The Sussex Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) and Govia Thameslink Railway (Southern) announced the formation of a new community rail partnership along the West Coastway from Hove to Angmering.
It will promote the railway and its importance to the community and connect with the existing community rail partnership lines of Seaford to Brighton in the east and the Arun Valley line in the west.
SCRP will work with representatives of the local communities, passengers, local authorities, schools, colleges and businesses to ensure continuing improvements to rail services and facilities and accessibility at stations.
SCRP will set up station partnerships, like the SideTracked group already established at Angmering that has transformed the station with local art and flower displays.
Other community rail partnerships in Sussex have promoted local attractions along their routes by publishing line guides and co-hosting ‘Try A Train’ days when rail travel is introduced to people with learning difficulties to help instil a greater sense of independence.
GTR is committing £15,000 of funding to the new partnership to cover the cost of a part-time officer who will be employed by SCRP to lead the initiative. SCRP will hold a stakeholder conference in the coming months to establish this new community rail partnership.
Patrick Warner, chairman of SCRP Strategy Board, said: “This is an exciting development, building on our experience of working with communities and providing an opportunity for local people and organisations along this line to get more involved with, and take advantage of, the sustainable value of rail travel.”
Southern’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Andy Harrowell said: “Govia Thameslink Railway is modernising and transforming rail travel for Southern passengers and we recognise the huge difference Sussex Community Rail Partnership makes to the Arun Valley and Seaford lines.
“We are delighted to commit additional money to set up this new partnership and bring the same benefits to passengers between Hove and Angmering. We look forward to working with partners along the line for the benefit of our local communities.”
Cllr Bob Lanzer, Cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure, West Sussex County Council said: “We strongly support the work of community rail partnerships which have given significant improvement to stations and rail services and I welcome this extension of community rail activity in the county.”