Community day out to the beach leads to national award nomination

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

An Essex organisation’s community ‘Bucket and Spade train’ which offers families and holiday makers in Essex a bargain day out at the seaside has been shortlisted for a national award.

For several years, the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, has put on a special themed train during the summer to whisk people from Colchester to the seaside at Walton on the Naze with fun on board and a free bucket and spade and activity pack for every child.

The event is run in partnership with train operator, Greater Anglia, and ‘Resorting to the Coast’, a two-year project to encourage people to visit the beautiful coast line and seaside towns of Essex.

With tickets at the bargain price of just £5 return for an adult and £3 return for a child, and the train decked out with a seaside theme, the event is often a sell-out success.

The team on board also raises money for the Motor Neuron Disease Association (MNDA) and Essex MNDA with a raffle.

Now the event has been shortlisted for a Tourism and Heritage Award at the Community Rail Awards.

Jayne Sumner, Community Rail Partnership Officer, said, “I’m delighted that our fun little train, that is so loved by local people, as well as holidaymakers, has been singled out for national recognition.

“The Bucket and Spade trains are part of our efforts to keep our local branch lines thriving and they are always so popular. This ticked all our boxes not only promoting train travel, but social inclusion, community engagement and raising the profile of train travel and the tourist attractions of our coastlines with the added advantage of promoting economic growth within the seaside town of Walton-on-the-Naze.

“It’s a beautiful ride to the coast from Colchester or Billericay and you beat all the traffic queues and parking nightmares and can just sit back, relax and really enjoy a day out - and leaving the car at home helps to protect our local environment too, reducing pollution at our coastal resorts.”

Recently the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership has also introduced a new Bucket and Spade Train from Billericay to Southend.

The winner of the awards will be announced at a ceremony in Telford on 3 October.