Extra funding announced for rural stations by the Government
Passengers on rural and regional rail services across the country are set to benefit from a £60,000 fund for Community Rail Partnerships, Rail Minister Tom Harris announced today.
The new Designated Community Rail Development Fund will help deliver improvements to make a real difference at local stations, such as more seats at stations, cycle parking and better information for passengers. It can also help fund awareness campaigns to encourage more people to use these lines.
Rail Minister Tom Harris said "This extra funding will support the small projects that can make a big difference to passengers using rural routes and will help Community Rail Partnerships provide services that really benefit their local community."
Community Rail Partnerships promote and develop the railway services for local people and will apply to Association of Community Rail Partnerships for the funding. A full list of the Community Rail Partnerships eligible for funding can be found below. All partnerships working on these lines can apply to the fund for a grant of up to £5,000 per route.
Jerry Swift, Network Rail's Account Director for Community Rail, said "Network Rail has seen real improvements around the network as a result of the work of Community Rail Partnerships. We are delighted to be able to support this initiative and we are looking forward to seeing some innovative schemes that benefit rail users and local people. Delivering a railway that meets local needs is key to seeing the network develop."
Neil Buxton, General Manager at ACoRP said "Community Rail Partnerships can deliver a lot from very little and I am pleased that we are working with the Department and Network Rail to get this project off the ground. Local rail is thriving in many parts of the country and with continued work we expect it to grow further over the next few years."
Stephen Sleight, Transport Officer at Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, said "We are very pleased that the Department for Transport have offered us the opportunity to bid for this fund. We think that projects like the station walks leaflet, planned by the Hidden Britain initiative, could significantly benefit from this extra funding. The Community Rail Partnership will work hard to ensure that the Marston Vale Line gets its fair share!"
The following Community Rail Partnerships are eligible to apply for funding:
Abbey Line: St Albans - Watford Junction, Hertfordshire
Atlantic Coast Line: Newquay - Par, Cornwall
Barton Line: Barton-on-Humber - Cleethorpes, North Lincolnshire
Bittern Line: Norwich to Sheringham, Norfolk
Clitheroe Line: Clitheroe - Manchester, Lancashire and Greater Manchester
Derwent Valley Line: Matlock - Derby, Derbyshire
Esk Valley Line: Whitby - Middlesbrough, Teesside and North Yorkshire
Gainsborough Line: Sudbury - Marks Tey, Suffolk and Essex
Island Line: Ryde - Shanklin, Isle of Wight
Lakes Line: Oxenholme - Windermere, Cumbria
East Lancashire Line: Preston - Colne, Lancashire
Looe Valley Line: Looe - Liskeard, Cornwall
Maritime Line: Falmouth - Truro, Cornwall
Marston Vale Line: Bedford - Bletchley East, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
Medway Valley Line: Paddock Wood to Strood, Kent
Penistone Line: Barnsley - Huddersfield, South and West Yorkshire
Poacher Line: Skegness - Grantham, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire
Severn Beach Line: Bristol - Avonmouth - Severn Beach
South Fylde Line: Preston - Blackpool South, Lancashire
St Ives Bay Line: St Ives - St Erth, Cornwall
Tamar Valley Line: Gunnislake - Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall
Tarka Line: Exeter - Barnstaple, Devon
Wherry Lines: Norwich - Great Yarmouth and Norwich - Lowestoft, Norfolk and Suffolk
Notes for Editors
1. The Community Rail Development Strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.
2. The scheme is jointly funded by the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP)
3. Each year in May a series of local events staged on community rail lines around the country come together to achieve national profile through Community Rail Weekend. This year the weekend of 16th to 18th May sees over 50 activities organised by partnerships and often run by volunteers. For details of what is happening around the country go to www.acorp.uk.com and click on Events.
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
The Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership is led by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity in association with Bedfordshire County Council, London Midland, Milton Keynes Council, Bedford Borough Council, Mid Bedfordshire District Council, Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users’ Association, the Forest of Marston Vale and the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Associations of Town and Parish Councils.
The Partnership has been set up to act as a bridge between the rail industry and the community to encourage more people to use the train for travel to work and leisure, and to share their views and ideas for improving their railway.
The Partnership will be overseeing a range of projects throughout 2008, including special trains for the Bedford River Festival on 12th – 13th July.