“Community rail is a growing grassroots movement made up of community rail partnerships and groups across Britain. They engage communities and help people get the most from their railways, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel, working alongside train operators to bring about improvements, and bringing stations back to life.” So states the home page of the Community Rail Network website.
Yes, this is Buses and not sister magazine Modern Railways, but just for a moment imagine if there was a Community Bus Network along similar lines which helped people get the most from their buses, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel, working alongside bus operators to bring about improvements and bringing bus stops and shelters back to life. Wouldn’t that make a huge difference to the standing of buses in local communities?
Sadly, such a network doesn’t exist and while community rail services thrive with active volunteers looking after stations and dedicated staff are employed to engage with communities, for example going into schools to explain the importance of rail and teach the basics such as how to read a timetable, bus networks particularly in rural areas face a continually uncertain future due to never-ending reductions in local authority funding.