Running train services across the north of England means that we serve hundreds of different communities every day. Each one is different and unique and we celebrate their diversity. We work hard to make sure we’re part of them so we can understand their needs and give something back.
We do this in many different ways but one example is our support of community rail and the activities these groups undertake. Often this is about promoting lines or stations and encouraging people to travel but increasingly groups are looking beyond the railway boundary supporting a wide range of community based projects including community art schemes, sustainable produce, creating community hubs, working with those affected by mental or other health issues and tackling social isolation. In summary, recognising that the railway has a role to play in making our region a better place to live and work for everyone.
We work very closely with our partners at ACoRP (the Association of Community Rail Partnerships) to support and develop the community rail agenda. ACoRP is the membership body for almost 50 community rail partnerships, representing over 80 community rail lines across the UK, as well as almost 1000 station adoption groups. To find out more about their work Visit their website.
Community Rail Partnerships
We financially support 19 active community rail partnerships (CRPs) across our network, and one currently in development in North Cheshire. CRPs bring together local communities and the rail industry to engage with the wider community and encourage use of the lines they represent. All our CRPs will have a paid officer, usually working part time, with all other roles or activities undertaken by volunteers.
If you would like to know more about CRPs on our network and the work they do, simply click on the relevant line on the map below, it will take you to the CRP website.
Every year we publish a report setting out our funding to community rail partnerships and other community rail activity. The report will set out our aims and objectives for working with our community rail partners and how we are progressing against them. Our latest report is available below. It covers progress against our franchise commitments, how our funding has been allocated and case studies from a range of partners highlighting the great work they’ve been doing over the year. It also includes information about each of our CRPs and their aims and objectives.
The chart below shows the funding Northern allocates to each CRP every year. This is discussed in advance and reviewed every three years with the CRP. The overall funding amounts are agreed by our Community Rail Executive Group (ComREG) that includes representatives of CRPs, community groups, Department for Transport and Rail North.
CRPs on the Northern network may also receive funding from other train operators, local authorities or other organisations. As with other community groups they will be eligible to apply for funds or grants from a wide range of sources for specific projects.
Seed Corn Fund
One such fund is Northern’s Seed Corn fund. During the first year of our franchise we allocated £150,000 to projects being delivered by CRPs and station adoption groups on our network. These covered a range of activities from social inclusion to feasibility of community use of station buildings. The chart below shows how the funding was allocated and we have included some case studies from successful projects.
Women in Community Rail
Training and development
Mytholmroyd Station Partnership
Feasibility for community use for redundant building
Community Rail Lancashire
Blackburn station Masterplan
Community Rail Cumbria
Turning Point - ‘Rail Journey to Recovery’ and Lakes Line feasibility
Settle - Carlisle Railway Development Company
Settle Shelter and Dales Integrated Transport Partnership
West of Lancashire CRP
Burscough Bridge Community Hub Feasibility
Friends of Marple station
Marple Community Hub Feasibility
Tyne Valley CRP
Gilsland station business case review
Leeds - Morecambe CRP
Dementia and Community Rail and The Bowland Explorer
In October 2016 Community Rail Lancashire was awarded Seed Corn Funding by ComREG to develop a Masterplan for Blackburn station. This process is about ensuring a range of benefits to both the public and rail industry, with decision processes informed by up-to-date passenger feedback and working in liaison with local businesses, not for profits etc. The Masterplan will provide advice on the repair, restoration and options for future commercial, community and operational use of the station.
We manage 478 stations and over half of them have station adoption groups. We support a growing number of these groups often known as ‘Friends of’. They engage their local community in their station (s) making a more welcoming environment through a range of projects or initiatives including gardening / floral displays, artwork, partnerships with local schools and community support groups, and bringing redundant buildings back into use for community projects.
Groups come in many different shapes and sizes, there are no fixed rules, just that there is more than one person involved!
If you are interested in joining a station adoption group at your local station please look out for information on the station or check some of the links below.
Our regional community and sustainability managers will work closely with CRPs and station adoption groups to help them develop plans. We have a range of material that may help, especially for anyone establishing a new group, these include safety briefings and guidance for activities.
Commondale Station on the Esk Valley Railway lies within the North York Moors National Park. The unstaffed station has been adopted through a volunteer program, organised by a locally–based community project Beyond Boundaries.