The vision, which launches at Llandudno station on 16 May by Transport Minister Ken Skates AM, will see new Community Rail Partnerships set up across the entire Wales and Borders network to promote and encourage rail use in communities.
More than £600,000 will be invested every single year, with 22 new community ambassador roles created alongside marketing roles which will focus on promoting regional tourism and local economic growth.
The vision will also target station adoption, with plans to get 90 per cent of our stations adopted within four years, creating better links with the communities they serve.
Colin Lea, Customer Experience Director for Transport for Wales, said: “We know the invaluable role our community rail partnerships play in the cities, towns and villages we serve. Our new strategy will take community rail to the next level and put Transport for Wales as the leading advocate of Community Rail in Britain.
The railway exists to work for those communities, so by creating more partnerships, developing station adoption, working closely with rail user groups and employing community ambassadors, we can build better and closer relationships with those communities.”
The community rail strategy goes hand in hand with Transport for Wales’ £200 million Station Improvement Plan. The plan, which started earlier this year with station deep cleans, will see investment across all 247 stations managed by Transport for Wales, no matter how big or small they are.
That investment will also target any empty stations facilities around the network which will be refurbished specifically for community use.
Our Station Adoption scheme, which has attracted individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds across Wales and England, will be grown as part of the strategy. Greater support from local stakeholder and community managers will allow adopters to do more and help them put stations in their rightful place at the heart of communities.
As part of the South Wales Metro project, stations and infrastructure along the Core Valley Lines will transfer from Network Rail to Transport for Wales later this year. This will allow even closer working relationships between station adopters and Transport for Wales.
Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates AM said:
“Transport for Wales is transforming the transport sector across the Wales and Borders network and the deep clean taking place at Llandudno station is a great example of the positive action which is already taking place.
“We have put a clear focus on working with communities to build a railway that is fit for the future and the Community Rail Strategy is absolutely key to that.
“Having a modern transport system is fundamental to the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales and communities have an important role to play in ensuring our investment delivers local benefit.
“I’m pleased more than £600,000 will be invested every year and community ambassador and marketing roles created thanks to the strategy. There will be a focus on developing key partnerships with local communities and through the promotion of regional tourism we can deliver a real boost to our economic growth.
“The Station Improvement Plan will also see Transport for Wales investing £200 million across all of their stations.
“This is an exciting time for transport in Wales and I look forward to seeing the Community Rail Strategy go from strength to strength and deliver for people throughout the country.”
James Price CEO Transport for Wales said: “It is essential that we value the contribution communities can bring to our network and fully maximise the contribution that our services can bring to communities.”
Melanie Lawton, Community Rail Officer for the Conwy Valley Partnership said: "It’s an exciting time for Community Rail Partnerships in Wales and the Borders.
"I have experienced first hand the significant investment in Community Rail, in station adoption schemes and there is more to come with station improvements and stock investment. The Conwy Valley Railway will see refurbished 230 units on the line and greater promotion to help people get the most from their railway with scenic days out but also support social inclusion and sustainable travel for people in the local community."
Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “We are proud to support the launch of Transport for Wales’ new Community Rail Strategy, which will further connect communities with the railway.
“It’s vital to create strong links with the communities we serve in order to provide a voice for the community, encourage rail use, promote diversity and inclusion, and support social and economic development.
“We hope the strategy will build on the great progress that has been made to encourage more local people to get directly involved in improving the railway environment, that is vital to helping to support thriving communities across Wales & Borders.”
Jools Townsend, Chief Executive, Association of Community Rail Partnerships said: "We’re excited to be working with TfW to support this growing grassroots movement. Community rail partnerships and station groups play a critical role in enabling communities to get the most from their local railways and stations. They bring people together, help more people to access rail travel, promote sustainable travel and tourism, and empower communities to have a voice – helping to create happier, healthier, more sustainable and inclusive communities.”
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