2016 National Cycle-Rail Awards show how work by the rail industry and its partners is oiling the wheels of a cycle-rail boom across Britain


east_mids_cycle_railEast Midlands Trains won two awards

Better bike facilities at stations and on trains are helping to fuel a rapid rise in the number of people combining cycle and rail to get to work or to make leisure trips, with around 50million ‘cycle-rail’ journeys last year, up 40% on 2010.

The number of cycle-rail journeys where a bike is parked at a station has increased by 70% per cent since 2010. The number of cycle spaces at rail stations has risen from 23,500 to more than 70,000 in the last six years, with that number set to rise to 75,000 in 2017.

The National Cycle-Rail Awards, run by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of the Cycle Rail Working Group, are sponsored by CyclePods and are now in their 12th year. This year’s awards were presented by transport minister Paul Maynard at a ceremony in London last month.

This year’s winners include:

Best Customer Service:
East Midlands Trains – A Cyclist’s Experience

Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains has made a success of their Sheffield cycle hub despite some critics saying the hills in the city would deter people from getting on their bikes. In fact, within two years the facility had to be extended. East Midlands Trains now has seven large, secure hubs on their network. They are free to use, and when a cyclist registers for one hub they also get access to all other East Midlands Trains’ hubs. Cycle shops and bike hire facilities have worked so well that there are plans to introduce pop-up shops and stands too.

Partnership Working and Local Government Schemes:
Sustrans Scotland – Links to Borders Rail and Haymarket Station Cycle Facilities

Sustrans formed close partnerships with Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders Council and Network Rail to identify and implement active travel links. These included infrastructure improvements in towns such as new toucan crossings and shared-use paths. There is now safe and easy access to all the communities along the line, and this ties in with excellent cycle storage facilities at every station.

Great Western Railway and Bainton Bikes – Introducing a first for the UK

Great Western Railway and Bainton Bikes have made it easy for people to hire cycles, simply by using a mobile phone app. No additional infrastructure at the railway station is needed. Bainton Bikes has adopted the pioneering app, which was developed in Copenhagen, but it is the first time that such a scheme has been used in the UK. Bikes are collected from existing cycle racks and unlocked using a bluetooth code sent to the mobile phone.

Cycle Champion:
Sarah Deakin – Kent Community Rail Partnership

Sarah Deakin has embraced her role, promoting rail use to schools around the Medway Valley and Swale Rail Lines, working closely with the local community and children of all ages and abilities.

One of her projects as the Kent Community Rail Partnership (KCRP) Engagement Officer was to deliver an exciting and inspiring programme for Year 5/6 pupils called Smarter Journeys. The aim was to give them the skills and confidence to plan their own journey to school and to choose active and sustainable travel over the car.

London Cycle Parking:
Waltham Forest Council – Cycle Hubs

This is Waltham Forest Council’s second winning entry for their cycle hubs. They were praised for their role in increasing door to door journeys, but in this category they have been recognised specifically for their design, positioning and overall high standard.

Door to Door Journeys including Station Travel Plans:
Waltham Forest Council – Cycle Hubs

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is the first London borough to provide a network of commuter cycle hubs, enabling sustainable door to door journeys while providing a range of modern facilities. They are part of the Enjoy Waltham Forest Programme, a £27m project aimed at encouraging more people to cycle. This in turn, supports the wider, Mini-Holland programme, to boost walking and cycling as main modes of transport.

Cycle Security:
Transport for West Midlands – Cycle Crime Action Plan

With the creation of a five-point plan, divided into enforcement, education, environment, engagement and evaluation, Transport for West Midlands set out goals to reduce crime at its stations. It also heralded the introduction of the innovative ‘Love Your Bike’ sessions which seek to actively encourage and support cycling to rail stations, and to reduce cycle thefts, by engaging with the public

Working together, the Safer Travel Partnership – an umbrella organisation comprising Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Police and British Transport Police – have implemented a range of initiatives to reduce cycle crime as well as the perception of crime.

Station of the Year:
Abellio Greater Anglia – Cambridge CyclePoint

Cambridge CyclePoint is the largest, purpose-built cycle park at any UK rail station, serving a population that has the highest propensity to cycle in the country. Abellio set out with an ambitious aim: to provide a landmark site in the city’s cycle network with enough cycle parking to meet or exceed demand for the next 10 years.

The project offers a high capacity, secure parking facility, within a purpose built structure in a prime position. The choice of location is designed to give cycling the prominence it deserves at a station which already enjoys a 14% modal share, and where significant growth is expected.

There is parking for 2,850 cycles and sufficient capacity for up to 10 years, based on current growth rate figures. The CyclePoint also has a bike shop offering sales, maintenance, hire facilities and advice.

Operator of the Year:
East Midlands Trains

This is the second winning entry for East Midlands Trains. The judges believe the operator showed great ambition with its attitude to cycling, and that its cycle policy took a friendly and helpful approach.

A focus on customer service shines through in the improvements East Midlands Trains has made, including better signing on trains, staff training, and heightened engagement with cyclists and cycle user groups. Those improvements have been implemented across the network so that cyclists can benefit regardless of where they are making their journeys. The number of people choosing to cycle to their stations is growing every year.

Outstanding Contribution:
Pat McCarthy – Managing Director, Cyclepods

Patrick McCarthy became an investor at Cyclepods 11 years ago, but the Cycle-Rail Awards believe that the term ‘business angel’ is more appropriate due to the contributions he made.

The team at Cyclepods said his sudden death left them “shocked and devastated” but added “we are so thankful for the wisdom Pat has passed us, and all that we have learnt from such a fair, generous, caring and loyal man”

Photograph Competition:
Steve Smith – A day out in Winchester

Making the most of the new Winchester cycling hub, these two children look extremely pleased to be having a day out, starting off with a fun bike ride. The judges thought it captured the excitement of going on a cycle-rail journey and the pure pleasure of it.



This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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