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Northern Rail wins Operator of the Year at Cycle Rail Awards for its role in TdF Grand Départ

Sheffield scoops Station of the Year following launch of Cycle Hub

Northern Rail’s role in the Tour de France Grand Départ in July, the biggest event it has ever had to cope with, led to it being named Operator of the Year at the 2014 National Cycle Rail Awards, where it also won the award for Best Customer Service.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, Sheffield Railway Station, operated by East Midland Trains, won Station of the Year at the awards, which are organised by ATOC and supported by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

The companies were recognised at a ceremony held in late November at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, with judges describing Northern Rail as “a clear winner” in the Operator of the Year category.

Among those presenting the awards were transport minister Robert Goodwill, and British Cycling policy adviser and former world and Olympic champion, Chris Boardman.

Road closures associated with the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire put unprecedented pressure on the region’s rail network, and Northern Rail spent a year working with the Grand Depart organisers, British Transport Police and others to plan how it would handle the influx of visitors.

According to the National Cycle Rail Awards website, “Northern Rail’s key objective was to deliver a successful event and enjoyable experience for customers, while maintaining its cycling policy of two bikes per train.

“They also wanted staff to be fully engaged, to meet the needs and wishes of the Northern Rail Cycling Forum and to deliver on revenue targets. The whole project exceeded £350,000 with costs funded by Northern Rail including extra train capacity.

“Over the TdF weekend, Northern Rail delivered successfully against its cycling policy through a high-profile communications campaign and Leeds CyclePoint had one of its busiest days since it opened in 2009.

“Members of staff were fully engaged and Northern Rail provided 150 staff volunteers. The Northern Rail Cycle Forum praised Northern Rail’s success and revenue targets were met.”

Sheffield Station’s role in the Tour de France – the city hosted the finish of Stage 2 – was also mentioned as it received the award for Station of the Year.

However, its recognition stems from the “significant transformation” the station has undergone in recent years, including the opening this year of the Sheffield Cycle Hub, which provides 400 bike parking spaces and is operating at around 75 per cent capacity.

The award citation on the National Cycle Rail Awards website says:“Developing the Hub created a wonderful opportunity for East Midlands Trains to address road access issues for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists at the station.

“The solution was to segregate the road traffic and divert it to a dedicated drop off and pick up area.  East Midland Trains is also working in partnership with a local bike recycling charity at Sheffield that trains young people who are out of work and out of education.”

It added that “a number of staff have started cycling and now also use the Cycle Hub.”

The winner of the Photography award was Phil Dominey for his picture By Royal Appointment which he took during September’s Richmond to Windsor cycle ride.

South West Trains put on longer trains and more carriages, enabling 600 cyclists and their bikes to get back to London from Windsor & Eton.

“The photo shows how the station was awash with bikes, but the station management instigated a well drilled plan to load trains with each coach identified for a specific station,” said the winner.

“The team kept everyone informed, resulting in South West Trains receiving praise via Twitter on how well organised the train service was. No complaints were received, no trains were delayed and considering that South West Trains didn’t know the level of demand, all of those involved including train crew and station staff, were pleased with the outcome.”

National Cycle Rail Awards 2014 - Winners

Operator of the Year Winner- Northern Rail
Station of the Year Winner - East Midlands Trains - Sheffield
Cycle Security Winner - Centro - Love Your Bike
London Cycle Parking Winner - South West Trains, Surbiton
Door to Door Journeys including Station Travel Plans Winner - Sustrans, Swindon Station Travel Plan
Cycle Champion Winner - Stewart McKenna - British Transport Police
Innovation Winner - National Rail Enquiries - Cycling in the Mobile app
Partnership Working and Local Government Schemes Winner - Sustrans and Bedford
Best Customer Service - Northern Rail
Photography Competition Winner - South West Trains, Phil Dominey, 'By Royal Appointment'

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Yorkshie Whippet | 9 years ago

ATOC (Ass of TRAIN OPERATING Comps) presented a TRAIN OPERATING COMPANY an award for OPERATING a TRAIN service. Anyone else see the connection, Boom boom!

So basically the train operaters take our money to have a knees up and present each other with awards.

Brilliant, I've just won the Yorkshie Whippet Award for cycling for the 25yr running. Take well deserved bow and pat on back. "Thank you, thank you. This award to goes out to all those who have supported me in the last year, I lOVE YOU ALL!"  31

truffy | 9 years ago

National Cycle Rail Awards? Who'd have thunk it?

a.jumper | 9 years ago

So that's Northern Rail who stopped me taking a bike to le Tour, and Sheffield where I was nearly killed by a bike falling off the top of their deadly two-tier bike racks.

Incredible and damning of the state of cycle-rail integration.

Some Fella | 9 years ago

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

HarrogateSpa | 9 years ago

This is laughable. I went to the Team Presentation in Leeds on the Thursday evening. Northern Rail had said they would put on extra carriages.

On the way back to Harrogate, there were no extra carriages - just two, from memory. The carriages were rammed to and beyond capacity well before departure time, and many people couldn't get on.

Northern Rail didn't do what they had promised to do, and it was a poor, poor show. I heard it was the same on the weekend of the Tour. It seems that their planning didn't result in anything useful. I'm amazed they've won this award.

matty c | 9 years ago

my experience of northernrail on the Leeds to harrogate day:
Walk to york station, manage to squeeze onto the four carriage train, with the two young children. The train then stops at every station between york and harrogate, were no one is allowed on as its full (so lots of angry people)
On the way back we left before the finish of the race, to miss the crush and potential long wait.
Their twitter feed was full of complaints of hours of delays from Leeds and York. And people were waiting 4 hours to get back to York!

sfichele | 9 years ago

Lets bust the bollocks:

I commute via Sheffield everyday. Sheffield station bike hub IS NOT OPERATING at a 75% capacity. FAR FROM IT, that is a big fat lie.


"The award citation on the National Cycle Rail Awards website says:“Developing the Hub created a wonderful opportunity for East Midlands Trains to address road access issues for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists at the station."

Utter bollocks. The rearranging of the car mess that presides behind the station long predates the bike hub. The drop off point has been a massive disaster - which all Sheffielders in cars absolutely detest. The access to the station for cyclists via that back road is one of the most hideous roads of anywhere, ever, as it's choke full of taxis all parked on pavement or driving on the wrong side of the road on a contraflow.

Whilst the bike hub is an excellent facility, the station decided to move ALL of it's accessible platform side parking (~100 spaces) to platform 6. This is at the far end of the station and requires walking across a bridge and using two flights of stairs. As a result people without bike-hub keys are now parking their bikes at the side of the station on hand railings - which annoys the managers, and there are constant notices on bikes saying dont park there.

chrismayoh | 9 years ago

The same company which said bikes not welcome on their trains at TdF time?  39

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