Southern Railway was last night (Thursday 16 September) named Passenger Operator of the Year at the industry's answer to the Oscars, the National Rail Awards.
Judges praised Southern, saying it had evolved into an effective, people-focused business.
They heard the rail firm had kept trains running throughout the pandemic, delivering a safe and reliable service that responded to the needs of passengers, in particular key workers, exceeding targets for customer satisfaction.
Managing Director Angie Doll said: "I am incredibly delighted to collect this award on behalf of the whole Southern team. We've worked hard over the past years to build customer experience, reliability and reputation, and I'm pleased that our hard work has been recognised. We're determined to improve our service still further for passengers."
Grade II-listed Eastbourne station was also named medium station of the year. Southern has installed new toilets, a better waiting room and a wider, step-free entrance. Network Rail has further invested £5m, refurbishing the canopy, replacing the slate roof, improving masonry at the front of the station and renewing the atrium roof.