Railway wins record number of awards in 2016
We have hit the awards jackpot with some style in 2016 by carrying off no fewer than nine top tourism and leisure awards during the year, and are also a shortlisted finalist for two more top regional and national awards to be announced in early 2017, bringing the tally to eleven prestigious bouquets!
Our latest accolade, announced on 15th December, is a national ‘Interpretation’ award from the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) and Heritage Railway magazine for for our station at Totnes. Created from a green-field site over 35 years using recovered former, mainly GWR, railway buildings and structures from around the railway network, the station now looks like it has always been there in the Devon countryside following the completion of the signal box which once controlled trains in Cradley Heath, Birmingham before coming to its new home. The SDR station at Totnes is reverting to its original 1960s name of Totnes (Riverside) from Totnes Littlehempston from the start of the 2017 season. Whilst the station is proudly in the parish of Littlehempston, there is no direct access to the village from the station.
The nine awards gained by the SDR during 2016, plus the two shortlisted finalist awards for 2016/7, are as follows:
• Winner of the ‘Best Tourism or Hospitality Business’ in the Western Morning News 2016 Business Awards;
• Gold in the ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ in the 2016 Herald Express sponsored English Riviera & South Devon Tourism & Hospitality Awards;
• Silver in the ‘Best Tourism Experience/Activity’ in the 2016 Herald Express sponsored English Riviera & South Devon Tourism & Hospitality Awards for the SDR’s Dining Train;
• Silver for the ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ in the 2016 Devon Tourism Awards;
• Bronze in the ‘Artistic, Cultural & Learning Experience’ category for the SDR’s ‘Drive a Train’ in the 2016 Devon Tourism Awards;
• Outstanding in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) ‘Britain in Bloom - It's Your Neighbourhood’ awards 2016;
• Gold in the RHS ‘Business Leisure & Tourism awards’ 2016;
• ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from Trip Advisor 2016;
• Shortlisted finalist (Gold, Silver or Bronze award) in the 2016/17 ‘South West Tourism Excellence’ awards;
• Nominated for ‘Large Visitor Attraction’ in the 2016/17 national ‘Visit England’ Awards.
• Winner of the 2016 HRA and Heritage Railway magazine ‘Interpretation’ award for Totnes (Riverside) station.
The HRA and Heritage Railway magazine ‘Interpretation’ award citation reads as follows:
“To the South Devon Railway for: the completion of a new, yet authentic GWR country station at Totnes Riverside, using genuine components from closed stations elsewhere, and thereby providing two meaningful destinations for its services, in the form of Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and the town itself.”
Heritage Railway founding editor Robin Jones, who nominated the South Devon Railway for the national award, said: “Totnes Riverside station has been a slow burner over 25 years, but has resulted in the creation of a typical GWR country station that is not only new, but genuine, because it has used components retrieved from closed stations throughout the West Country and beyond."