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The Value of Community Rail Partnerships

Train approaching Aspley GuiseThe Association of Community Rail Partnerships, in a joint project with Department for Transport and Passenger Focus, commissioned Transport Regeneration Limited to prepare this report. It aims to present an evidence base on the value of Community Rail Partnerships. The concept of “value” is intended to be comprehensive and wide ranging, across economic, social, environmental and any other aspects.

A copy of this report can be downloaded by the following the link at the bottom of this page. This study demonstrates that Community Rail Partnerships can deliver growth of rail use and meet the Department for Transport’s value for money criteria. This should be helpful for Community Rail Partnerships in seeking funding and support through mainstream transport budgets and programmes.

Community Rail Partnerships can also add value as part of a more holistic approach. Taking into account links with regeneration, access to employment, healthy living, environmental development and other wider issues can help a Community Rail Partnerships prepare a financial case for their projects.

Different objectives will be most appropriate for different Partnerships and in different areas. Some impacts can be quantified and valued, but it is not possible in all cases. Nonetheless, by identifying and capitalising on wider benefits, Community Rail Partnerships should attract a wide and diverse range of funding.

Tom Harris, Rail Minister said “I very much welcome this report as it underlines the value of local and rural rail to passengers. There is a real sense of pride at a grassroots level in Community Rail projects and they also bring tangible benefits such as a boost in tourism, station improvements or a reduction in car use. Since becoming Rail Minister I have awarded Community Rail status to 17 additional routes across Britain bringing the total to 24 and I hope to establish more in the near future.”

Michael Roberts, ATOC’s Chief Executive said "investing in community railways is excellent value for money, and the report shows how every pound of public support can generate £4.60 worth of economic benefit. It also shows that community rail lines have helped to reduce car use, support tourism, contribute to regeneration and achieve very high passenger satisfaction ratings.”

Cottage at Kempston Hardwick stationNeil Buxton, ACoRP’s General Manager said “This report confirms what we’ve always suspected – that Community Rail Partnerships can make a real difference to the lives of the communities who rely on our rural and local rail services. The fact that a robust and accepted set of appraisal tools puts CRPs in the highest value for money category only strengthens our case”

Heidi Mottram, Managing Director, Northern Rail, said "We're proud to support 17 community rail partnerships on the Northern Rail network, which have really helped increase the number of people travelling on our trains. This study confirms that community rail partnerships bring benefits not only to train operators but to communities as a whole."

Ashwin Kumar, Passenger Director, Passenger Focus said “We are delighted to be part-funding this research as Community Rail Partnerships make an important contribution to increasing usage of local and rural lines across Britain. Allowing local innovation and creativity to flourish has led to improvements in rail services for passengers in a number of areas. Passenger Focus welcomes the creativity shown in marketing these railway services to potential passengers and in providing services that take into account the passengers’ end to end journey including connections to other modes of transport”.

And finally, Stephen Sleight said "The Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership welcomes this report. It certainly makes for interesting reading, and it just confirms what we already know about Community Rail Partnerships - that we make a real difference to the communities that we serve."

Value of Community Rail PartnershipsValue of Community Rail Partnerships (PDF, 3mb)

Notes for Editors

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.

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