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Southern has been shortlisted for a number of awards at this year’s Community Rail awards, recognising a range of community and passenger improvement programmes.

The awards, organised by the Association of Community Rail Partnership Awards, provide an opportunity to recognise the unsung heroes and heroines of the community rail world, recognising hard work and dedication.

Southern has been shortlisted as finalists in the following categories:

Community Art Schemes – Renewable and Small Projects – Purley station subway art mural, which saw Southern work with a local school to produce a stunning piece of art to brighten up the subway. The work was the suggestion of one of the local team and the children used the local town and its location as the inspiration for the mural.

Most Enhanced Station Building – Development of Hassocks station. Over recent years Hassocks station has been transformed, with a brand new building, which is both modern and blended into the local area, and made accessible, with new lifts. Alongside this the station’s partnership has provided beautiful flowers and the new cycle hub includes a community-run bike hire shop.

Passengers Matter – This Is Me campaign, brought together feedback from passengers with access needs to create posters, leaflets and videos. For staff this has become part of the training and team brief process. The material was also used to promote the assistance services Southern offer to passengers. The campaign has been extremely well received, with our assistance feedback improving to an even higher standard.

Southern is also shortlisted with the Sussex Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) for two projects: the National Citizenship Project art mural at London Road (Brighton) and Chatsmore art project. The SCRP works closely with Southern across the south of the network and has a further four shortlistings with other partners too.

Winners of the awards will be announced on 1st October.

The planned rail strikes in June have been suspended due to talks over another pay deal, the arbitration service Acas has said.

Network Rail workers from the RMT union were expected to take a 24-hour strike on Thursday at 17:00 BST along with a 48-hour walk out next week. The RMT has a total of 16,000 members at Network Rail in operations and maintenance.

Acas stated that the four days of talks helped to convey revised proposals for the RMT and other unions to consider. Mick Cash, who is the RMT general secretary, said that the union would consult on the details involving the revised package. People who are members of the TSSA and Unite unions will also be consulted.

The strike was previously going to be held over the May bank holiday but was suspended by the RMT and TSSA because Network Rail changed their offer. As recent events show, the members did not accept the offer.

The past two deals failed to meet the expectations of workers, with the original offer including a four-year deal of a single payment of £500 along with three years of rises in line with RPI inflation. The revised offer was over the course of two years, involving a 1% rise this year and a rise of around 1.4% next year. This deal also stated that there would be no compulsory redundancies for the duration of the agreement.

Ryanair has reported an increase in full-year profits, which is a larger number than analysts’ expected. Net profit for the year to the end of March rose by 66% to €867m (£614m; $948m). One factor of this was the falling oil prices, which reduced operating costs.

Passenger traffic was up 11% to 90.6 million customers and total revenue increased 12% to more than €5.6bn. Ryanair said that because they are facing a rise in demand, they had ordered 183 Boeing 737-800 planes to be delivered from 2014-18 as well as 200 Boeing 737 Max 200s from 2019-2023.

The Irish airline said that the new engines would be 18% more efficient as well as the aircraft being cheaper to finance and operate. It also stated that the amount of extra passengers they receive is largely driven by its new Business Plus and Family Extra services.

In the past, Ryanair has tried to take over another rival firm, Aer Lingus, but did not have any success. Ryanair owns 29.8% of the airline but the firm is now also a takeover target for International Airlines Group (IAG) and so Ryanair may not have much say in the possibility of a takeover. IAG owns British Airways and Iberia.

The Irish government owns 25% of Aer Lingus and in February said that it could not approve an offer of £1 billion from IAG for the carrier. This is because it wanted more clarity on guaranteeing jobs and extra information on IAG’s transatlantic plans. Despite this, Aer Lingus has welcomed the offer that IAG has provided.

Some good news before the bank holiday weekend.

Rail unions have called off the national bank holiday rail strike because of a different offer from Network Rail. The strike was going to happen because of a row over pay and members of the RMT and TSSA unions had woohooplanned to walk out for 24 hours from 17:00 BST on Monday.

Once the TSSA called off its action, the RMT said their union’s executive had decided to suspend their strike. As a result, many train services will now run as expected on Monday and Tuesday, meaning rail passengers will have a smooth journey. The only down side are the engineering works that are due to happen on some lines.

