Saturday, 10 September 2011

Rail Factoids - 6: Community Railways

In Britain, we have a group of local railways that are nominated as "Community Railways" by the Department for Transport (DfT). Support for a route is usually provided through a Community Rail Partnership (CRP) made up of the railway operator, local councils and other community organisations. There are 27 routes currently so named.

Research done for the DfT shows that there are around 4,000 volunteers working in community rail. They contribute over 1.2 million hours of work, bringing around £27 million of extra value to the rail industry.  This work has produced some amazing improvements in traffic levels over the last few years.  The top six percentages for growth since 2007 are:
Truro - Falmouth 90.6%
Bristol Temple Meads - Severn Beach    90.3%
Derby - Matlock86.2%
Three Bridges - Ford (Arun Valley) 53.1%
Par - Newquay52.6%
In the case of the Truro - Falmouth branch, a passing loop was reinstated at Penryn to allow the service to be doubled in frequency.  Just doing that has almost doubled the number of passengers.  More information is available at the DfT, ACoRP (the Association of Community Rail Partnerships) and ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies).

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