Rail Journey to Recovery

The Rail Journey to Recovery project focuses on the rehabilitation of people who have suffered from substance and alcohol abuse. Through the integration of rail-based activity and rehabilitation programmes, the scheme aims to improve participant self-esteem, social interaction and confidence.

Company – Turning Point and Country Rail Cumbria

What’s the issue being addressed? 

Individuals who have entered rehabilitation through the justice system, NHS and through family or self-referrals are encouraged to follow structured programmes to help their mental and physical health. The Rail Journey to Recovery programme is a project between Community Rail Cumbria and Turning Point, a national charity specialising in the rehabilitation of people with substance and alcohol abuse issues. The project aims to further remove the stigma behind substance misuse and ensure participants enjoy being part of the community once more. 

How was this solved? 

The three to four-month long rehabilitation process involves participants visiting Green Road station (Cumbria) once a week where they perform tasks such as general maintenance at stations, landscaping, recording and encouraging wildlife, gardening and shelter painting. Renovation and maintenance of these stations is appreciated by residents who provide refreshments to the participants, providing the added opportunity of positive social interactions. Participants can learn new skills or rediscover skills they previously possessed which have laid dormant for years. The scheme also provides a tranquil environment which allows participants to focus on their mental and physical health without distractions. 

What were the outcomes?

This project has led to:

  • Invaluable effort and maintenance at remote station locations. Maintenance includes restoration of prize-winning gardens, refurbishment of the shelter and contributing to a long-term development plan to renovate the redundant station buildings. 
  • Creation of a dedicated station friends’ group at Green Road station. 
  • Improvement of participant mental and physical health. Participants have also set future goals and targets which they want to achieve and move forward with. 
  • Potential for new passenger waiting facilities and nature room. 

Such is the positive impact of the project that further developments are already being planned. Links are being forged with rail industry partners so that project participants are offered voluntary opportunities with a possible view to future paid employment.


Having a positive social impact, Being an employer of choice, Reducing our environmental impact. 

Asset/ operations


Organisation type


Written by Sachin Kandage

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