Southern shortlisted for 8 Rail Business Awards

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Southern has been shortlisted as finalists in 8 categories for the prestigious Rail Business Awards. The award winners will be revealed on February 17.

Chris Burchell, Southern’s Managing Director said: “This is a fantastic achievement. We have been working hard over the past year to improve all aspects of the passenger experience, and to be recognised in this way shows that we are moving in the right direction.”

Southern has been shortlisted in the following categories:

• Engineering Excellence (two nominations)
• Rolling Stock Excellence
• Safety and Security Excellence
• Rail Professional Marketing Campaign
• Young Professional of the Year
• Station Excellence
• Integrated Transport Excellence

Mr Burchell added: “Of course, I am hopeful that we will be successful at the awards, but the real reward comes from the improvements our passengers experience as a result of these innovative projects.

Summary details of each entry as follows:

Engineering Excellence (1) – Southern’s Class 377 bogie overhaul project. September 2010 saw the completion of one of the most challenging projects to face Southern engineers – overhauling 700 vehicles in-house while fulfilling ever increasing demands on fleet availability.

Engineering Excellence (2) – Ice Mode. The impact of Snow and Ice on the DC rail network has a huge impact on the economy, if local transport systems cannot be reliably operated. Southern engineers came up with an idea of how to develop existing systems on its Class 377 fleet to draw power from the third rail in icy conditions where before it would not have been possible.
Rolling Stock Excellence – Southern’s priority seating card. These days, trains can become crowded at the busiest times, with standing room only on some services. Passengers with hidden disabilities often had problems getting people to give up their priority seat for them. Now, with the introduction of Southern’s Priority Seat Card, this is becoming les and less of an issue.

Safety and Security Excellence – Southern’s innovative ‘Eyewitness’ programme. In April 2010, Southern took its fight against crime and anti-social behaviour to the next level by tripling its investment in accredited passenger safety officers and, crucially, introducing an ingenious smart phone-based system called Eyewitness. This unique combination of people and technology makes responding to crime so fast that passengers now see crime being tackled before their eyes, minutes after it is reported.

Rail Professional Marketing Campaign – Loco Toledo! An important element of the start of the new Southern franchise in autumn 2009 was the launch of a new improved customer website and the development of a new impactful marketing proposition centred on growing the market for rail travel via an engaging new character. Enter Loco Toledo and Southern’s new marketing campaign….

Young Professional of the Year – David Walker. At just age 30, and in just 5 years of being with the company, David Walker has attained the highly pivotal and senior position of Head of Train Specification and Planning at Southern. During his tenure with Southern, David has met many seriously challenging situations and has won through them all using his extensive knowledge and experience, his superbly honed management skills and good old honest hard work and determination.

Station Excellence – Uckfield station. For years, Uckfield passengers had to put up with a temporary station building, getting wet and windswept whilst buying their tickets, and huddling miserably under a tiny shelter whilst they waited for their train to arrive. To get a feel of what Uckfield station users have now, Southern’s longest serving Uckfield passenger, Mrs Mary Fox who has been using the station for 75 years commented: “You simply can’t compare what we have today with what we have had to put up with.” And Uckfield MP, Charles Hendry said of the station: “I am delighted that Uckfield has finally got the station facilities it deserves. Rail travellers will now have extra seating and more shelters which will be greatly welcomed. In recent years, we have seen a greatly improved train service and now we have a modern station.”

Integrated Transport Excellence – Southern’s multi-million pound investment in integrated transport not only focuses on improving a passenger’s journey once they’ve reached the ticket office, station or train, but goes way beyond that to enhance the whole end to end journey experience, making it easier than ever before to buy tickets, access our network and link with other modes of transport, truly ‘Making Every Journey Better.

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