highlighted in the Influencing Positive Change & Sustainable Development award.

Rounding off the nominations is Three Rivers CRP, with a picture in the photo competition that captured the day the group took the (rather big) key to the redundant space at the station – the first peppercorn lease for a community group of the SWR franchise. The winner of this category will be chosen by a public vote – with anyone able to show their support via the awards page: https://communityrail.org.uk/events-training/community-rail-awards/

Andy Harrowell, SWR’s Community Rail Manager, said:

 “Over the last year we’ve gone further than ever before to help support communities across our network, providing funding to three additional CRPs, helping to create two new job roles, as well as supporting more and more groups to help their station further reflect the community they serve.

“We are extremely pleased to see so many of these collaborations recognised within these shortlistings. All across our network our staff and community partners undertake some excellent projects to support local areas and to have these acknowledged in this way is an extra bonus. We wish everyone luck when the awards are announced.”

The awards will be held as a virtual event on Thursday 9 December.