THE Transwilts Community Rail Partnership claimed one of the most prestigious awards in the rail industry at the ACoRP Community Rail Awards last week.

They came first in the Best Marketing Campaign with their Transwilts CPR Weymouth Wizard service in what proved to be a hugely successful night for Great Western Railway September 29 at the Southport Conference Centre.

As well as taking the overall winner award, GWR swatted aside the competition to claim the Community Art Schemes with the Devon and Cornwall CRP; Most Enhanced Station Buildings and Environments with the Severnside CRP and the Passengers Matter Award for communication of the east of bath line closure.

Graham Ellis, of the TransWilts community rail partnership, said: "We are delighted that GWR and its community rail partners, of whom we are the smallest and newest, and all their volunteers were selected as the overall winner.

"On my way home from the Community Rail Conference in Southport, I travelled on the mid-afternoon train from Swindon to Westbury - a single carriage train with 79 seats.

"And nearly every seat was taken from Chippenham to Melksham - indeed some passenger chose to stand.

"That train did not even exist three years ago; it shows the magnitude of what GWR, working with the community and Wiltshire Council, can achieve."

At the award ceremony Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP also announced the community Rail designation of the Transwilts line – now one of only 19 designated lines in the UK.

"The current GWR has built itself an excellent reputation for working with communities on the smaller lines, and the other four community rail partnerships have great teams," added Mr Ellis.

"The award to the GWR, and its partners, means that they are becoming the recognised leaders in community rail - and that helps them and us, in reflected and shared glory, carry on promoting the services in our own area which are so clearly wanted by the community - who are voting with their feet to use them."

GWR also came second for the best marketing campaign and third in the best community engagement event award.