'Brilliant example' in Lowestoft claims national railway award

Ella Legrice at the Lowestoft signal box - a photo which is one of 10 finalists in the National Comm

Ella Legrice at the Lowestoft signal box - a photo which is one of 10 finalists in the National Community Rail Awards. PHOTO: Lowestoft Central Project. - Credit: Archant

An inspiring railway project which helped attract thousands of visitors to Lowestoft has been recognised with a national award.

The project claimed the Tourism and Heritage award at the national Community Rail Awards after offering people a rare opportunity to visit Lowestoft's signal box and see it in full operation before its closure in February after more than 100 years in action.

Held in partnership with the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership, the Lowestoft Central Project, and Network Rail, the sell-out tours formed a focal point of the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival in September 2019, which attracted 15,000 visitors to the town - boosting tourism and the local economy.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: "Our congratulations go to all the team at Lowestoft.

"They engaged local people and visitors by giving them a glimpse of railway history in action, while promoting the role rail plays now and into the future, creating more sustainable and connected communities.

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"The Community Rail Awards recognise the achievements and passion of community rail volunteers, groups and partnerships across Britain.

"Their tireless efforts connect local people with their railways and stations, bring communities together, and enable more people to access sustainable travel.

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"This contributes to greener, healthier, happier communities and promotes wider access to opportunity, which couldn't be more important right now.

"We will be holding up this brilliant example from Lowestoft nationally, to inspire more communities to engage with, and take advantage of, their railways."

The group also raised awareness of a major £60 million modernisation scheme for the Wherry Lines, highlighting the major role played by the local rail network in community development and promoting sustainable travel by rail.

The efforts of volunteer adopters at Reedham Station, on the Greater Anglia Wherry Lines between Great Yarmouth and Norwich, was also recognised - winning first place in the 'It's Your Station' Silver Award category.

The award recognised the group's dedication to improve floral displays, as well as community engagement work, including tea parties, charity events and a popular carol concert.

Greater Anglia, in partnership with the Bittern Lines, East Suffolk Lines, Essex and South Suffolk, Hereward and Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnerships also won the Best Marketing or Communications Campaign for the collaborative 'Room with a View' campaign encouraging sustainable journeys.

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