Rail group builds up head of steam at awards ceremony

Date: Tuesday 10th October 2017

COMMUNITY Rail Cumbria (CRC), the umbrella organisation for the three community rail partnerships in the county, celebrated unprecedented success at this year’s ACoRP Community Rail Awards.

Taking home the prestigious award for outstanding contribution to community rail, the team of four, together with its community and business partners, also scooped five more awards for collaborative rail-related projects around Cumbria.

The awards reflect the work and dedication the CRC team and its partners have shown in making community projects a reality along the Cumbria Coast Line, the Furness Line and the Lakes Line.

The presentation ceremony took place in Derby. With sponsorship as well as speakers and participants from the Department for Transport and multiple train and transport operators, it was the biggest awards event hosted by ACoRP so far.

Community Rail is part of a UK-wide movement dedicated to supporting community-based groups and partnerships that connect their community with their local railway and deliver social benefit.

Over the past year, CRC has been involved in all aspects of the work from strategy and performance to flower planters at stations and supporting local station adoption groups. The partnership involves local authorities, passenger and freight rail companies Northern and DRS, major industries, small local businesses, rail user groups and volunteers.

The focus has been on sustainable projects generating economic vitality and community cohesion. Projects have included local school and college art projects to long-term infrastructure planning. New initiatives have attracted more than £300,000 through funding bids in addition to financial support from business partners including Sellafield Ltd. and Windermere Lake Cruises.

At the awards, the Friends of Kents Bank Station and Foreshore received a silver award for their enhancements to the station and gardens, adding to their bronze last year.

CRC was awarded a second prize for an inspirational project working with the Turning Point charity at Green Road station. A third prize for the Very Special Santa Special celebrated a magical Christmas train journey for vulnerable children from West Cumbria.

Another third prize was awarded to the Rail Room at Millom station, a motivational education project which teaches via interactive and creative displays the railway’s role in West Cumbria’s industrial past and its current importance as a transport artery.

Finally, a second prize was awarded to Tim Owen, chairman of both the Furness Line and the Lakes Line community rail partnerships in the outstanding volunteer contribution category.

Tim devotes many hours supporting two CRPs as well as volunteering with the Friends of Cark Station. He has co-ordinated bus-rail connections for Cartmel races as well as briefing consultants, checking timetables, lobbying and chairing meetings.

“I am delighted to see that the all hard work of Community Rail in Cumbria has been rewarded. It is a high accolade indeed and recognises everyone’s passion and commitment to the cause,” he said.

Cumbria county councillor and transport portfolio holder Keith Little added: “This award pays tribute to the hard work of a small core team who influence and develop rail services and facilities across the county bringing a cohesive partnership approach involving the rail industry, local authorities, businesses and communities.”