Greater Anglia looks to communities to boost local rail services

Greater Anglia says its new trains will be the dawn of a new era of rural rail travel. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Greater Anglia says its new trains will be the dawn of a new era of rural rail travel. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Community Rail Partnerships, station adopters, local authorities and other organisations from across East Anglia came together with key players at Greater Anglia in a virtual conference last week.

Their aim was to discuss how to ensure a bright future for the region’s local rail branch lines, building on the transformational benefits brought by the new trains being introduced across the region.

Discussions focused on how to help community rail lines recover beyond the pandemic; how to maximise the positive impact of the new trains; how community rail partnerships can help strengthen further their links with local communities, involving schools, colleges and local authorities to help bring about positive changes locally. Early evidence suggests more passengers have returned to local trains than long-distance or commuter services.

MORE: Why I felt safe travelling on local trainsJonathan Denby, Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said: “Community Rail Partnerships have continued to undertake excellent work throughout the pandemic, with recent initiatives including guides to encourage people to use the railway to access the countryside for walks and numerous biodiversity projects.

“Community rail initiatives help to bring railways closer to the communities they serve, encouraging more people to take the train and supporting local communities by making it easier for residents to travel for work, learning, shopping or leisure and for visitors or tourists to get around with benefits for the local economy.

“Most community rail lines saw significant growth in passenger numbers in recent years before the pandemic and the new, high quality, longer trains being introduced, and already in place on many routes, provide a fantastic opportunity to encourage more people to take the train.

“We’ll continue to build on our strong track record of partnership working, which has seen community rail lines become more and more popular with customers, whilst train services and stations have become more integrated with local communities’ needs, with more frequent services, all year round, in place on most routes.”