A nationwide campaign to encourage people to explore the historic and scenic destinations and attractions that surround their local railway lines, is being held today (16 May) by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) and its members at railway stations around the country.
Community Rail in the City is a flagship annual community rail event that promotes sustainable travel for tourism and recreation. This year’s event brings together 24 community rail partnerships – community-based groups that work to help communities get the most from their railways – and partners at 11 mainline stations. They will be providing inspiration and information to help local families, tourists and day-trippers plan visits to the UK’s most stunning and fascinating visitor destinations and hidden gems by train, using the country’s ‘community rail’ routes, while travelling sustainably and avoiding the stresses of driving. This year’s event is particularly promoting exploration of historic places and events by rail, which can be especially rewarding given the railway’s important role in our heritage.
As well as helping people access more of Britain through enjoyable, environmentally friendly means, tourism by rail makes a growing and vital contribution to local economies. Rail usage in this sector has increased by 30% over the last ten years, with approximately three million annual visitors using the train as part of their trip, adding £510m to the UK economy.
The event will reach thousands of commuters with information on how and what to visit on some of Britain’s scenic and historic community railway lines. This includes:
- Association of Community Rail Partnerships and Sussex Community Rail Partnership at London Bridge 7.00am-7.00pm, promoting Scenic Rail Britain and encouraging people to explore historic Sussex by rail;
- Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership at Paddington 7.00am – 7.00pm, using Poldark to encourage people to visit Cornwall and explore the Duchy by train;
- Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Partnerships, Crewe to Manchester Community Rail Partnership, and Derbyshire’s High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership and the Friends of Buxton Station at Manchester Piccadilly 10.00am-3.00pm, encouraging visitors to travel by rail to the North’s tourism destinations;
- Purbeck, Three Rivers (Salisbury-Bursledon), Isle of Wight, and TransWilts Community Rail Partnerships will be joining Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership at London Waterloo 7.00am-7.00pm encouraging people to explore the South’s attractions by rail;
- Wales and Borders Community Rail Partnerships, including Cambrian Line (Shrewsbury – Aberystwyth and Dovey Junction – Pwllheli), Heart of Wales, Conwy Valley, Borderlands and Chester to Shrewsbury will be joining the Poacher Line (Grantham – Skegness) Community Rail Partnership, at Birmingham New Street 7.00am-7.00pm, raising awareness of what there is to see and do within easy access of their lines;
- Penistone Line Community Rail Partnership (Huddersfield-Sheffield) and Derbyshire’s High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership at Sheffield Station 10.00 – 3.00pm, promoting travel along their scenic and historic railway lines;
- Essex & South Suffolk, East Suffolk and Norfolk community rail partnerships at London Liverpool Street 7.00am-7.00pm promoting travel by train across beautiful east of England;
- Bentham Community Rail Partnership (Leeds-Lancaster & Morecambe) at Lancaster Station 10.30am-3.00pm promoting their stunning line that provides a gateway to both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Forest of Bowland AONB;
- Kent Community Rail Partnership at St Pancras International in London 9.00am-3.30pm engaging visitors and raising awareness of travelling around historic Kent by rail;
- Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership will be present at London Kings Cross 7.00am – 7.00pm promoting the rugged charm and Roman history of the North.
Community rail partnerships work at grassroots level to engage local communities, help people to get the most from their railways, and promote rail as a key part of sustainable, healthy travel (see notes below).
All the community railway lines being showcased through the event can be found on ACoRP’s Scenic Rail Britain website, which helps families and tourists plan exciting and sustainable trips by train: www.scenicrailbritain.com.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: “Through this campaign we’re working with community rail groups across Britain to promote exploration of historic, scenic Britain through our wonderful, often not-well-known, community railway lines. These railway lines take you off the beaten track, to some of our most amazing and fascinating destinations – and travel on them is especially rewarding, as these railways played a crucial part in our heritage, and bring you right into the heart of communities. Our members will be popping up at stations across Britain and engaging thousands of commuters to inspire and advise on daytrips, weekends and holidays by rail. This sort of tourism by rail is great for the families and holiday-makers, it’s more sustainable than driving, and it provides a critical boost to local economies.”