Acting as the conduit between our members, national and local government and the rail industry, our role is to provide support, advice and guidance on developing community rail initiatives at grass-roots level. At the same time, we promote community rail at a strategic level and work closely with decision-makers to embed the concept in national planning. Our latest success is to have community rail support mandated in every new rail franchise.
The government’s Community Rail Development Strategy provides the framework for this approach and enables partnerships to improve the effectiveness of local railways by helping government to meet many of their objectives, such as access to work, education and health, social cohesion, protection of the environment and regeneration, all of which contribute to creating sustainable communities.
In the bar on the right you can download data sheets about areas of ACoRP and its members work.
Community rail partnerships act as a bridge between the railway and local communities. They are about positive, pragmatic action which brings about benefits to both the rail industry and the community it serves. Many CRPs have achieved spectacular increases in rail use, with ACoRP’s 2015 report ‘The Value of CRPs and Volunteering’ showing that the community rail sector can demonstrate growth figures of 2.8% above that of the regional network overall.
CRPs and station adoption groups are all not-for-profit concerns, relying heavily on grants and donations to operate. Nonetheless, the ACoRP report also demonstrated that they are extremely good value for money, bringing in an additional £3.4m added value to the rail industry per annum, as well as providing a low-cost/high-value method of increasing station security by significantly reducing trespass and vandalism.
At a very local level, station adopters can be individuals, stand-alone groups or work as part of a larger community rail partnership. In all cases, they care for their local station, improving and maintaining it, making it a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone. Many adoption groups have expanded their remit to include local promotion of the rail service too. This approach helps to increase passenger use as well as introducing a sense of local pride – the station is, after all, the gateway from the railway to the community (and vice versa!).
ACoRP’s ‘Community Stations’ project takes this concept one step further by finding community use for unused parts of station buildings that otherwise have little or no commercial value. This approach can often create a much-needed community resource whilst at the same time, bringing a human presence onto an otherwise unstaffed station, again contributing to a sense of safety and local pride.