Railway station used as national example for how to develop train lines
PUBLISHED: 11:28 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 06 May 2020
A railway station on the Norfolk and Suffolk border is being held up as a model case study for how the government can connect communities.
Beccles railway station has been praised as an effective and inclusive community asset which, after a number of improvement projects, connects the people of Beccles to rest of the country.
Towards the end of April the government unveiled its new community rail development strategy, which hopes to “shine a light on neglected and at-risk parts of the [train] network,” praising communities which have come together to safeguard the future of their local lines.
Since it was founded in 2004 and last reviewed in 2007, the nature of the community rail development strategy has been focused on “ensuring local lines remain relevant and that community rail organisations continue to play their part in attracting increased ridership”.
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Beccles railway station has been flagged up as an exemplar part of the train network which was once at risk and now has “harnessed the support of and reached further into their local communities.”
The station was said to provide a voice to the community while promoting sustainable, healthy and accessible travel. It was also praised for bringing local communities together by supporting diversity and inclusion, while also benefitting the social and economic development of the town.
The government’s case study said: “The station building was restored and repurposed by the local community through the Beccles and District Regeneration Charity. The project’s achievements so far in providing facilities for local community groups and activities include the provision of four offices for local small and medium-sized and start-up businesses in Beccles.”
Also praised was the station adoption group, which the government recognised “has also done much to secure additional funds to celebrate the station’s heritage, install a new waiting shelter, improve access to the station and provide tourist information.”
The progress made at Beccles station has been flagged up to guide strategies for other at-risk parts of the network across the country.
A government spokesperson said: “Through its rail franchising programme, the government seeks to provide improved outcomes for passengers, better value for the taxpayer, and to drive economic, social and environmental benefit for the country.”
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