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South West Trains rides away with two national cycling awards

South West Trains has picked up two awards at this year’s National Cycle Rail Awards for the improvements it has made in encouraging cyclists onto the rail network. 

Brockenhurst station was voted winner of the Customer Service Excellence award for the new information system it has introduced to make life easier for cyclists returning home from a cycling trip in the New Forest National Park. The judging panel were impressed with the new system, which alerts South West Trains staff at Brockenhurst station of the availability and location of cycle spaces on incoming trains. The station staff can then ensure that bike users are ready to board at the correct location, ensuring an easy and hassle-free experience. 

The team at Brockenhurst have also gone one step further in trying to cater for the needs of cyclists visiting the New Forest, which is the closest national park to London, through the introduction of a partnership with local bike hire companies. The hire companies, who now have a presence at the station, provide an opportunity to rent a bike for their day out rather than bringing one on the train.

On awarding Brockenhurst station, which also recently won the award for Medium Station of the Year at the National Rail Awards, the judges commented that they were highly impressed with the efforts of South West Trains’ staff to go the extra mile and make the service better for cycle rail customers.

South West Trains also picked up a highly commended award for Most Innovative Approach to Cycle Rail Integration, for its Brompton Bike Hire Initiative. The innovative scheme, introduced in early 2009, allows passengers to hire out bikes from London’s Waterloo station. Following a successful trial amongst season ticket holders, the scheme has now been rolled out to all South West Trains passengers.

Dean Pettit, Station Manager for Brockenhurst, who collected the award on behalf of South West Trains said: “The team at Brockenhurst have invested a lot of time and careful thought into how we could make improvements for cyclists travelling to and from the station, and it’s fantastic that this has been recognised through such a prestigious award. This is a real achievement for the station, and one that all the staff will be extremely proud of.”

Dave Holladay, Public Transport Advisor for CTC, the UK’s National Cyclists’ Organisation, added: “I was impressed by the way the co-ordination between the Brockenhurst station team, the train crews and the local bike hire operators has found practical and pragmatic ways to meet the demand for leisure cycling in the New Forest National Park and turn what was a problem into an opportunity, which they have delivered seamlessly with a minimum of fuss using the existing resources. Likewise, the South West Trains’ Brompton hire scheme has piloted and now delivers another complete journey package from door-to-desk, potentially saving commuting customers a substantial amount of time and stress every morning. It is clear from these two awards that South West Trains is already delivering very effectively for cyclists.”

The National Cycle Rail Awards, now in their sixth year, 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.