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Monday, April 7, 2008

Community rail - new life for local lines

The rail service on the Severn Beach Line, between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach, has been designated as a Community Rail Service, Rail Minister Tom Harris announced today.

The designated service allows for a more flexible approach to be adopted by the train operating company (First Great Western) working alongside the local Severnside Community Rail Partnership. This enables them to manage the service with greater emphasis on meeting local needs - for example by changing the times of trains or the fares structures. Together they will continue to look for ways to increase patronage and improve the service.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said:

"I am delighted to make this announcement on the day that I meet with representatives of the West of England Partnership to talk about rail issues in their area.

"Designation of the Severn Beach service as a Community Rail Service is good news. It means that local communities can become even more involved in how these services run and ultimately encourage more passengers to use them."

Andrew Haines, Managing Director First Great Western, said:

"This is good news for both passengers and First Great Western. Community Rail Partnerships have the potential to increase passenger numbers, attract external investment and put the railway at the heart of the community it serves. We have already seen beneficial collaborative working on this line and this designation recognises this joint working, and commitment, to develop the line."

Sarah Collins, Partnership Officer of the Severnside Community Rail Partnership, said:

"The official designation of the Severn Beach Line is welcome and will help us to take forward the plans to develop the line."

Notes for Editors

1 The Community Rail Development Strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.

2 To date there have been 23 official designations of lines and services. Rail Minister, Tom Harris, announced two designations yesterday in Manchester:

* South Fylde Line: Preston - Blackpool South designated as a Community Rail Service (part of the route, Blackpool South - Kirkham and Wesham, has also been designated a Community Rail Line)

* Lakes Line: Oxenholme - Windermere designated as a Community Rail Line


posted by transport blogs @ 10:39 PM permanent link   | Post a Comment |




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