The Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership has been officially launched. Made up of CrossCountry, West Midlands Rail Executive, West Midlands Railway, Worcestershire County Council, Great Western Railway and the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, the new Partnership will encourage communities, businesses and tourist attractions to work with the rail industry and local councils to promote rail services across Worcestershire.
Community Rail is a great way of inspiring people of all ages and walks of life to get involved in making their local railway station a great and attractive place to be. This can include activities such as gardening projects, art displays, on board activity and reusing old and empty station buildings to benefit the community. Participation can help to combat social issues such as loneliness, by promoting wellbeing and giving local communities a sense of pride and ownership in their station. The social and economic benefits to communities from the use of rail services are wide-ranging with improvements to the appeal of stations, creating welcoming spaces that encourage rail travel, as well as helping reduce crime and anti-social behavior.
The Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership area covers a diverse and unique mix of eighteen stations including across the county, and CrossCountry will soon be serving the brand new station of Worcestershire Parkway.
Welcoming the launch of the new CRP, CrossCountry’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Sally Gillespie, said “We are delighted to support the new Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership. We already work closely with CRPs across Britain, and with the historic city of Worcester joining the CrossCountry network very soon with the opening of the new Parkway station we look forward to helping them bring this community and the railway closer together”.
Others greeting the new partnership included Jools Townsend, Chief Executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, who said she “looks forward to working with the partnership and its members across Worcestershire”, and Executive Director for West Midlands Rail Executive, Malcolm Holmes, who added “The railways are all about people and we strongly believe that the needs of the community should shape what the railway offers. Community Rail Partnerships are an excellent way of integrating these community needs into the local rail network.”