The visionary author of Southern Rail’s timetable, Bernard Jones, has been announced as the seventh winner of the Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

The judges praised the extraordinary imagination and scope of utopian vision for his work depicting a reality in which commuters actually go to work on a train.

The prize, worth £60,000, is awarded every two years for “an achievement in fiction on the world stage.”

Mr Jones’ win was announced at an award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday, though Bernard was unable to attend because his train from Brighton was cancelled at the last minute.

The judges said of Bernard’s work: “What strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary feats of imagination required to imagine a reality in which Southern Trains go from one destination to another. It’s breathtaking really.”

“It’s just a shame he couldn’t be here tonight to collect his award in person.”