South West Wales Community Rail Partnership Event
Friday 24TH January 2020
Swansea Train Station
On Friday 24th January, 4theRegion held a launch event for the community rail partnership. This is our write up of the event, intended to capture the key discussion points and themes.
In partnership with Transport for Wales (Rail), 4theRegion is now host to a new Community Rail Partnership for South West Wales, covering the four counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
Held at the Grand Hotel opposite Swansea Train Station, the Community Rail Partnership launch event brought together people and organisations from across the region, to discuss the potential to make change happen for the region, by working together under the banner of the new CRP.
The Community Rail Partnership seeks to connect a team of organisations, businesses and individuals who want to see the region flourish in alignment with the 7 well-being goals outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. By maximising the beneficial impact of the rail networks and existing services, we can aim to generate more footfall, spending and activity within the heart of communities across the South West Wales region.
The new CRP will aim to engage with communities, businesses and organisations along the South West Wales rail network in order to champion all of the unique identities of each location, create a shared sense of place and facilitate collaboration towards achieving greater social, environmental and economic value in the region.
- The creation of a South West Wales Community Rail Partnership a benefit to local communities – The CRP can be utilised as a voice to improve transportation in the region, providing a beneficial effect on local economy.
- Cycling, leisure and transport – Better joined up working between different modes of transport. Opportunities for better cycle storage on Transport for Wales. Promotion of accessible information regarding cycle routes to encourage leisure and tourism in the region.
- Local economical and environmental benefits – Using sustainable transport to reduce the carbon footprint of individuals in the region. How would we encourage commuters to leave their car and use the rail network?
- Disused spaces along rail networks could be used as hubs for business and social enterprise. Transport for Wales want to see train stations developed into hubs for business and community use. Vacant station buildings could be adopted and repurposed. Train stations could play a bigger role in local communities, bringing people together, addressing social exclusion and community cohesion.
- Inter-connectivity and identity – Aim to bridge the four regions of South West Wales. Celebrating the unique identities of local destinations would benefit a wide range of businesses and individuals.
- Timetables don’t always align to local events – Improved travel synchronisation with major events such as sport and festivals could be beneficial to the regional economy.
- Community transport connectivity – Public transport services require improved connectivity and delivery of travel information in order to encourage commuting via public transport.
- Accessibility – Promotion of South West Wales as a region. People may not be aware of what’s on their doorstep due to lack of communication and distribution of information.
- Transport, travel and the environment – Key challenges in a world needed to reduce carbon emissions whilst promoting access to the natural environment. How can we encourage people to consider public transport as the first option?
- Frustrations over limited / unreliable services. While the CRP can build a business case for continued investment in more trains and services, the purpose of the new CRP for South West Wales is not just to talk about the trains, but to leverage the benefit of the services we already have, to connect the regional offer and encourage more joint working.
During this first conversation about the new Community Rail Partnership, we heard from diverse organisations and individuals, about their priorities and ideas. 4theRegion has subsequently drafted a document outlining the purpose of the new CRP, its proposed structure, and a job description for the new Community Rail Officer. These documents are will be published during March 2020, but you can review the drafts at the following link. Please get in touch with your thoughts and with any questions!