Worcestershire residents are being encouraged to get involved with their local railway through a new Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership (CRP). The new partnership will encourage communities, businesses and tourist attractions to work with the rail industry and local councils to promote rail services across Worcestershire.
The new Worcestershire CRP includes the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), West Midlands Railway, Worcestershire County Council, CrossCountry Trains, Great Western Railway and the Cotswold Line Promotion Group. It covers a diverse and unique mix of eighteen stations including Great Malvern, Worcester Stations, Droitwich Spa, Kidderminster Hagley and Bromsgrove and Pershore, Evesham and Honeybourne on the North Cotswold Line. A brand-new station, Worcestershire Parkway, is also soon to be welcomed into the rail family.
West Midlands Railway is already promoting community rail on these lines through its station adoption scheme, which gives local groups support for activities at their local stations. A number of stations within Worcestershire are already adopted, with active projects proving very successful.
Community rail is a great way of inspiring residents of all ages and walks of life to get involved in making their local railway station a great and attractive place to be. This can include activities such as gardening projects, art displays and using station buildings for a range of events. Participation can help to combat issues such as loneliness, by promoting community cohesion and giving local communities a sense of pride and ownership in their local station. The social and economic benefits to communities from the use of rail services are wide-ranging with improvements in the customer offer and appeal of stations, creating welcoming spaces that encourage rail travel and attract additional footfall, often reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
A community rail officer will soon be appointed to focus a work programme solely on the Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership.