Environmentally friendly train drivers have won an award for saving fuel, money and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Environmental Innovation accolade was picked up by First TransPennine Express (FTPE) at the Rail Business Awards last night for saving five and a half million litres of diesel and reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced.

The innovative fuel saving project named 'EcoDrive', was selected from a total of nine other environmental schemes for its ground breaking technology which assesses the fuel performance of every driver and train and rewards the most efficient.

Nick Donovan, Fleet Director for First TransPennine Express, said: "This is a fantastic project and we're delighted it has been recognised at these prestigious national awards. Since starting the EcoDrive initiative we are now achieving reductions of 12 per cent in the use of our fuel."

With 96 per cent of FTPE's energy usage attributed to burning fuel to power trains, the potential for cutting emissions and saving energy is a major priority for the company.

The 51 modern, diesel trains run over 280 train services per day, carrying 22 million passengers a year. All 300 FTPE drivers are invited to take part in the scheme, which rewards the most frugal performer.

The train operating company was also recognised for many other of its innovative projects and was highly commended for its internal communications campaign, new website, marketing projects and rail business manager.

First TransPennine Express's parent company, First Group, was also successful and won the main award of the evening - the prestigious title of Rail Business of the Year.

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