The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has received official recognition from the Department for Transport and has been awarded accredited status.
The partnership, funded by train operator Greater Anglia, Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council and Ipswich Borough Council works to increase passenger numbers on the Ipswich – Lowestoft and Ipswich – Felixstowe routes and build links between the local community and the railway.
Under the government’s new Community Rail Strategy, community rail partnerships are encouraged to apply for accredited status to demonstrate that they operate to high standards and that their objectives and activities are supported by government.
The East Suffolk Lines partnership’s accreditation also marks it out as a good representative of the local community.
It also gives the partnership access to the Community Rail Development Fund as a further source of grant funding to help it carry out its work.
Chairman, Aaron Taffera, “It’s great to have our hard work recognised in this way and, with access to a new grant fund, should take us on to do even bigger and better things for the community in the future.”
Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “I’d like to congratulate the partnership on this achievement, which is testament to their efforts in improving the rail service and station facilities and attracting more people to use their local rail lines.”
Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs said “I am pleased that the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership has been successful in gaining accreditation and we look forward to supporting them, and the communities working with their local stations, during this difficult time of necessary restrictions and beyond.”
Cllr Norman Brooks, the East Suffolk Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transport said how pleased he was that the CRP has achieved accredited status: “The Council fully supports the objectives and activities of the partnership and looks forward to continuing to work to increase passenger numbers on the East Suffolk Lines with the goal of increasing the use of sustainable transport and the consequent reduction in impact on the environment.”
Recent projects have included a Christmas special Santa Train, a new website, a new waiting shelter and heritage station signage at Beccles, supporting the regeneration of Lowestoft station, the restoration of Wickham Market station’s canopy, creating good links with local bus services, improving the local environment through wildlife friendly station planting schemes, guided walks and the publication of a free booklet of self-guided walks, signage projects at stations, floral displays on platforms, promoting tourism to the area, and supporting the introduction of Greater Anglia’s brand new fleet of trains.