TRAIN operators were chuffed to bits at hearing the Stourbridge Shuttle had been highly commended in the light rail industry 'Oscars'.

Pre Metro Operations, which runs the Shuttle in partnership with London Midland, was highly commended in the Operator of the Year award category at the Global Light Rail Awards 2016 in London on October 5.

The awards, held at the Honourable Artillery Company, brought together more than 200 representatives from the light rail industry around the world to honour excellence and innovation.

And the company behind Stourbridge's innovative light-weight railcars, which ferry passengers along what's believed to be the shortest branch line in Europe, was beaten to the top accolade only by the team which runs Manchester's Metrolink tram network.

Pre Metro Operations director Steve Jasper said: “We are obviously very pleased to be recognised in this way for the success of our Stourbridge Shuttle operation, especially in the face of such strong opposition from around the globe. Our staff do us proud, serving our local travelling public every day."

He said the judges were impressed with the Stourbridge Shuttle’s industry-leading reliability, continual growth during its seven-year operation on the Stourbridge branch line - and its customer-focused staff.

Most recent figures - for 2015/16 - record reliability on the Shuttle operation as 99.7 per cent; and in 16 of the four-weekly reporting periods, since the eco-friendly flywheel-powered Class 139 Parry People Movers replaced conventional trains in 2009, the figure has been 100 per cent.