Community Rail News – 3 April 2024

Hello everyone. We hope you all had a pleasant Easter weekend and are enjoying these longer, lighter days.

Promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism and leisure travel is a key focus for many in community rail, and our Tourism Network helps to share good practice and new opportunities. At the next meeting, 10-11.30 on Tuesday 9 April, you will hear from Visit England and Gloucestershire CRP on working with Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs). Register.

Last week we had a positive meeting with Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP. We shared key areas where community rail is delivering impact and upping its game, from youth engagement, to leisure and tourism, to accessibility and inclusion. We also discussed in some detail the common challenges faced by those spearheading community-led projects to renovate disused station spaces for community use. The Minister was extremely supportive, expressing how keen he is to continue promoting community rail wherever he can. We look forward to developing this relationship and working with him further.

There has been a reorganisation of groups within the DfT. The new structure came into effect on 1 April and includes: a Rail Infrastructure and Services Delivery Group, a Major Rail Projects Group, a Public Transport and Local Group, a Decarbonisation, Technology and Strategy Group and a Road Transport Group. We are sure you also saw the announcement regarding the appointment of Alex Hynes as Director General, Rail Services. We will be reaching out to Alex and look forward to meeting him in his new role. We are also meeting with our main contacts in the Stations & Community Rail team at the DfT later this month to discuss how these changes relate to community rail: we will keep you updated.

We were pleased to see the valuable work of community rail recognised in Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan (p.72). The plan, which we fed into last summer, outlines several strategic priorities for rail, including positioning rail as “the backbone of a high-quality, reliable, resilient, and equitable passenger network.” We have produced a summary for members in the North here. We continue to develop our links across all Sub-National Transport Bodies and look for opportunities to share community rail’s insights.

If you have any news stories, please email our communications team on news@communityrail.org.uk. See here for guidance on submitting stories.

Your next bulletin is on 17 April. Keep up-to-date in between on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn and TikTok.

Best wishes,
Jeremy and Jools