THE Bentham Line community rail has picked up a national award for its 'rail to sail' project.

Also known as the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership, the Bentham Line won the community creative projects and station arts award at the recent National Community Rail Awards held at Swansea Arena in Wales. There were also awards in other categories for the line.

Last year's 'rail to sail' project included a specially commissioned large artwork on show in the newly refurbished passenger lounge at the ferry terminal. It shows the new ferry ‘Manxman’ as well as a train to symbolise how two different transport systems can help make the interchange between one mode and another both easier and quicker.

Gerald Townson, chairman of the community rail partnership, said: "The Bentham Line was delighted to engage with so many local partners on this multi-aspect project which included first-class artwork for the station and port terminal together with panels recording the history of rail and sea journeys to the Isle of Man over the last 125 years.”

Brain Haworth, a community rail partnership officer for the line added: “It was pleasing to see our project which was developed within the local community bringing together a multitude of diverse partners, achieve success in this year’s awards. The involvement of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company brought together two different transport operators in a unique partnership.”

Alice Rice, terminal manager at Heysham Port, said: " The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is delighted to have been part of a joint initiative with partners from the local community to enhance a rail and sail facility at Heysham Port. Special thanks to the children from St Peter’s School and to the Bentham Line volunteers for all their hard work.”

Gerald Townson, chairman of the partnership, gained second place in the photo competition on the theme of 'capturing the essence of community rail' with an image titled 'all friends together' depicting the Bentham Line’s Grand Day Out booklet and associated panels which are on various stations along the route,.

The Friends of Bentham Station (FOBS) received its gold certificate of excellence in the 'it's your station' category, in which it was one of just four recipients.

The partnership was also shortlisted in the 'best marketing campaign' category for its 'destination wellbeing' project and a further photo which was called 'five star hotel opening shortly' about creating wildlife habitats.