New railway body will give Warwickshire passengers 'a greater voice'

The Heart of England Community Rail Partnership could help improve services all over Warwickshire, including at Kenilworth Station
The Heart of England Community Rail Partnership could help improve services all over Warwickshire, including at Kenilworth Station

A new partnership of railway groups formed last week will give passengers 'a greater voice' when it comes to campaigning for better services.

The “Heart of England Community Rail Partnership” will allow people to have more of a say about lines and services in their area. It covers the new Kenilworth Station, as well as Leamington, Warwick, Warwick Parkway, Hatton and Wootton Wawen.

It was formed after two other groups, the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG) and Solihull and Leamington Spa Rail Users

Association (SALRUA), applied to the Association of Community Rail Partnerships to have one formed.

Community Rail Partnerships, or CRPs, are made up of established rail passenger groups, as well as councils and other organisations. They are recognised by train operators like West Midlands Railway.

CRPs exist to promote the use of railways and individual stations, and to help towns and communities have a greater voice in future railway development, such as in forming new timetables.

Kenilworth resident Fraser Pithie, secretary of SLPG, said: "It’s now up to our local authorities, train operators and key stakeholders to step up to the plate and join with us to develop our local train services and support our local communities and their economies.

"The whole idea is to get people to look at their station as part of their community rather than as part of the railway."

He also encouraged Kenilworth residents to form their own rail group, which could then have a say on the Heart of England CRP if enough members joined.

It is also hoped the Heart of England CRP will help provide better connections to other parts of the country.

Martin Lambert, Chairman of SALRUA said: “The formation of a CRP is crucial to developing a progressive relationship between Birmingham and West Midlands with the communities to the south.

"We can now consider and promote improvements and services in a joined-up way and that has to be better for both communities and the railway.”