Community Rail Team
Connecting Communities with the Railways: The Community Rail Development Strategy
Community rail is all about connecting diverse communities to the railways through local partnerships, groups, organisations, social enterprises and volunteers. Community rail originally developed in the 90s as a grassroots movement to shine a light on neglected and at-risk parts of the network, as communities came together to safeguard the future of their local lines. The Government’s original strategy published in 2004 largely focussed on this first imperative of ensuring that local lines remain relevant and whilst it encouraged community engagement, the focus was around attracting new passengers to grow local markets and reducing costs.
The new strategy which was published in 2018 has recognised that the nature and focus of community rail activity has evolved beyond that. The Community Rail Team recognised that community rail can be at the vanguard of supporting the Government and rail industry to unlock the social value of the railways and has been bold in doing that. A key pillar of the new strategy is bringing communities together and supporting diversity and inclusion which sets out how community rail activity can help open up our railways to a wider group of people, making them more accessible and providing children, young people and others with the skills and confidence needed to access the opportunities it offers.
During the two-year development of the strategy, the team adopted an inclusive and collaborative approach so those who would be integral to its successful delivery have all played a key role in its development and have embraced it as their own, fully understanding the role that our railways will play in the future prosperity of our country and how community rail organisations, need to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are a part of that success too.