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Devon & Cornwall embraces TikTok to promote rail travel

Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership (DCRP) has expanded its social media following, particularly among young people, by embracing TikTok.

TikTok is a short form video sharing app with over one billion users, with increasing numbers of people now using it alongside Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms.

But how can it benefit community rail partnerships? DCRP has been finding out.

Thanks to funding from GWR’s Community Rail Major Projects Fund, the partnership has expanded its marketing team with the recruitment of new social media & content officer, Betsy Saunders.

This has allowed the partnership to increase not just the volume and frequency of its content and the number of people it can reach, but also to explore new platforms such as TikTok.

A seven-second clip of the Looe Valley Line was the partnership’s first TikTok on its Great Scenic Railways account, created in November. The clip has since received over 24,000 views, 1,290 likes, and comments such as, “Wow! I wanna experience this”.

In the last two months, the partnership has built up a TikTok following of more than 3,000 people, with 34,000 video likes to date. In terms of followers, TikTok is now the partnership’s second biggest social network behind Facebook, having already overtaken its longstanding Instagram and Twitter accounts despite having published a fraction of the number of posts. 

By focusing on the scenic journeys and beautiful locations accessible by train across Devon and Cornwall, TikTok is helping the partnership to reach a new, much younger demographic. On Facebook, 80% of the partnership’s followers are over the age of 35. Whereas on TikTok, 80% are under 35.

DCRP is one of the first community rail partnership to have explored TikTok so far, along with South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership.

DCRP said: “Given the exciting possibilities it offers, TikTok is certainly a platform to watch and explore in 2022.”

Example TikToks from the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership

Dartmoor Line

November’s launch of the Dartmoor Line was a huge milestone for the partnership. A TikTok posted on its opening day has received almost 30,000 views and more than 8,000 likes, proving to be one of the most successful so far.

@great.scenic.railways The Dartmoor Line just reopened after 50 years! Visit all the locations shown from Okehampton station. See the link in our bio for more #dartmoorline ♬ As The World Caves In (LiamFawell Remix) – liamfawell

Early morning on the Looe Valley Line
A recent video showing the beautiful scenery arriving into Looe by train has over 15,000 views, 1,800 likes and 28 shares. Comments included: “Stunning”, “We should do this next time we go,” and “Got a holiday booked here next year and you’ve just made it more exciting!”

@great.scenic.railways Nothing beats arriving into Looe by train when it’s high tide #looevalleyline #looe #looebeach #placestovisit #traveluk #cornwall #kernow #visituk #fy ♬ 8D – ꧁👑นนท์ ตี้👑꧂