National recognition for Norfolk and Suffolk community rail projects

Published on: Wednesday, 31 August 2022
Last updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Efforts to bring communities in Norfolk and Suffolk together through rail station projects have been tipped for several national awards.

The Bittern Line, Wherry Lines and East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnerships have all been shortlisted for accolades at the Community Rail Awards for their work to support communities, encourage sustainable travel and enhance public spaces.

The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership which supports the railway from Norwich via Wroxham, North Walsham and Cromer to Sheringham is nominated for a ‘Small Projects Award’ for its pioneering Sheringham Rail Passenger Discount Scheme, designed to add value for rail passengers and support local business.

Thirty-five businesses in Sheringham joined the scheme that offers passengers a discount or offer on production of a valid rail ticket or proof of travel, with the scheme now looking to expand to other locations.

The Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership which supports the lines from Norwich via the Broads National Park to the coast at Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, has also been nominated along with the Lowestoft Central Project and the Friends of Glossop Station, for the ‘Best Community Engagement Award’ for their ongoing efforts to both celebrate and preserve the memories of former Wartime Evacuees sent to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in 1940.

As part of the initiative, Lowestoft and former Derbyshire host town, Glossop have supported reunion events, tours, a book launch and installed station-based interpretation panels, including two at Lowestoft telling the story of the day 3000 children were evacuated away from the threat of bombing and invasion.

The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Visit Felixstowe and local shop, The Wool Baa, are shortlisted for the ‘Tourism and Leisure Award’ for their ‘Felix the Seagull and Friends’ yarn bomb trail around the town, which aimed to attract additional tourists by train.

Having spent a lifetime promoting public transport, Trevor Garrod has also been shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Volunteer Contribution’ category. A founding member and current Chair of the East Suffolk Travel Association (ESTA), which successfully campaigned to save the East Suffolk Railway Line from closure in the 1960s, also volunteers with the Lowestoft Central Project, the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and is adopter of Buckenham railway station.

Trevor is a member of numerous public transport bodies and passionate about promoting both rail, bus and integrated transport services and also chairs the Northern Line Group of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership.

A valued member of the Lowestoft Central Project, Trevor also gives time each week to help run the town’s Community Rail Hub, Tourist Information Office and Station Shop as well as supporting events held in the station’s former Parcels Office, now a public exhibition space.

In addition, he is an established author having written books and guides promoting rail and bus travel and a volunteer at the East Anglia Transport Museum in Carlton Colville where he is officially passed to perform train guard and tram conductor roles.

Martin Halliday, Community Rail Development Officer, Community Rail Norfolk, said, “Our aim is to build positive relationships and mutually beneficial links between our lines and the communities they serve, and we are absolutely delighted to see our efforts, and the benefits they have delivered, nominated for these prestigious national awards.”

“We are also thrilled to see that our great friend and colleague, Trevor Garrod has been shortlisted for his efforts. Trevor works tirelessly to promote public transport, not just in the area but nationally and internationally. His knowledge and experience is highly valued both by the partnerships, our other volunteers and the many organisations for whom he freely gives so much of his time and experience.”

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “We are really proud of our community rail partnerships and amazing station adopters and are thrilled that the work that they do across the region to support communities, promote sustainable travel and help our region’s branch lines to thrive has been shortlisted for so many awards.”

The Community Rail Awards, now in its 18th year, recognises the important work carried out by an army, often of volunteers, who work across Britain’s rail network to make stations welcoming spaces for passengers and visitors alike. Alongside this, many of the groups carry out vital community engagement work with schools, colleges, and other local groups to help educate and secure passengers of the future, which is critical to ensuring railways are an inclusive, sustainable, healthy way to travel.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on 5 October 2022.