Building better links between East Anglia’s rail branch lines and the communities they serve was the focus at Greater Anglia’s annual community rail conference.
The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, its sister CRP’s from Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire along with station adopters, local authorities and other organisations from across East Anglia came together with Greater Anglia representatives at the annual Community Rail Conference in Ipswich to discuss how to keep rail branch lines thriving.
The day included a talk from Karen Bennett, Community Rail Network, about the educational opportunities and benefits that rail branch lines and community rail projects can offer young people. Community Rail Network represents CRPs and promotes community rail at a national level.
Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said, “Community rail initiatives help to bring railways closer to the communities they serve, encouraging more people to take the train and supporting local communities by making it easier for residents to travel for work, learning, shopping or leisure and for visitors or tourists to get around with benefits for the local economy.
“We’ll continue to build on our strong track record of partnership working, which has seen community rail lines become more and more popular with customers, whilst train services and stations have become more integrated with local communities’ needs, with more frequent services, all year round, in place on most routes.
“Our new, high quality, longer trains provide a fantastic opportunity to encourage more people to take the train.
He added: “A huge thanks to all involved for making the conference such a positive, effective event with clear goals and a shared desire to ensure our local lines continue to thrive and maximise the impact of the exciting transformation delivered by the introduction of our new trains.”
To date, partnership working has helped to boost tourism and local economies and improve health and well-being through the production of local area guides, guided walks, special event trains, volunteering initiatives, community art projects, wildlife initiatives, partnership initiatives to deliver service improvements and station upgrades and wider community involvement schemes.