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 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.