We’re reflecting on a busy and successful year of helping communities maximise the benefits of the High Peak and Hope Valley railway lines. As 2023 draws to a close, Community Rail Partnership Officers Helen and Catherine look back at highlights and hopes for next year.
“For me, community rail has a strong role to play in connecting people” says Helen. “One of my highlights from the Partnership’s work this year was facilitating groups such as Sheffield Open Kitchen Social Club and Walthew House to enjoy the beautiful countryside the Peak District has to offer. Some participants may not have travelled by train before, so it was rewarding to see how much their confidence to travel by train increased and how much everyone enjoyed their visits to the Peak District.”
“One of the highlights for me has been our Station Friends networking days” says Catherine. “It’s been a great opportunity for all our fantastic Station Friends volunteers to meet up and enjoy walking together – and of course, eat cake! Seeing the work of the Station Friends groups is always inspiring and one of the most uplifting aspects of community rail.”
It’s been a busy year for marketing and communications work. This year the Partnership has especially been promoting the Buxton line as a hidden gem, including a new suite of photography by Dark Peak Photography and a promotional film by Ryan Goff. Along with a new-look logo and refreshed website, the new promotional materials were launched on 22 September to mark Derbyshire Day. Since then, the Partnership’s social media following has increased by approximately 24%*. Keep an eye out for the Partnership’s new brand style.
Station improvements such as a new fence at Hope, Grindleford and soon Dove Holes have made stations more welcoming for passengers. The parking meter at Edale continues to be a good source of income for the Partnership which made the installation of the new fences possible.
“Next year, we’re looking forward to the completion of the new fence at Dove Holes station and sharing some new printed materials, such as the Buzzing Stations “bee safari” booklet and new walking guides around Glossop and Hadfield” adds Catherine.
“We’re continuing to work with South East Manchester Community Rail Partnership and Canal and Rivers Trust on the Steel Cotton Rail Trail, which is a huge project and will be very rewarding” says Helen. “To create and deliver a new walking route from Sheffield station to Manchester Piccadilly station via Hope Valley line stations is a big task, and an exciting project.”
“We would like to thank all our funders and partners for their ongoing support this year, including Community Rail Network, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Northern, Trans Pennine Express Cheshire East Council, Derbyshire County Council, High Peak Borough Council, and Peak District National Park. And of course huge thanks to all the Station Friends groups for their work and connecting with their communities”.