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Community Rail Conference 2023 highlights

Huge thanks to all speakers, delegates, partners, and our brilliant events team, for making last week’s Community Rail Conference for CRPs, run jointly with the Department for Transport, such a success. Read on to revisit the event’s key moments and view all the presentations.

Simon Huish, Head of Stations and Community Rail Policy at the Department for Transport, kicked off proceedings by giving the Welcoming address.

Our first speaker of the day was Alison Haskins, CEO of Halifax Opportunities Trust, who led a session on the ways organisations embedded in communities can demonstrate adaptability and build resilience, using their knowledge, assets and connections to withstand challenges and uncertainty.

Simon Huish, Department for Transport. Photo credit: Paul Bigland.
Alison Haskins, CEO of Halifax Opportunities Trust. Photo credit: Paul Bigland.

Our Training team then led delegates into a group activity, thinking about what we can do to make sure we respond effectively to change and uncertainty. There was plenty of lively discussion and good practice shared throughout the room!

Photo credit: Paul Bigland.

Next we heard from Stephen Edwards, CEO of Living Streets. Stephen explored stations as gateways, and how they can be linked with other community assets to enable integrated sustainable transport, maximise benefits for people of all ages and abilities, and enhance community cohesion.

Our founder and president of South East Lancashire CRP Professor Paul Salveson took to the stage next to share insights on collaborating with local bus operators and other partners to connect rail and bus services, working towards integrated connections to leisure destinations.

Stephen Edwards, CEO of Living Streets (L) and Professor Paul Salveson, South East Lancashire CRP (R). Photo credit: Paul Bigland.

In the afternoon session, speakers from the Great British Railways Transition Team explored the ways in which community rail insights can be utilised to help guide and shape GBR plans, and how we must embrace and champion community rail initiatives to move rail forward.

We also heard from Network Rail‘s Rebecca Harris, who discussed their Sustainability Strategy – including working with community rail, helping passengers to make greener choices and supporting local communities to provide social value.

To finish off the afternoon session, our chief exec Jools Townsend celebrated the positive impacts community rail has on people’s lives, and the ways in which community-led change can spearhead a sustainable, inclusive transport future and a flourishing railway.

Top left: Rebecca Harris, Network Rail. Bottom left: Jools Townsend, Community Rail Network. Right: Julia Moosai and Sarah Jeffrey, GBRTT. Photo credit: Paul Bigland.

It was then time to open up the floor for questions! During the panel Q&A session, our delegates had the chance to ask the panel further questions about how the work of community rail can be harnessed to move rail forward.

In our final session of the day, we heard from some of our fantastic community rail members on the different approaches to developing rail confidence and making rail travel accessible to all. Panellists included Community Rail Lancashire, Gloucestershire CRP, Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and Kent CRP.

Left: Katie Douglas, Community Rail Lancashire. Right: Hannah McDonnell, Gloucestershire CRP. Photo credit: Paul Bigland.
Left: Michael Parker-Bray, Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership. Right: Therese Hammond, Kent CRP. Photo credit: Paul Bigland.

Thank you once again to everyone who made it all possible.

Click here to download all the presentations.