The future of community rail stations
The Department for Transport (DfT) has opened a consultation to improve the community rail scheme. These schemes bring together local groups and partners to deliver a wide range of engagement and promotional activities.
To continue and improve this partnership, the Government is seeking views from the public.
Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (MVCRP) Officer, Stephen Sleight, said:
“We would encourage as many passengers and local residents as possible to respond and not to be constrained in their suggestions by standard practice on the rail network, Community Rail offers the opportunity to ‘do things differently.”
First review for ten years
The Public consultation ends on 28 January 2018. It is looking for ways to:
- Improve journeys
- Improve the accessibility of the rail network
- achieve better integrated communities
- Increase employment opportunities
- Use local resources most effectively
- Improve the way the network is run
The new strategy for England and Wales is set for release in Spring next year. It will be the first change since since 2007.
There have been many changes to the Marston Vale Line since 2007, such as Customer Information Screens and Station Friends Groups.
These volunteers have adopted over half of the Marston Vale stations. They tidy and improve stations, and also conduct regular inspections.
“The best example is the refurbishment of the former Ridgmont Station House, largely redundant for 40 years, which now has a new lease of life as an award winning Heritage Centre and has become a focal point for the Marston Vale Line.”
Not just flowers and emptied bins
Community rail isn’t only about clean stations, customer journeys are also important.
“Community Rail makes a real difference in improving end to end journeys by working with a range of partners on Station Travel Plans to improve onward travel information and deliver schemes at stations, such as cycle parking.”
Timetable changes have improved connections. One example is at Bletchley for the 07:00 fast service to London Euston.
There have also been successful special Sunday services for Bedford River Festival. MVCRP has also run special trains such as the Easter Eggspress, Ghost Train & Santa Special.
“We have made a great contribution to railway growth by increasing passenger numbers, breaking the record for London Midland’s tenure of the franchise in 3 consecutive years.”
The DfT consultation focuses on 4 themes
- connecting people to places and opportunities
- supporting communities, diversity and inclusion
- supporting local and regional economies
- suggesting innovative ways to improve the way the railway works
Click here to have your say on the new community rail strategy
The Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) is the national organisation for community rail. It has produced a booklet setting out the benefits of community rail.
The 2017 Santa Special will run on 16th December between 10:00 and 3:30 – details to be confirmed by the MVCRP.