Prestigious National Charter Mark sees Community Rail organisation come of age

Community Rail Norfolk, the parent organisation of the Bittern Line and Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnerships operating across Norfolk and North Suffolk has been awarded a prestigious Accredited Partnership charter mark by the Department for Transport.

Community Rail Norfolk aims to build links with passengers, the wider community, stakeholders and train operator Greater Anglia in promoting rail travel and tourism, in addition to making improvements to infrastructure and the appearance of stations for the railways running between Norwich and Cromer, Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The accreditation is formal recognition by the Department for Transport that Community Rail Partnerships operate to a high standard and that their objectives and activities address local community needs and support the Government’s Community Rail Strategy. It also marks it out as a good representative of the local community.

Community Rail Norfolk Chair, Peter Mayne said: “This is a great achievement which recognises the professional way in which we work and our past achievements.

“Furthermore, it endorses our plans for the future and our coming of age.”

Over the past year a number of initiatives have included new signage schemes promoting the local economy and tourism, restoration and repurposing of derelict station buildings and a major education initiative in partnership with the Water, Mills & Marshes Landscape Project in which over two hundred pupils from six primary schools participated.

Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said: “I’d like to congratulate Community Rail Norfolk on this achievement, which is testament to numerous activities including the superb Art on the Line education project and the integral role they have played in the ongoing rejuvenation of Lowestoft Station in addition to working with us to improve rail services and station facilities, encouraging rail travel and supporting the local economy.”

The Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership worked closely with Network Rail to support community engagement activity during the £60m modernisation of the signalling system, as part of which it was able to facilitate a series of public open days at Lowestoft Signal Box last September, and supported efforts to save and find new locations for redundant equipment.

The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership has undertaken initiatives including hosting Dementia Awareness training for volunteers, renewed station signage in support of the local tourism economy, and provided support to Greater Anglia during its construction of a new, extended length station platform at Sheringham.

The organisation has also been a key supporter of the award winning Lowestoft Central Project which has brought a host of improvements to the town’s station including the creation of a new public exhibition space housed in the former Parcels Office.

Although some activity is currently being modified due to restrictions imposed by the Covid 19 situation, the organisation is making plans to continue making improvements to infrastructure and to support rail travel and tourism in the area once it is safe to do so.

Photo credit: Greater Anglia