GTR has scooped two top prizes and has been highly commended at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards. The awards reward those in the industry that are pushing forward with innovations.
In the Environment category, GTR won for its approach to the One Planet Living – Towards a One Planet Railway. Our dedicated Environment Team of four continue to improve and develop the culture of the organisation to ensure that sustainability is a key part of everything we do. The group are willingly supported by over 40 volunteers known as Area Champions for the Environment (ACEs), who work tirelessly to drive improvements in their local areas. As a result of the dedication and efforts across our company, we have achieved an 85% recycling rate for our whole network, with more and more stations now sending zero waste to landfill. A key aspect of this work has been aligning our strategy and company-wide objectives with the One Planet Living approach to sustainability. This has created our overall strategy: Towards a One Planet Railway, focusing on the key actions we will undertake and what we should do, for the early days of our franchise and in the coming years, as well as making preparations for life after our current franchise.
The judges found this comprehensive sustainability programme particularly noteworthy in the way that it had engaged and enthused over 40 volunteers who have acted as evangelists and leaders to drive the programme forward.
In the Engineering and Safety category, GTR and the Sussex Community Rail Partnership won for its work developing and delivering their innovative and inspirational ‘Go-Learn’ initiative. Since July 2015, they have delivered Go-Learn material to almost 6,000 children. Go-Learn helps young people to be equipped with the knowledge and awareness for safe and independent railway travel. At the same time it provides them with the necessary knowledge to treat the railway, and the travelling public, with respect. The work includes three modules, delivered at joint events, schools and on GTR’s stations/trains, and has received very positive feedback, with one teacher saying: “The best aspect of the visit was raising the children’s level of awareness. Safety on the railway is so important – it was great you took the children through safety issues.”
The judges were impressed by the impact this imaginative educational initiative is having in helping children to become confident and informed railway travellers. Engagement with schools, teachers and pupils is well supported by materials linked to key areas of the curriculum and by facilitating visits to Southern stations rather than simply relying on ‘school assembly’ talks.
GTR’s CEO, Charles Horton said: “It’s wonderful that these great projects have been recognised. Whether it’s helping to educate the next generation of rail travellers, reducing the impact our services have on the environment or helping our customers to stay up to date using the very latest in technology, we are providing something for everyone and I am very proud of all the teams involved in helping to improve our services further.”
GTR was also highly commended in the Passenger Experience category for its efforts to make the best use of modern technology to bring the information super highway to the railway. GTR has developed modern solutions to ensure passengers on its trains know what is happening with the service, through real time Passenger Information Systems and a number of other initiatives to improve access passengers have to information, including free Wi-Fi at 105 stations across its network.