Community rail partnerships are the backbone of the community rail movement, bringing together local groups and partners along railway lines to work with industry, and delivering a range of community engagement and promotional activities. They promote understanding of the importance of local railways, in terms of improving mobility and sustainable travel, community cohesion and wellbeing, and social and economic development.

These partnerships are attuned to local needs and aspirations and passionate about rail; some have been going decades while others are just emerging. The work of community rail partnerships is varied, responding to local contexts, but includes:

  • promoting understanding, use of and access to the railways, such as communicating service improvements, running visits and workshops, and promoting tourism by rail;
  • helping communities engage in and have a voice in railway development so it meets their needs, such as coordinating and supporting volunteers and station ‘friends’ to enhance stations, or advising train operators on timetabling;
  • bringing disused station property back into use, such as by achieving renovations, setting up community group spaces, or running social enterprises;
  • running a range of activities to bring people together and promote social inclusion linked to the railways, such as local events, creative projects and educational programmes.