A campaign to encourage people to explore ‘Scenic Rail Britain’ is being launched today by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and its members at train stations around the country.

A new website, scenicrailbritain.com, blog and social media channels will offer inspiration and information to help tourists and day-trippers plan visits to epic landscapes, coastal scenes, historic sites and picturesque areas by train, particularly via Britain’s community rail routes.

Scenic Rail Britain aims to help domestic and foreign tourists access some of the country’s hidden gems, while travelling sustainably and avoiding the stresses of driving. It highlights the range of landscapes, sights and attractions that can be enjoyed and accessed by train, including via the scores of lines that community rail partnerships work to promote and enhance.

As well as helping tourists access more of Britain through enjoyable, environmentally friendly means, tourism by rail makes a growing and vital contribution to local economies. Rail usage in this sector has increased by 30 per cent over the last ten years, with approximately three million annual visitors using the train as part of their trip, adding £510 million to the UK economy 1.

 Scenic Rail Britain is being launched through activities at train stations around the country by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, main partner the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and other community rail partnerships taking part in its annual ‘Community Rail in the City’ event.

The event will reach thousands of commuters with information on Scenic Rail Britain, and on some of Britain’s most scenic community railway lines. This includes:

  • Association of Community Rail Partnerships and the Poacher Line at Kings Cross 6.30am-7.00pm, promoting Scenic Rail Britain and encouraging people to explore historic Lincolnshire by rail;
  • Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership at Paddington 6.30am-7.00pm, using Poldark to encourage people to visit Cornwall and explore the Duchy by train and other public transport, and launching the Cornwall As Seen on Screen app in partnership with Visit Cornwall;
  • Barton to Cleethorpes and Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Partnerships at Manchester Piccadilly 10.30am-3.00pm, encouraging visitors to travel by rail to the UK City of Culture 2017 and explore the area further;
  • Three Rivers (Salisbury-Bursledon) with Isle of Wight and TransWilts Community Rail Partnerships at London Waterloo 6.30am-7.00pm encouraging people to explore the area by rail;
  • Wales and Borders community rail partnerships, with the Abbey Line community rail partnership (Watford–St Albans) and Marston Vale community rail partnership (Bletchley–Bedford), at Birmingham New Street 10.30am-3.00pm, raising awareness of what there is to see and do within easy access of their lines;
  • Penistone Line Community Rail Partnership (Huddersfield-Sheffield) at Leeds Station 10.30am-3.00pm, promoting travel along their scenic and historic railway lines;
  • Essex & South Suffolk, East Suffolk and Norfolk community rail partnerships at London Liverpool Street 6.30am-7.00pm promoting travel by train across beautiful east of England.
  • Bentham Community Rail Partnership (Leeds-Lancaster & Morecambe) at Lancaster station 10.30am-3.00pm promoting their award-winning Rail to Trail walking and cycling scheme linking stations on the line and their new mini-coach service from Bentham station through the Forest of Bowland AONB.
  • Sussex Community Rail Partnership at London Blackfriars 6.30am-7.00pm encouraging visitors to explore the historic county of Sussex by rail.
  • Kent Community Rail Partnership at St Pancras International in London 6.30am-7.00pm engaging visitors and raising awareness of travelling around historic Kent by rail.

Community rail partnerships work at grassroots level to engage local communities, help people to get the most from their railways, and promote rail as a key part of sustainable, healthy travel.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: ‘We are excited to launch Scenic Rail Britain today with help from community rail partnerships across the country. This campaign is all about helping families, day trippers and foreign visitors explore our beautiful countryside and fascinating heritage through sustainable, scenic and non-stressful travel. Many people don’t realise the scope for seeing Britain’s stunning landscapes, pretty villages and historic sites by rail – and making use of our wonderful, often little-known, community rail lines is a great way to do this.’

[1] UK Tourism Statistics 2016 (Tourism Alliance)