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Case study: Heart of Wales Line Enterprise Network

Rural communities are at risk of social and economic exclusion as larger towns and cities draw people away. Rail connects these communities and enhancing that connection provides development opportunities.

Company - Heart of Wales CRP/Arriva Trains Wales

How was this solved?

The Heart of Wales Line Enterprise Network is a social enterprise initiated by the Heart of Wales Line Forum, the Community Rail Partnership for the route, to bring people in rural communities together to develop business opportunities and connect with the travelling public.

The route is a 121 mile rail corridor between Swansea and Shrewsbury, travelling through some of the most scenic parts of Wales. This brings tourism opportunities into the area and is also a popular route simply for the journey. The challenge is to encourage passengers to stop off at the towns along the way where they can contribute to the local economy.

One of the earliest successes has been the installation of a station hub at Llandeilo Station, a small 6m x 2.9m transportable building made from sustainably sourced Welsh wood with a covered aisle and a DDA compliant toilet. The design was inspired by railway heritage. The building is well insulated, robust, secure and fully accessible and provides a space for community and local business use.

Local people were consulted through an online questionnaire, which received 75 responses, and a public meeting to present the findings and discuss next steps. Ideas for use of the hub include as a café, a sale and distribution point for local produce and a transport hub to link to tourist destinations in the area. People were also keen to support better use of the environment around the station with information for walkers and cyclists.

The local community uses include a ‘rural concierge’ project to welcome visitors and provide a meeting point for trips and activities.

The central idea is that this much loved railway can be thought of as an attractive ‘string of pearls’ with the intrinsic ability to link and support events and activity in the villages and towns that it serves. The network will function as catalyst and coordinator, with objectives to bring social, economic and environmental benefits.- Paul Salveson – Group Adviser, Society and Communities, Arriva UK Trains

What were the outcomes?

The Heart of Wales Line Enterprise Network has now become a company and activities will be taken over by the Heart of Wales Line Development Company, strengthening the organisation and opening up further funding opportunities.

Principles

Customer-driven, Putting rail in reach of people, Providing an end to end journey, Having a positive social impact, Supporting the economy, Optimising the railway

Asset / operations

Operations

Organisation type

TOC

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