Devon & Cornwall branch lines featured on Scenic Rail Britain
Devon and Cornwall’s scenic railway branch lines, such as those to St Ives, Looe, Gunnislake and Barnstaple, are included in a new nationwide campaign launched today to encourage people to explore ‘Scenic Rail Britain’.
A new website, Scenic Rail Britain, blog and social media channels are being launched that day by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) and its members at stations around the country. They aim to 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 wonderful ‘community rail’ routes.
As part of the launch, the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, which works to promote the two counties’ branch lines, will be at Paddington station in London. The Partnership has worked closely with ACoRP to develop the website.
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 huge 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% over the last ten years, with approximately three million annual visitors using the train as part of their trip, adding £510m to the UK economy.
Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said:
“We are excited to launch Scenic Rail Britain today with help from the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership. 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, like the scenic branch lines of Devon and Cornwall, is a great way to do this. Anyone thinking of making a trip, or wanting to find out more about what’s on their doorstep, can check out Scenic Rail Britain, for practical tips, itineraries and inspiration.”
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, said:
“Today’s event and the Scenic Rail Britain campaign are great opportunities for us to promote our wonderful railway lines to thousands of commuters and potential visitors. We have worked closely with the Association of Community Rail Partnerships on this project and are very proud indeed of the website which will sell Devon and Cornwall and our local lines to audiences far and wide, to the benefit of the local economy.”
The launch is part of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships’ annual ‘Community Rail in the City’ day. The event will reach thousands of commuters with information on Scenic Rail Britain and highlights on some of Britain’s scenic railway lines provided by community rail partnerships. As well as at Paddington, there will be activities at stations including King’s Cross, Waterloo and Liverpool Street in London, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds.
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.
The website has been made possible by a UK Government grant from the Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Competition. The website’s hosting, support and maintenance is sponsored by Abellio.