In an article in the latest issue of Rail News, Richard Burningham of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership stresses the importance of community rail in transforming many local railway lines.
Richard’s ‘Guest Opinion’ explains how the first rail partnership was set up back in 1991 and how this led quite quickly to the formation of the Penistone Line Partnership, the first Community Rail Partnership (CRP) in the country. By 1997 enough other CRPs had been formed to encourage Paul Salveson to set up an overarching body called the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) based in Huddersfield.
ACoRP’s founding led quickly to much sharing of ideas and experiences. The two pioneer partnerships expanded their roles. In Devon and Cornwall the number of lines included in the partnership grew from two in 1991 to five in 1996 and nine today.
Richard says: “Our aspirations developed into working to encourage use of branch lines at all times and seeking to improve the service too. A big part of community rail is people plugging away politely and taking what opportunities they can to achieve what they want to achieve.”