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2006-03-24 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Community Rail - new life for local lines


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Isle of Wight
Island Line



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Department for Transport

Community Rail - new life for local lines
_______________________________________________________________


date
24 March 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



The Isle of Wight's Island line has been designated as a Community Rail route Rail Minister Derek Twigg announced today.

The Island line is the first to be given Community Rail status since the original pilot projects. Designation changes the approach to running the line, with greater emphasis on local management and meeting local needs. A range of initiatives have been and are being implemented on this line, including additional car parking and a Park and Ride scheme at St Johns Road.

The Minister also confirmed that the Department for Transport will be providing core funding of £180,000 for the Association of Community Rail Partnerships. This will enable ACoRP to continue representing and supporting partnerships around the country. It underlines the Government's commitment to the Community Rail Development strategy.

In a message to the Community Rail conference in Huddersfield Derek Twigg said:
"Designation is great news for the Island Line. It will ensure management to meet local needs at an affordable price, encouraging involvement from stakeholders.

"The Community Rail strategy continues to make good progress. The Association of Community Rail Partnerships has a vital role in working to put these local lines on a sustainable footing for the future. We are pleased to provide their core funding for the year 2006/07."

Notes for Editors

1. The Community Rail Development Strategy was published in November 2004 with the intention of securing the long-term viability of local rail routes. This was done through a consultation process, which included local authorities, Community Rail partnerships, railway development companies, and rail user groups throughout the UK. It has three key objectives:

* To increase passenger use and revenue;
* To manage down costs;
* To involve the local community more in the development of their railway.

2. The Community Rail conference in Huddersfield is taking place today. It is intended to share best practice and take forward issues facing local rail services. It is organised by the Association of Community Rail Partnership - the organisation representing local partnerships that are working to boost patronage on local and rural railways.

3. The DfT will provide core funding of £180,000 to The Association of Community Rail Partnerships in 2006/07.

4. Over 50 lines throughout the UK (including six pilot lines) have been identified as possible Community Rail routes. Success will depend on partnership working. The strategy encourages local involvement in developing local railways through:

* Community Rail partnerships and railway development companies; * Innovative ways to attract more passengers using the resources already available;
* 'Adoption' of stations by local communities;
* Introduction of standards appropriate to the use of individual routes;
* Improved integration, including between local bus and rail services.

5. The six initial pilot projects which have already been designated are:

Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey (Abbey Line)
Esk Valley (Middlesbrough to Whitby)
Looe Valley (Looe-Liskeard)
Tamar Valley (Plymouth-Gunnislake)
Penistone Line (Huddersfield-Barnsley)
St Ives Bay line (St Ives- St Erth)

6. The Community Rail Development Strategy is available on the DfT website:

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

Derek Twigg letter -
To Community Rail Conference 24th March 2006

I am writing to express my support for the Community Rail Conference today, and to take the opportunity to announce a number of developments.
Firstly, I would like to confirm that the Department for Transport will provide the Association of Community Rail Partnerships with core funding of £180,000, for the next financial year. This support will enable ACoRP to continue their vital role representing and supporting partnerships around the country, and to continue assisting the Department in taking the Community Rail Development Strategy forward.

Secondly, I am pleased to announce the designation of a further Community Rail route. The Island Line is the first to be designated since the original pilot projects. Community rail status will facilitate the further development of this line, which provides a valuable part of the Isle of Wight's infrastructure. I congratulate the line's Community Rail partnership on the work it has done so far.

I am also able to announce an extension to the Community Rail Strategy, which will allow for the designation of Community Rail Services on lines which, for various reasons, cannot be designated as Community Rail Lines. This extension will increase the scope of the Strategy and signals a desire to give more freedom to franchises when working with local Community Rail partnerships.

I would like to thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm. This is a good time for the railway with record investment, improved performance and increased passenger satisfaction. We have the fastest growing railway in Europe, and the Government wants to see that continue. That is why we continue to promote this strategy, it's why the Greater Western Franchise contains a commitment to support Community Rail lines, and why I'm making these announcements today.

I am sorry that I am unable to attend the conference, but pleased to be able to send this message of support to the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and the organisations and individuals who work with it. I look forward to continued close working between ACoRP and the Department for Transport over the next year.

Derek Twigg


Railhub Archive ::: 2006-03-24 DfT-001





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