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A delightful day out in Lowestoft for the Tourism Network

Members of the Community Rail Tourism Network visited the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and Lowestoft Central Project in April to showcase their inspiring initiatives and community rail projects.

The visit is the first in a number planned, aimed at supporting sustainable tourism by rail and sharing best practice on how Community Rail Network members develop and promote their tourism offer though diverse and inspiring initiatives.

The visit on April 18 included a guided tour along the Norwich – Lowestoft route, part of the Wherry Lines, and a visit to see the facilities created and improvements made at Lowestoft Station as part of the Lowestoft Central Project.

Those joining the visit travelled to the town on the new generation of accessible train units introduced by rail operator Greater Anglia and were able to observe the award-winning work of station volunteers along the line, including the Parcels Office Public Exhibition Space and Community Rail Shop and Tourist Information Office which have been created at Lowestoft Station.

Members of Community Rail Network on board one of the new generation of accessible trains introduced by Greater Anglia. Photo credit: Wherry Lines CRP.

In recent years, Lowestoft Station has undergone a considerable renaissance with new facilities, history panels, lighting and planting schemes with the Wherry Lines CRP at the forefront of this transformation.

With participants on the visit travelling several hundred miles to what is the easternmost part of the UK rail network, time was tight but included a visit to the heritage quay in Lowestoft harbour where they saw the Lowestoft fishing trawler, Mincarlo, now a floating museum and the town’s award-winning south beach, learning of efforts to combat coastal erosion and flooding and hear about Lowestoft Lifeboat.

The Wherry Lines CRP has undertaken major schemes including new signage promoting tourism and sustainable public transport to the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline and throughout the Broads National Park. Each year it invests in publicity materials and both hosts and supports events at Lowestoft Station.

Members of Community Rail Network on a visit to Lowestoft at the Mincarlo Trawler floating museum. Photo credit: Wherry Lines CRP.

Sarah Chilton, director of communications & policy at Community Rail Network, said: “We were thrilled the Wherry Lines CRP were able to host the first ‘Tourism Network on tour’ visit. It was wonderful to spend the day in Lowestoft, meeting volunteers and seeing first-hand the inspiring work going on in the area to bring people together with the railway at its heart.

“The idea of these visits is to provide our members with the chance to learn from each other and share insights and experiences of community rail projects and initiatives. A massive thank you to the Wherry Lines CRP for hosting and we look forward to seeing where our next Tourism Network visit takes us.”

Martin Halliday, community rail development officer at Community Rail Norfolk, parent organisation of the Bittern Line and Wherry Lines CRPs, said: “We were delighted to host the first in what may become a series of national trips enabling us to showcase the efforts of the Wherry Lines CRP, its volunteers and the work of the Lowestoft Central Project. The visit was a great opportunity to share what has been achieved, our aspirations for the future and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities which exist when working within the rail sector.”

If you’re interested in being part of the Tourism Network, please get in touch with campaigns & leisure promotions coordinator Alice.