TRAIN operator National Express East Coast is celebrating a double victory at the National Rail Awards 2008, the rail industry’s Oscars.

Durham Station, which is managed by National Express East Coast, was named as Medium Station of the Year, and then went on to scoop the ceremony’s most prestigious prize, the overall award for Station of the Year, beating more than 2,500 other stations to the accolade.

The National Rail Awards celebrate excellence and achievement in the UK rail industry. The results were announced in a ceremony held last night in London.

The judging panel, chaired by the former rail regulator John Swift QC, said: “Durham is one of the finest cathedral cities in Britain and now it has a station to match.

“The staff are as good as ever and always smart, while the new ticket building is of the highest standard.

“Durham now has a station to be proud of – its transformation is astonishing”.

National Express East Coast managing director David Franks said: “I am absolutely ecstatic at this double achievement of our hard-working team at Durham station, which remains a vital link to the City and to the County of Durham.

“The win is testament to National Express East Coast’s employees, who are dedicated to delivering the highest standard of service to our customers.

“The awards for Durham Station follow significant investment of £2.5 million over the past two years, to reinvigorate the station to its former Victorian grandeur. At the same time we’ve provided easier access with new lifts, a new travel centre, a wider selection of retail outlets and increased capacity and security in the car park. We are committed to continually invest in all of our stations we manage along the East Coast Main Line.”

Durham Station continues the winning tradition of National Express East Coast stations with a total of five out of 12 stations winning over the last four years – Doncaster (Best Large Station 2008), Newcastle (Station of the Year and Best Large Station 2007), York (Major Station and Station of the Year 2006) and Darlington (Best Large Station 2005).

National Express East Coast’s London King’s Cross operational team was also shortlisted, while the operator’s Passenger Charter was shortlisted in two categories.