We work with local people to provide railways that are vital to thriving communities

What is Community Rail?

Community Rail is a government strategy supported by the rail industry. It engages local people in the development and promotion of local and rural routes, services and stations.

It also encourages the community to get directly involved in improving the railway environment through the use of redundant buildings, provision of additional services such as cafes and the improvement of railway land.

Community Rail routes remain connected to the national rail network, and train operating companies run the trains and stations. We maintain the track, signals, bridges and tunnels.

Connecting Communities with the Railways: The Community Rail Development Strategy

The Connecting Communities with the Railways supersedes the Community Rail Development Strategy.

As its foundation, it supports community rail organisations themselves to flourish as inclusive, independent and sustainable groups, so they are well placed to deliver the strategy’s four key pillars.

  • Providing a voice for the community
  • Promoting sustainable, healthy and accessible travel
  • Bringing communities together and supporting diversity and inclusion
  • Supporting social and economic development

Community Rail Partnerships

The routes are supported by local Community Rail Partnerships – groups of committed and dedicated people who work with the rail industry and local authorities to promote the line and improve stations, train services, bus links and access.

These partnerships have often been developing over many years. The first groups were created in the early 1990s by independent volunteers setting up activities at neighbouring stations, benefiting their local railway line as a whole.

These were eventually pulled together under one organisation. The Community Rail Network as it stands today was established in 2000 – liaising between Community Rail Partnership members, national and local government and the rail industry to support Community Rail initiatives at grassroots level.

Together, we’re improving the efficiency and revenue of services, as well as increasing passenger numbers and freight use. We believe that it's one of the ways we can support local communities and help to provide a long-term future for our railways.

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