SWANSEA'S railway station has been named the best station in the whole of the UK and Ireland.
The station in High Street, which is managed by Arriva Trains Wales, beat off competition from a host of entries from six other train operating companies to be named International Station of the Year.
It was also named Best Large Station at the International Station Awards, held at the Steam Railway Museum in Swindon.
Station manager Jeremy Williams said: "These awards are a credit to those staff at Swansea who regularly serve those customers and always try to go the extra mile."
The prize follows a £7 million refurbishment of the station, which saw a huge jump in customer satisfaction by users in the most recent national passenger survey, from 50 per cent to 93 per cent.
Stations were marked on appearance, facilities, transport links and customer focus.
They also looked for good examples of investment in stations and maximised infrastructure, with planning for the future.
Jeremy Williams added: "The staff at Swansea take a lot of pride in the service they provide to all our customers.
"Stations are the shop window of the railway, and therefore it is very important that we get it right for everyone who uses them, from the minute they arrive.
"People depend on us to ensure that they have all the right information about their journeys, and are able to get the right tickets at the right price.
"The friendly and helpful staff pride themselves on making sure the station is presented to a good standard, and that they are always on hand to provide any information or assistance they can.
"It took a lot of hard work to get to the stage where we could win this competition.
"We were delighted to win this recognition.
"It was way beyond our expectations. Swansea handles 2.2 million passengers a year and the figure is rising."
Tom Evans, station manager for Cardiff Valleys, was part of the judging panel.
He said: "We wanted to take this opportunity not just to show some of the excellent service and facilities at Swansea, but also to learn from other railway operators about new ways that they can improve the customer experience by sharing innovation, best practice and encouraging continuous improvement.
"We hope that by setting such a high benchmark for success, we can improve other stations in Wales."
The accolades have been hailed by Welsh shadow transport minister Byron Davies. He said: "The work that has been done here is superb and I commend Network Rail and the Welsh Government for finding the money under the National Stations Improvement Programme.
"I often travel from Swansea to Cardiff and I believe it is crucial that passengers are offered the best possible experience in both the stations and on the trains.
"The staff in Swansea are obliging and helpful, which is very important and I know that visitors to Swansea who arrive by train get a good experience and a warm welcome."