The Avocet Line became a Community Rail line in September 2012. This page and links tells you all about Community Rail and what it means.
Community Rail is a scheme to support and develop ‘local lines’ – shorter and more rural lines away from the country’s main lines. It’s a government-backed and funded scheme, also supported by train operators, Network Rail and local councils. The key aim is to help local lines serve their communities better, and there are objectives for each line to deliver this. See our CR objectives.
The Avocet Line is now part of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (DCRP) – see their profile and their front page. DCRP has a very successful track record of developing service and facilities on local lines in the Southwest, and in growing passenger numbers. It produces a wide range of information leaflets and promotes popular Rail Ale Trails.
Each Community Rail line is supported by partnership working between local councils, the railway industry, local business, local community groupings and in our case ALRUG. A Line Forum provides a formal way for this partnership to happen and will meet 3 or 4 times a year. An Avocet Line Community Line Community Rail Forum has now been established. ALRUG members can see minutes of the meetings in the Members Area of this site.
Already Community Rail funding is part-funding extra Sunday trains on the Avocet Line, a reprint of our popular ‘Wild Birds by Train’ leaflet published jointly with the RSPB, and a series of walks leaflets entitled ‘Avocet Ambles’.
In autumn 2015 the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership made available the services of one of their staff – Celia Minougham – to take forward projects to promote and market the Avocet Line. Celia has set up a Twitter account, which is spreading the word about the Avocet Line, and taken forward a number of schemes such as a winter dining promotion and a re-launch of the Avocet Ambles 2 leaflet. We were delighted to be told in January 2016 that Celia will continue to work with us until at least the end of September 2016.
To see more about Community Rail visit the Department for Transport website and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACORP) site. You may also be interested in reading about the Severn Beach line in Bristol which has had Community Rail status for longer. It’s similar to the Avocet Line in being a city-to-coast commuter line; Community Rail status has led to many and varied improvements.