Communication is fundamental to the community rail movement’s purpose of engaging communities and ensuring they get the most from their railways. It is also especially important now, with increased passenger numbers and investment in rail, yet often negative media coverage.

This report examines how community rail partnerships and groups can communicate effectively – to engage communities as widely as possible, promote rail as a key part of sustainable and healthy travel, and ensure communities have a voice in the ongoing development of our railways. It considers what lessons can be gleaned from academic research to develop the effectiveness of community rail communication, and examples and insights from the field that tally with this and may be replicated. We hope it is useful to those working in community rail, their partners within government, industry and the third sector, and anyone interested in promoting sustainable travel or civic engagement at a grassroots level.

Communicating community rail: what does research tell us?