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Support grows for flourishing community rail movement in the Netherlands

Community Rail Network is supporting the creation of a new national community rail organisation in the Netherlands.

At a celebration event in Utrecht, chief executive of Community Rail Network Jools Townsend joined members of Coöperatie Stationspark Deurne and other rail industry figures to share best practice from the community rail movement in the UK.

Michel Lintermans has been at the forefront of promoting community rail in the Netherlands since establishing Coöperatie Stationspark Deurne in 2014 alongside colleagues Jos van Wegen of Coöperatie Coopnet and Vincent Jacobs of LSA. Their initiatives have positioned Deurne Station as a vibrant hub at the heart of its community, with projects including a bicycle service point, a community garden and artwork, a book exchange and a Fairtrade catering facility.

The team have now secured funding from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and are developing strong relationships with ProRail, the rail contractor responsible for the Dutch rail network, and NS, the main Dutch railway company.

To gain momentum for the proposed national organisation, the team have also reached out to 15 other groups who are currently carrying out social initiatives at stations across the Netherlands, highlighting a growing range of community rail activity.

Jools Townsend, chief executive at Community Rail Network, said: “The community rail movement strives to put stations and railways at the centre of community life, increase rail use and support modal shift towards greener, healthier, more inclusive travel. 

“I was delighted to be invited to Utrecht to speak about the fantastic achievements of our community rail partnerships and station groups across Britain. It was an honour to be able to share community rail’s insights and exchange ideas with colleagues in the Netherlands, on empowering local communities and creating railways and stations that deliver maximum social, economic and environmental value. 

“We are proud to support the growing community rail movement in the Netherlands and can’t wait to see it go from strength to strength, and to be able to learn from its experiences and innovations.”

Michel Lintermans of Coöperatie Stationspark Deurne said: “I’m very pleased we are able to share the good work of Coöperatie Stationspark Deurne across the Netherlands. I especially want to thank our partners and British colleagues at Community Rail Network for all the support we have had.”

Jos van Wegen of Coöperatie Coopnet said: “Our first networking meeting was a very valuable and inspiring step in the further development of a network of initiatives in and around community stations in the Netherlands.

“We are thrilled to continue this journey of supporting sustainable and liveable stations and environments.”