Community rail link-up is right on track

Stratford-upon-Avon Railway Station.

A NEW community rail partnership which will fast track the future needs of rail travel in Stratford and Warwickshire could prove to a be a significant boost to the local economy in terms of travel, tourism and jobs.

The new Heart of England Community Rail Partnership (CRP) was launched on Monday and was initiated by the joined up thinking of two rail user groups coming together: the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG) and the Solihull and Leamington Spa Rail Users Association (SALRUA).

There are 64 CRPs across the UK, but until now, the West Midlands has not had any in its region. That will change with the new Heart of England CRP which covers most of Warwickshire’s and all of the Solihull’s area of railway.

Fraser Pithie, secretary of Shakespeare Line Promotion Group welcomed the news.

“We think that the new CRP will provide a real boost for Stratford and particularly its town centre businesses. We are confident that the CRP will really start to promote interest in our town, particularly from within the UK and boost day trips and overnight stays, both of which are the lifeblood of the local economy or our great local businesses. Stratford’s station is already handling over one million passenger journeys a year and we want to treble that because if we do, it will mean we have much better train services and crucially much less traffic congestion around Stratford.”

The Department for Transport now encourages and supports CRPs because they’re valued for their input and work.