Community-led projects connecting people with rail recognised at national awards ceremony in Swansea

An inspiring range of community rail initiatives, delivered by community rail partnerships, station friends volunteers, and other community groups across Britain, has been celebrated at the 19th Community Rail Awards.

The event, organised by Community Rail Network and jointly sponsored by Transport for Wales and Great Western Railway, was this year held in Swansea and joined by 430 guests including senior rail and transport leaders and community rail officers and volunteers. It recognised projects supporting diversity, accessibility and inclusion, sustainable travel and tourism, youth and schools engagement, community-led station improvements, empowered communities and influencing positive change.

19 winners were recognised, chosen from 180 entries, demonstrating the positive impact of the community rail movement, enriching lives, enhancing local places, and promoting sustainable and inclusive travel and mobility.

The Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail Award was awarded jointly to:

  • Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership in recognition of their inspirational initiatives in the past year including:
    • An impressive programme of activities engaging over 950 young people, empowering them through rail, and helping them have a voice
    • Improving accessible travel confidence, including highlighting step-free and accessible routes from each station
    • Working with housing developers to encourage sustainable and active travel for new homeowners
    • Developing ‘Train Tripper’, a website promoting car-free travel by highlighting the carbon reduction and savings of sustainable trips by rail
  • Coӧperatie Stationspark Deurne, a station volunteer group in the Netherlands putting community rail on the world map. Not only have the group set up an impressive range of initiatives at their station – including bicycle service point, community garden, artwork, book exchange and Fairtrade catering facility – they are helping community rail to spread across the Netherlands. Thanks to their passion and dedication, community rail is now being officially recognised and a network is developing across the country.

The Community Rail Awards recognise the crucial, often unsung work of community rail partnerships, station friends and other community rail groups, which continue to grow in number and impact, under Community Rail Network’s umbrella. There are now 77 CRPs and an estimated 1,200 station groups spread across Britain (and now a few beyond too).

Details of all winners are here and listed below.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP said: “The Community Rail Awards are important in recognising the incredible work of volunteers and community groups improving our rail network. I was lucky enough to see first hand the difference these projects are making when I met with some of those taking part including during my rail tour last summer.

“Whether it’s improving accessibility in stations or engaging with young people about rail, I’d like to thank each and every one for their contribution and the impact they’ve made.”

Marie Daly, chief customer and culture officer, Transport for Wales, said: “We were thrilled to co-sponsor this year’s awards in beautiful Swansea and celebrate the amazing work being done across the UK and particularly across our own network. 

“We’re so lucky to be able to work with so many amazing communities and organisations through our Community Rail Partnerships and really believe that by connecting and encouraging collaboration among businesses and organisations in local communities, we can empower those communities to work together on a whole range of social, economic, cultural and environmental issues, as well as showcase the best our network has to offer.”

Mark Hopwood, managing director, Great Western Railway said: “GWR has 11 Community Rail Partnerships on our network and we are incredibly proud of the work they do. They have great local knowledge and I know that they all work incredibly hard, as volunteers, inspiring sustainable improvements to their community and adding so much value to the local economy.

“They continue to deliver a host of worthwhile projects and I am delighted to see them gain such deserved recognition at the 2024 Community Rail Awards.

“It is especially pleasing that Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership has been recognised too for the Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail Award and so well deserved.”

The night’s winners across all categories were (read more online here):

  • Community Rail Network Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Rail

Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership and Coӧperatie Stationspark Deurne

  • Board’s Special Recognition Award

Heather Cullimore of Severnside Community Rail Partnership

  • Outstanding Volunteer Contribution sponsored by Eversholt Rail

Barbara Mine of Bishopstone Community Hub

  • Involving Children and Young People sponsored by London North Eastern Railway

Community Rail Lancashire for Feel Good Field Trips

  • Empowering Diverse Groups sponsored by East Midlands Railway

Platform: A Joint Community Rail Education Programme for This Mighty Traveller

  • Community Creative Projects and Station Arts sponsored by Avanti West Coast

Large & medium groups:

Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership for ‘Rail and Sail’ Heysham Port Developments

Small groups:

The Camberwell Society for Denmark Hill Station Art Trail

  • Small Projects Award (under £500) sponsored by Community Rail Lancashire

Reading to Basingstoke Community Rail Partnership for Reading and Petersfield Station Winter Warmers

  • Most Effective Communications Campaign sponsored by West Midlands Trains

Community Rail Education Network for Arlo’s Adventures: There and Back

  • Best Community Engagement Project sponsored by SLC Rail & SLC Property

Severnside Community Rail Partnership, GWR REACH and Network Rail Cultural Fusion for Carnival Train

  • Tourism & Leisure Award sponsored by Scenic Rail Britain

Cambrian Railway Partnership for Cambrian Railway Partnership Inclusive Bi-Lingual Window Seater Project

  • Influencing Positive Change and Sustainability sponsored by RSSB

Community Rail Education Network and Cross Country for Travel Green with Daffnee Green

  • Most Enhanced Railway Spaces sponsored by Greater Anglia

Bricket Wood Station Heritage Trust for Restoration of Bricket Wood Station

  • It’s Your Station sponsored by Merseyrail

Lead Bronze – Longton Station Adopters

Lead Silver – Whyteleafe Community Hub

Lead Gold – Friends of Brighouse Station

Lead Platinum – Friends of Hindley Station

  • Photo Competition | capturing the essence of community rail in 2023/24 sponsored by Porterbrook

Friends of Goostrey Station for Beavers Doing Their Best