‘Give the train a try’ during Community Rail Week

Community Rail Lancashire is joining community groups and volunteers across Britain for this year’s Community Rail Week, to encourage people to ‘give the train a try’.

They are especially encouraging the many families and individuals who rarely or never get on a train or bus, and instead rely on cars, to consider the benefits of making at least the occasional switch to greener, healthier, more social forms of travel.

Community Rail Week, organised by Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, runs from 23-29 May, and will involve hundreds of community rail partnerships and volunteer groups inviting people to ‘give the train a try’.

Community Rail Lancashire will be marking the week with a series of events across the county. First up is the premiere of a video that has been created to honour the life and work of The Honourable Rachel Beatrice Kay-Shuttleworth MBE (1886-1967), who was the last Shuttleworth family member to live at Gawthorpe Hall.

Taking place at Padiham Primary school on Monday 23rd May, the video has been created with the help of year six pupils as well as artist Cath Ford and Huckleberry Films. In attendance will be one of just a few of Rachel’s remaining living relatives, Lord Shuttleworth, who has been Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Lancashire since 1997. 

The animated film includes archive footage of Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth, which has been provided by The North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University. With thanks to the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection team who provided archive photographs and information for the film, and Lancashire County Council’s ‘Heritage Learning Lancashire’ team who facilitated a tour of Gawthorpe Hall with an actor playing ‘Miss Rachel’.

On Wednesday 25th May it’s over to the Fylde coast, where three separate events will take place. A new leaflet designed to encourage people to Discover hidden gems along the South Fylde Line will be launched at St Annes station.

Later in the afternoon the Ansdell heritage trail will be unveiled at Ansdell station with a printed guide map showing visitors all the wonderful sites along the way. From the stunning Ansdell Institute to the eye-catching White Church and the Commonside and Church Farm House, there are lots of beautiful sights to behold.

The day will end with a presentation to local historian Peter Fitton, whose knowledge and passion has been applied to an informative series of posters that are proudly displayed at stations across the South Fylde Line.  

The week-long celebration will end in the East of the county on Friday, with a guided bike ride from, and back to, Brierfield station, which will also take in the Stephen Burke Cycle Track.

Community Rail Week looks to drive change at a community level through the efforts of 74 community rail partnerships and 1,200 station friends groups across Britain – working to help people get out of their cars and onto trains and other sustainable modes of transport.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Community Rail Week, and its call to action of ‘give the train a try’, is all about connecting local communities with their railways and encouraging and enabling more people to travel sustainably by train.

Community rail has an inspiring track record of doing just that: promoting travel confidence and increasing access to opportunity, while bringing people together, giving communities a voice, and putting railways and stations at the heart of community life.

Community rail partnerships and volunteers the length and breadth of Britain are this week mobilising en masse, engaging local people and partners to raise awareness about the importance of rail, and get people enthused about its benefits.

We want to help people who feel less confident with train travel to give it a go, and get across the positive difference it makes switching even the occasional journey from car to public transport, for our planet, healthy living, and local communities.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “This Community Rail Week, we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone onto our network and connecting them to the people and places they love. We encourage people to give the train a try not only because it’s one of the greenest forms of transport, but also because it boosts local businesses and the wider economy.”

Richard Watts, Chair of Community Rail Lancashire & Secretary to the four Lancashire Community Rail Projects, said: “Community Rail Week provides us with the opportunity to showcase the excellent work staff and volunteers do at train stations in Lancashire as well as encouraging more people to switch from cars to trains for a greener, healthier, more social form of travel. 

We are delighted to bring together a vast array of events for the Community Rail week, from the video launching the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth project, the South Fylde Line leaflet launch, the Ansdell Heritage Trail, to ending the week on the Brierfield bike ride. 

There are many ways to get involved in Community Rail Lancashire and we are always looking for new volunteers. Why not, come and join us at one of our events, volunteer for your local friends group or share our stories. There is a wealth of information on our website: communityraillancashire.co.uk/ .”

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