Collection

Community rail lines

Community rail involves local people and organisations working in partnership to improve their local railways.

Community rail initiatives such as station enhancements and innovative promotional schemes can help get better value for money from the rail network. These initiatives range from people helping to maintain station gardens to major refurbishment schemes.

We work alongside others in the industry to develop the values of the Community rail development strategy, last revised in 2007.

Community railways aim to:

  • increase revenue
  • reduce costs
  • increase community involvement
  • support social and economic development

We work closely with the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACORP). ACORP is the umbrella organisation for community rail partnerships, rail user groups and volunteers who work with community rail.

Community rail lines and services are part of the commercial rail network. They account for around 40 million journeys per year. Train companies operate the services and Network Rail own and maintain the infrastructure, the track, signals and stations.

Although some community railways provide a tourism service, they are largely separate from heritage and private railways which function solely as tourist attractions.

Although often rural, community rail lines may also run through inner city or suburban areas. The Severn Beach Line in Bristol is one of the few urban community railways in England running from Bristol to Severn Beach.

Around 3,200 rail volunteers work 250,000 hours per year helping to improve stations and reduce vandalism, providing a financial value of £3.4 million per annum. Research has shown that community rail partnerships pay for themselves, adding economic, social and environmental value. Passenger use on community rail lines has grown by an additional 2.8% each year.

Community rail lines

  1. Abbey community rail line

    • Guidance
  2. Atlantic Coast community rail line

    • Guidance
  3. Avocet community rail line

    • Guidance
  4. Barton community rail line

    • Guidance
  5. Bentham community rail line

    • Guidance
  6. Bishop community rail line

    • Guidance
  7. Bittern community rail line

    • Guidance
  8. Buxton community rail line

    • Guidance
  9. Clitheroe community rail line

    • Guidance
  10. Cumbrian coast community rail line

    • Guidance
  11. Derwent Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  12. East Lancashire community rail line

    • Guidance
  13. East Suffolk community rail lines

    • Guidance
  14. Esk Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  15. Furness community rail line

    • Guidance
  16. Gainsborough community rail line

    • Guidance
  17. Glossop community rail line

    • Guidance
  18. Heart of Wessex community rail line

    • Guidance
  19. Hereward community rail line

    • Guidance
  20. Island community rail line

    • Guidance
  21. Lakes community rail line

    • Guidance
  22. Looe Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  23. Lymington community rail line

    • Guidance
  24. Maritime community rail line

    • Guidance
  25. Marston Vale community rail line

    • Guidance
  26. Medway Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  27. Mid Cheshire community rail line

    • Guidance
  28. North Staffordshire community rail line

    • Guidance
  29. Penistone community rail line

    • Guidance
  30. Poacher community rail line

    • Guidance
  31. Preston to Ormskirk community rail line

    • Guidance
  32. Severn Beach community rail line

    • Guidance
  33. South Fylde community rail line

    • Guidance
  34. St Ives Bay community rail line

    • Guidance
  35. Tamar Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  36. Tarka community rail line

    • Guidance
  37. TransWilts community rail line

    • Guidance
  38. Tyne Valley community rail line

    • Guidance
  39. Wherry community rail lines

    • Guidance

Consultations

  1. Future of community rail strategy

    • Closed consultation
  2. TransWilts Line: community rail designation

    • Consultation outcome
  3. Hereward Line: community rail service designation

    • Consultation outcome
  4. East Suffolk Lines: community rail designation

    • Consultation outcome
  5. Tyne Valley Line: community rail designation

    • Consultation outcome

Announcements

Published 22 December 2015
Last updated 6 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. Consultation on the future of community rail strategy.
  2. TransWilts community rail line.
  3. Consultation on the proposal to designate the TransWilts Line (Swindon to Westbury) as a community rail service opens.
  4. First published.