Community Rail Award shortlist
Abellio Greater Anglia and the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) with which it works to promote local and community train services on the Norwich to Sheringham line in Norfolk, have been short-listed for two awards at this year's national Community Rail Awards.
The awards celebrate outstanding achievement and best practice in community rail development.
Abellio Greater Anglia, Norfolk County Council and the Bittern Line CRP have been recognised in the Outstanding Teamwork and Passengers Matter categories for the continued development of the Bittern Line train service which runs between Norwich and Cromer / Sheringham, including the introduction of a year-round hourly Sunday service on the line, which saw Sunday passenger journeys increase by 20% in the first quarter of 2015.
The enhanced service was launched last October, meaning that for the first time there is an hourly frequency of service on Sundays during the winter period and therefore throughout the year on the Bittern Line, benefiting communities along the route by providing better connectivity for trips to and from Norwich and the coast, and making North Norfolk more accessible and attractive for weekend breaks, all year round.
Other improvements to the line in the last two years have included the introduction of a ticket vending machine at Cromer, refurbishment of the trains used on the line, a later train departure from Norwich to Sheringham on Fridays and Saturdays, better customer facilities at North Walsham (including better lighting, a ticket vending machine and new customer information screens) and very good train service performance with a moving annual average punctuality of almost 95%.
Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Abellio Greater Anglia commented:
"We're pleased that our positive work with Norfolk County Council and the Bittern Line CRP to promote and improve the train service on the Bittern Line has been recognised. From the start of our franchise we made a real commitment to our Community Rail lines - doubling train operator funding for the CRPs in East Anglia and investing time and resources into working closely with them to encourage more people to use the train - as well as optimising the role of rail services and stations in supporting local communities and the local economy.
It's great to see this partnership approach and the efforts of many people in Abellio Greater Anglia, the CRPs and local councils, plus some outstanding volunteers, receiving national recognition. We'll continue to work together to develop community rail lines and we are backing that commitment with the further 20% increase in funding we have made as part of current short franchise to October 2016."
The award winners and commended initiatives will be announced at the 11th annual Community Rail Awards event which will be held in Torquay on Thursday 1st October.