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Monday, July 14, 2008

Breathing new life into local lines - community rail project announced for New Forest

The picturesque train route between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier stations has today been officially awarded Community Rail status by Transport Minister Tom Harris.

Designation of the five and quarter mile line, which passes through the New Forest National Park on its way to the key Isle of Wight ferry link at Lymington, brings a variety of benefits. It means official recognition of the new Community Rail Partnership set up at grassroots level to develop the service with a greater emphasis on meeting local needs. They also look at ways of increasing use of the route and improving the service.

Transport Minister Tom Harris said:

"This is good news for passengers in Hampshire. By becoming a community line this key transport link through an environmentally sensitive area will benefit greatly from the work of the Community Rail Partnership. A recently published study by the Association of Community Partnerships has demonstrated that they can boost use of the service, reduce car journeys in the area, help develop tourism and contribute to regeneration along the route.

"It is fitting that this positive news about its future comes as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first train to travel on the line."

Stewart Palmer, Managing Director, South West Trains added:

"Since the Lymington Line was first identified as a potential community railway transport we have worked hard to try and give the route an extra boost by creating a heritage railway with traditional slam door trains and a historical green and cream theme. We are proud to be part of the new Lymington to Brockenhurst Community Rail Partnership and hope that by all working together we can achieve the sort of success already achieved by the Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnership, of which we are also very proud to be a part."

Councillor Mel Kendal, Transport Portfolio holder for Hampshire County Council and Chairman of the Lymington-Brockenhurst Community Rail Partnership Steering Group concluded:

"Hampshire is proud to be associated with the Lymington - Brockenhurst Community Rail Partnership which is a real bonus for the enhancement of tourism in the New Forest area and for strengthening the maritime link with West Wight. Designation of the line will unlock measures to attract more visitors to the area by train and help generate a real sense of 'ownership', involvement and civic pride in the stations at Brockenhurst and Lymington and in the distinctive heritage trains themselves."


posted by transport blogs @ 10:32 PM permanent link   | Post a Comment |




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