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The Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnerships is today (Wednesday) taking part in a nationwide campaign, organised by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), encouraging people to explore the historic and scenic destinations and attractions that surround their local railway lines.

The partnership will be promoting the Island’s visitor destinations at London Waterloo railway station until 19:00 this evening, highlighting the attractions that can be explored by rail, as part of this year’s Community Rail in City.

Community Rail in the City is a flagship annual community rail event that promotes sustainable travel for tourism and recreation. This year’s event brings together 24 community rail partnerships – community-based groups that work to help communities get the most from their railways – and partners at 11 mainline stations.

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Throughout the day representations will be providing inspiration and information to help local families, tourists and day-trippers plan visits to the UK’s most stunning and fascinating visitor destinations and hidden gems by train, using the country’s ‘community rail’ routes, while travelling sustainably and avoiding the stresses of driving. This year’s event is particularly promoting exploration of historic places and events by rail, which can be especially rewarding given the railway’s important role in our heritage.

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 10 years, with approximately 3 million annual visitors using the train as part of their trip, adding £510million to the UK economy.

Bobby Lock, Community Rail Partnerships Development Officer, said:

“Community Rail in the City is a great opportunity for us to promote our wonderful railway lines to thousands of commuters and potential visitors. We know very well that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have much to offer domestic and foreign visitors, from Brockenhurst in the beautiful New Forest down to the sailing historical town of Lymington and over to the Isle of Wight where there is a wealth of attractions from beaches, family fun attractions and miles of beautiful unspoilt walks.

“We hope that Community Rail in the City will help us get that across to wider audiences and encourage people to visit Dorset by rail rather than car. As well as being a more relaxing and pleasurable way to travel, visiting the region by rail benefits the local economy, and means less traffic, noise and pollution in our communities.”

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Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said:

“We’re really pleased that Isle of Wight and Lymington-Brockenhurst Community Rail are getting involved in this important national campaign to promote exploration of their historic and scenic local railway lines. Across Britain, community railway lines take you off the beaten track, to some of our most amazing and fascinating destinations – and travel on them is especially rewarding, as they played a crucial part in our heritage, and bring you right into the heart of communities.

“Today, our members will be popping up at stations across Britain and engaging thousands of commuters to inspire and advise on daytrips, weekends and holidays by rail. This sort of tourism by rail is great for the families and holiday-makers, it’s more sustainable than driving, and it provides a critical boost to local economies.”

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