RAIL campaigners in Northumberland have seen their dedication rewarded with a national honour.
The South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) is best known for its tireless campaign to see passenger rail services re-introduced on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne (ABT) line to provide better access to jobs and re-invigorate the local economy.
However, its pressure on rail companies has also brought about a range of improvements to services and facilities, such as enhancements to the peak hour inter-city services at Morpeth and the installation of customer information screens at Morpeth Railway Station.
Now the community organisation has seen its work recognised at national level after receiving a ‘highly commended’ honour for the Best Local Rail Campaign Group in the prestigious Railfuture awards.
The award was announced by rail writer and Railfuture President Christian Wolmar at its annual conference in Oxford, but as no one from SENRUG could attend, it was formally presented at a special ceremony at Morpeth Station by Railfuture North East Chairman Trevor Watson.
The certificate is now proudly displayed at the ticket office at Morpeth.
SENRUG Chairman Dennis Fancett said: “We are delighted our campaigning efforts have been recognised and the award is a tribute to everyone on our committee who gives up hours of their time voluntarily to make our organisation the success it is.”
However, the group is taking no time out to bask in its glory, with a full programme of further campaigns under way.
Mr Fancett said: “We are not complacent. There is still so much to achieve.
“In addition to pushing harder for faster progress on the ABT re-opening, we want to see the local rail service to Cramlington and Morpeth doubled to every 30 minutes, with an evening and Sunday service added, we need a north of Morpeth local service initially to Pegswood and Widdrington, we need customer information systems at every station along the line, and more inter-city off-peak services at Morpeth.”
Railfuture Director Roger Blake said: “The judging panel of four Railfuture Vice-Presidents wished to commend SENRUG for its steadfast determination in pursuit of its vision. The award gives due recognition to the substantial progress made by one of the most effective of such locally-based campaigns.”
Mr Watson added: “This is a well-earned award for SENRUG.”
Anyone wishing to join SENRUG or find out more about its work should visit www.senrug.co.uk