The village of Gilsland, situdated on the Northumberland/Cumbria border lost their railway station in 1967. Public transport to and from the village and others nearby has become almost non existent as the regular bus service now remains on the main road and no longer calls at the village. A campaign to reopen the village’s railway station has been formed, but villagers have sought a quick solution to their public transport woes.
Villagers formed the Go Gilsland Community Transport Initiative and raised funds, with the help of TVCRP to purchase an electric car. They have also recruited drivers to take the local people to the nearest station at Haltwhistle or Brampton.
In order to publicise the car, CrossCountry generously funded a three and a half minute video to showcase the car and the nearby visitor attractions. The rail operator was keen to do this to showcase a project which had used in ACoRP’s Socially Enterprising Railway Toolkit.
TVCRP officer, Fiona Forsythe narrated the film. Volunteers driven by Nigel Jarvis were filmed leaving the train at Brampton and travelling in the electric car before visiting Lanercost Priory, an English Heritage site. This was followed by a visit to Gilsland which stands on the Roman Wall. Finally the car was filmed at The Sill. There were also contributions from Hannah Salkeld, Head of Gilsland Church of England Primary School and Duncan Wise, Visitor Development and Marketing Manager for Northumberland National Park. Both organisations contributed to the funding of the car.
Joseph Codling, the youngest station ambassador in the Tyne Valley, who took part in the film said: “I was delighted to feature in a promotional campaign to promote the Go Gilsland! electric taxi service. I hope that more tourists will follow my lead and choose to visit the Tyne Valley’s amazing attractions by rail in the future. A particular benefit of the taxi is that its operated by local volunteers, allowing tourists to tune in closer to our regions spectacular history”.