The Sussex Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) and Govia Thameslink Railway (Southern) today announced the formation of a new community rail partnership covering the stations and communities between Hove and Angmering.
It will promote the railway and its importance to the community and connect with the existing community rail partnership lines of Seaford to Brighton in the east and Gatwick to Chichester (the Arun Valley line) in the west.
SCRP will work with representatives of the local communities, passengers, local authorities, schools, colleges and businesses to ensure continuing improvements to rail services, to facilities at stations, to access to and from stations and to assisting potential travellers to understand the availability of services and facilities to make their journeys as easy and comfortable as possible.
It will endeavour to set up station partnerships, like the group already established at Angmering that has transformed the station with local art and flower displays.
Other community rail partnerships in Sussex have promoted local attractions along their routes by publishing line guides and co-host ‘Try A Train’ days when rail travel ins introduced to children or people with learning difficulties to help instil a greater sense of independence.
GTR is committing £15,000 of funding to the new partnership to cover the cost of a part-time officer who will be employed by SCRP to lead the initiative. SCRP anticipates holding a stakeholder conference in the coming months as part of the work to establish this new community rail partnership.
Patrick Warner, chairman of SCRP Strategy Board, said: “This is an exciting development, building on our experience of working with communities and providing an opportunity for local people and organisations along this line to get more involved with, and take advantage of, the sustainable value of rail travel.”
Southern’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Andy Harrowell said: “Govia Thameslink Railway is modernising and transforming rail travel for Southern passengers and we recognise the huge difference Sussex Community Rail Partnership makes to the Arun Valley and Seaford lines.
“We are delighted to commit additional money to set up this new partnership and bring the same benefits to passengers between Hove and Angmering. We look forward to working with partners along the line for the benefit of our local communities.”
Cllr Bob Lanzer, Cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure, West Sussex County Council said: “We strongly support the work of community rail partnerships which have given significant improvement to stations and rail services and I welcome this extension of community rail activity in the county.”
Sussex Community Rail Partnership
Sussex Community Rail Partnership is directed by Partners on its stakeholder Advisory Board who include the county councils of Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove City, GTR and GWR, Network Rail, Brighton and Hove Buses, Gatwick Airport and the South Downs National Park Authority. It is managed by a volunteer team of Directors on the Board of SCRP Ltd. This not for profit company employs a small team of dedicated officers who co-ordinate project work within their community area.