East Anglia’s community rail groups join national campaign to highlight hidden gems along Britain’s rail network

Published on: Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Last updated: Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Greater anglia train with beach and sea in background

In a move to get local residents back on track, East Anglia’s community rail partnerships are getting involved in a national awareness campaign, to promote the delights and benefits of ‘Days Out by Rail’, coordinated by Community Rail Network.

Days Out by Rail aims to inspire and encourage day-tripper and leisure travellers to jump aboard a train, for exciting, fun, eco-friendly outings.

The campaign draws on local insights and ideas from community rail, a grassroots movement spanning Britain, which involves communities and volunteers with their local railways and stations.

The eight-week initiative is raising awareness about rail as one of the greenest ways to travel – especially combined with walking, cycling and buses – avoiding traffic jams, parking and pollution, while enabling exploration of lesser-known spots as part of a day out, short break or staycation.

East Anglia’s six community rail partnerships - which work at a grassroots level to engage and benefit local people and promote rail as a key part of sustainable, healthy travel in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire - will be showcasing places to visit and things to do along Greater Anglia’s rural branch lines as part of the campaign.

Days Out by Rail will focus on eight themes, inspiring and encouraging leisure travellers to: explore off the beaten track; marvel at spectacular views; enjoy purse-friendly days out; reconnect with family; discover what’s on their doorstep; plan days out with friends; explore scenic walking & cycling routes and enjoy time out just for grown-ups, by train.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said:

“Many people don’t realise the scope for seeing Britain’s stunning landscapes, pretty villages and historic sites by rail – and making use of our wonderful, often little-known, community rail lines and stations is a great way to do this."

“We are excited to launch our Days Out by Rail campaign with help from community rail partnerships and station volunteers across the country. This campaign is all about drawing on the local knowledge and insights from the community rail movement, and sharing that with families, day-trippers and holidaymakers. We hope to inspire more people to explore our beautiful countryside and fascinating heritage through green and scenic journeys by rail, avoiding the stress and pollution of driving and parking.”

Community Rail Network is the national umbrella body for 74 community rail partnerships and 1,000 station friends groups working locally to help communities get the most from their railways and benefit from sustainable travel. Their Scenic Rail Britain site is the go-to reference and planning tool to discover scenic and historic rail journeys in England, Scotland and Wales. It shows how day-trippers and holidaymakers can uncover hidden gems across coastal, country and city destinations using the vast network of Britain’s community rail lines.

As more people return to rail, Greater Anglia is seeing some trains and stations getting busier. More trains have been added to the timetable and customers are encouraged to use the full length of trains and platforms.

They are also advised to use the operator’s ‘Less Busy Trains tool’ at greateranglia.co.uk and opt for a quieter train.

Face covering compliance is high on trains and stations and trains are well ventilated either by air conditioning which replaces air inside the train every six to nine minutes or by open windows.

Greater Anglia is also continuing with enhanced cleaning and sanitisation of trains and stations.

Full details of the revised timetable and measures Greater Anglia is taking to keep people safe are available from www.greateranglia.co.uk

Greater Anglia’s six community rail partnerships are:

  • The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership (Norwich – Cromer and Sheringham)
  • The Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership (Norwich – Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft)
  • The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership (Ipswich – Lowestoft and Felixstowe)
  • The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (branch lines in Essex)
  • The Hereward Community Rail Partnership (Ely – Peterborough)
  • The New River Line Community Rail Partnership (Broxbourne – Hertford East)

Community Rail Network

Community rail is a unique and growing movement comprising more than 70 community rail partnerships and 1,000 volunteer groups across Britain that help communities get the most from their railways. Community rail is about engaging local people at the grassroots level to promote social inclusion, sustainable and healthy travel, wellbeing, economic development and tourism. It involves working with train operators, local authorities and other partners to bring improvements to rail services and stations, improve accessibility and inclusion, promote use of rail as part of sustainable and healthy mobility, and help communities to have a voice in rail and transport development.

Community Rail Network is a not-for-profit organisation working to support and champion community rail across Britain. communityrail.org.uk

Scenic Rail Britain

Since launching in 2017, Scenic Rail Britain has provided hundreds of thousands of visitors with inspiration to take sustainable leisure trips by rail. Scenic Rail Britain showcases the diverse blend of Britain’s tourism landscape and highlights the benefits of responsible travel through inspiring itineraries and journey plans using community railways. Scenic Rail Britain is run by Community Rail Network and aims to inform and inspire tourists and day-trippers to explore Britain by rail. scenicrailbritain.com

View the short video ‘Scenic Rail Adventures. Explore By Train’