National Recognition for Community Rail Projects in East Suffolk

Suffolk New College student artwork at Ipswich station footbridge
Suffolk New College student artwork at Ipswich station footbridge

Rail projects designed to support and build links with local communities in East Suffolk have been shortlisted for national awards.

The initiatives were designed to support and engage local communities, enhance public spaces, encourage sustainable travel, and promote tourism and are on the shortlist for the National Community Rail Awards.

The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, which supports the lines from Ipswich to Lowestoft and Ipswich to Felixstowe, is shortlisted in the ‘Community Creative Projects and Station Arts’ category with Suffolk New College for an installation of artwork at Ipswich station’s footbridge.

The project saw art and design learners from the college create a series of original artwork panels aimed at celebrating Ipswich and Suffolk; the panels were installed on the older of the two footbridges at Ipswich station.

Aaron Taffera, Chair of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, said, “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this project, which really helped to improve the appearance of the footbridge and gave young artists a platform to bring their talents to a wider audience.”

A project by the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership, which supports the lines from Norwich to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, was shortlisted along with the Lowestoft Central Project and Network Rail Anglia in the ‘Best Community Engagement Project’ category for organising heritage tours of the Somerleyton Swing Bridge. The Wherry Lines Lowestoft Central Project is also a finalist in the Platinum Category ‘It’s Your Station Award’ for ongoing efforts to rejuvenate Lowestoft station.

Chair of the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership, Chris Mitchell, said “Our aim is to build positive relationships and mutually beneficial links between our lines and the communities they serve, so we are absolutely delighted to see our efforts and the benefits they have delivered, shortlisted for these prestigious national awards.”

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “We are really proud of our community rail partnerships and amazing station adopters and are thrilled that the work that they do across the region to support communities, promote sustainable travel and help our region’s branch lines to thrive has been shortlisted at the Community Rail Awards.”

The Community Rail Awards, now in their 19th year, recognise the dedication of individuals, many who are volunteers, who work across Britain’s rail network to make stations more welcoming spaces for passengers and visitors. Many also carry out community engagement work with schools, colleges, and other local groups to help educate and secure passengers of the future, which is critical to ensuring railways are an inclusive, sustainable, healthy way to travel.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Swansea on 18 March 2024.