Community award nominations for Southern are ‘beyond satire’ according to a rail union.
Along with partner Sussex Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) it has been shortlisted in several Association of Community Rail (ACORP) Awards categories such as passengers matter, involving diverse groups, and involving young people.
The passengers matter nomination is for work to encourage residents to form station partnerships and adopt stations, resulting in an extra 19 being adopted, and a further ten under discussion.
Both organisations worked together to provide seven Try the Train events, helping to dispel myths and reservations about train travel for diverse groups.
The last nomination is for delivering Go-Learn material, on safe and independent travel, to more than 6,000 youngsters.
Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern services has been locked in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over plans to change the role of conductors on parts of its network.
Andy Harrowell, Southern’s community investment and CSR manager, said: “At Southern, we are focused on putting our stations at the heart of the communities they serve.
“Together with SCRP, we have really been able to make a difference to local communities, in the last twelve months, whether it be inspiring youngsters and those with disabilities about safe and independent train travel, or working with volunteer groups to help tailor our stations in a way which further reflects the local area.”
But Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “The only ‘hard work and community dedication’ going on at Southern Rail is from the front line staff who are being attacked and undermined by the company bosses at every turn.
“They are the unsung heroes and heroines who have fought tirelessly to defend safety, services and access to rail for all.”
He added: “The idea that the company top brass, who have systematically run the Southern Rail routes into the ground, could be considered for a ‘passengers matter’ accolade is way beyond satire.”
A spokesman for ACORP said: “Our Community Rail Awards recognise all those who give their time and energy to support community rail. Whether they tend station gardens, display art, organise community events or promote accessibility their efforts make all the difference to the station environment.
“We recognise times have been tough for Southern passengers, but these volunteers have been working to improve the railway and we believe it is only right that these community champions are celebrated for the incredible work they do.”
The winners will be announced on September 29 at a ceremony in Southport.
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