The unions originally declined the offer of a four-year deal that included a single £500 payment and three years of rises in line with RPI inflation. The details of the new offer have not yet been revealed.

Lawyers for Network Rail paused their plans to take legal action against the TSSA because of the way its ballot had been conducted. Due to the strike, passengers had been warned that they should of expected travel chaos. Not only that, but they were told they should not travel at all if the strike went ahead, which would have meant thousands of signalers, maintenance staff and station workers would have walked out.

Even though the strike was supposed to only last until Tuesday, services would still have been affected on Wednesday when services returned to normal because of cancellations.

Thomson and First Choice travel brands will be phased out in Tui revamp of its business. These two UK brands were set up by Canadian media baron Roy Thomson, and will be the last brands to go because of their size.

Tui plans to sell its holidays under a single brand, which follows the merger of the UK business with its German parent. This will take a total of up to three years to complete. These two brands together have more than five million customers, with the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Greece the most popular destinations.

Across Europe, Tui has 30 million customers, more than 300 hotels, 136 plans and 1,800 shops. The Thomson name dates back to 1965, showing a long-established brand. The firm would begin phasing out other European regional brands in the Netherlands and France first, said its joint chief executive, Peter Long.

This move was announced along with Tui’s results, showing its half-year losses narrowed to 272.6 million euros, which is £195.5 million, from 341.4 million euros before.

During the less-busy winter period, Tui makes a loss just like other travel businesses. However, bookings for the summer season continue to pick up nicely with long-haul destinations doing better, the company said.

Jamaica is quite popular this year with bookings up 22% on the year before, and Mexico is becoming more attractive to visitors, up 37% over the same period.

We got in touch with Southeastern trains about their services from Hastings over the festive period.  Here’s everything you need to know about train times over the Christmas period, check it out.

Monday 15 – Sunday 21 December

Normal service

Monday 22 & Tuesday 23 December

Normal weekday service, however engineering work at London Bridge means trains to Charing Cross will be unable to stop at London Bridge between 07:54 and 09:01.
Some peak trains will have fewer carriages, and a small number of trains will be diverted to Cannon Street and Blackfriars.

Wednesday 24 December

Normal weekday service, however engineering work at London Bridge means trains to Charing Cross will be unable to stop at London Bridge between 07:54 and 09:01.
Some peak trains will have fewer carriages, and a small number of trains will be diverted to Cannon Street and Blackfriars. No trains will run after 22.00.

Christmas Day

No trains will run

Boxing Day

Only high speed trains from Ashford will run

Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 December

Normal service

Monday 29 December – Wednesday 31 December

A Saturday service will run, with additional services to and from Cannon Street during the morning and evening peak.

Some evening Charing Cross trains will not call at Waterloo East on Wednesday 31 December.
Extra late night / early morning trains will operate for New Years Eve revellers on Wednesday night / Thursday morning.

New Year’s Day

A Sunday service will run

Friday 2 January

A Saturday service will run with additional services to & from Cannon Street during the morning and evening peak.


Green drinks is a regular social meet up for anyone involved or interested in environmental issues.

To kick of the first event Sustrans, the charity for active and sustainable travel, would like to invite business owners to join them for a drink in Hastings on Thursday 8 May to promote the launch of our new TravelChoice challenge.


Travel Choice Challenge starts in June.

The aim of the Challenge is to get as many people as possible commuting to work (and back) and any journeys for work by walking, cycling, using public transport and car-sharing.

The challenge will be running during the whole month of June and Sustrans will be organising a number of fun events to help support businesses that take part.

They are inviting businesses or anyone interested in sustainable and active travel to join us at this free networking event. Business that sign up to the challenge on the evening will be entered in to a prize draw as well although we have no details on what the prize is yet it should be a fun, informative and educational evening for all who go.

The details for the event are as follows:

White Rock Hotel
White Rock
35 White Rock
TN34 1JU

Thursday, 8 May 2014 from 18:00 to 19:30 (BST)

To register please contact Rachael McMillan on Rachael.mcmillan@sustrans.org.uk or call 07528261451