Community Rail Partnerships

Community Rail Partnerships have become an increasingly popular means through which local communities can become involved in their local railways. They are essentially informal associations between various interested parties, usually local authorities, train operators, Network Rail, rail user groups, and other community organisations, which are signed up to a joint set of aims and objectives. Their primary purpose, as defined in the Government’s Community Rail Development Strategy, is to re-think the way in which local railways are managed, so that patronage can be boosted at the same time as lowering costs (and ultimately subsidy).

The approach taken by CRPs to railway management is vastly different to traditional practices. CRPs take a community-based approach, encouraging people to take an interest and get involved in their local railway through a variety of means, such as community events, special trains, and promotional campaigns. The work of the CRP is jointly funded by its member organisations, and CRPs normally appoint one (or more) Community Rail Officer, who undertakes most of the CRPs work.

Community Rail Partnerships have become so popular that the Department for Transport has adopted a national Community Rail Development Strategy, which was subsequently updated by a review of the strategy. This has re-affirmed the importance of Community Rail at a national level, as well as to the locals who benefit from them!

Who We Are and What We Do

The Abbey Line is a 6.5-mile local railway line running from Watford Junction, on the National Rail Network, to St Albans Abbey station, in Hertfordshire. Opened on May 5th 1858, the Abbey Line has given over 150 years of continuous service to the local community.

The Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership was established in June 2005 and brings together a number of partner organisations with the purpose of increasing useage of the line. It also aims to enhance station environments to make them a more pleasant place and to give the local community the opportunity to become more involved in their local railway line. Through the delivery of improvements to the line, this enables the railway to play a greater part in contributing to the benefits brought by local economic development. Ultimately one of our aims is to bring environmental benefit through increased usage of the Line and reduction in car use. Community Rail Partnership members include:

Businesses and organisations can contact the CRP officer to discuss how you can participate in the work of the CRP and be supported to promote the use of the line to your staff. Using the line can help to reduce your car parking issues and the road conjestion between Watford and St Albans, thus improving the environment for all. Please visit our Contact page for further details. Individuals and community groups can become involved in enhancng your local station environment.