National Recognition for East Anglia Community Rail Projects

The region’s Community Rail Partnerships, community organisations, volunteers and train operator Greater Anglia were recognised this week for an array of inspiring projects at the 16th annual national Community Rail Awards.

Initiatives in East Anglia received four awards from amongst hundreds of entries across Britain.

The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP), Wherry Lines CRP, Bittern Line CRP, Essex and South Suffolk CRP, and Hereward CRP in conjunction train operator Greater Anglia won top honours in the category Best Marketing or Communications Campaign.

‘Room with a View’ involved the production of eight videos which showcased the things to see and do along each CRP’s rail lines within easy reach of the station.

East Suffolk Lines video in the ‘Room with a View’ campaign

An extensive marketing campaign followed leading to more the 220,000 video views on social media and an increase in passenger numbers.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Our congratulations go to Greater Anglia and all the community rail partnerships involved in this project, which successfully highlighted the benefits of rail as a sociable and sustainable form of travel.

“The Community Rail Awards recognise the achievements and passion of community rail volunteers, groups and partnerships across Britain. Their tireless efforts connect local people with their railways and stations, bring communities together, and enable more people to access sustainable travel. This contributes to greener, healthier, happier, more inclusive communities, and promotes wider access to opportunity. This work couldn’t be more important right now.

“We will be holding up this brilliant example from East Anglia nationally, to inspire more communities to engage creatively with their railways.”

A partnership between the Wherry Lines CRP, the Lowestoft Central Project, Network Rail and the town’s Heritage Open Days Festival won the Tourism and Heritage award.

Some 15,000 people attended events, attractions and activities across Lowestoft in September 2019. The public were also given an opportunity to visit the town’s signal box and see it in full operation before it was decommissioned following the installation of modern signalling equipment earlier this year.

Volunteer adopters at Reedham Station between Norwich and Great Yarmouth won first place in the ‘It’s Your Station’ Silver Award category for improving the station’s floral displays, hosting tea parties, charity events and a carol concert.

The Hereward Community Rail Partnership was also Highly Commended in this category for its consultation work to find out the community’s views before installing new shelters at stations along the Ely – Peterborough line.

Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Jonathan Denby, said, “Congratulations to everyone involved in these brilliant projects which have helped to build links between the railway and the communities we serve, encourage sustainable tourism and contribute to making East Anglia a wonderful place to live and work.”

The awards are organised by Community Rail Network and recognise the work by community rail partnerships, station adopters, station friends, and other community rail groups. The growing grassroots movement highlights community rail’s contribution to sustainable mobility, social inclusion, community development, and wellbeing.

In a first, the awards took place as an online event with 550 guests attending via video conference including community rail volunteers, officers, rail industry leaders and government representatives.