Community Rail Awards 2020

Community Rail Cumbria celebrated four top awards in the 16th National Community Rail Awards held on Wednesday 9th December 2020.

The annual awards ceremony, organised by the Community Rail Network, celebrates the best projects and activities that have taken place in community rail over the last twelve months.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Transport, said: ““Once again this is an outstanding achievement for Community Rail Cumbria and the rail-based projects they are involved with across the county encouraging people to travel by train. My thanks to all involved particularly the volunteer groups who tend our stations and create welcoming, informative areas for residents and visitors alike. The support from the rail industry is also much appreciated as without their advice and funding the projects would not happen.”

Congratulations to Kath Warbrick from the Friends of Aspatria Station group for coming 1st, in competition with entrants from all over the country, for ‘Outstanding Volunteer Contribution’.  Kath’s can-do attitude, her leadership, and mentoring skills have inspired this small band of volunteers to transform the station into a bright cheerful area which the community can be proud of. Her passion and unstinting desire to help people and communities flourish, shine through her work and she has every intention of making Aspatria Cumbria’s best loved station!

1st place was also awarded to the Cumbrian Coast Line Community Rail Partnership for their innovative work in using the railway to make a difference to people from socially disadvantaged areas. A project called ‘Better Side of the Tracks’ gives school children and community groups the opportunity to travel by train and explore curriculum topics through their journeys. Millom Discovery Centre is at the heart of the project where pupils learn how rail has impacted on the area’s industrial and social past, as well as enjoying the Centre’s model railway exhibition and other attractions. Severely affected this year by closure due to Covid-19, the Centre is undergoing major refurbishment and staff are looking forward to welcoming visitors back in Spring 2021.

The Chairman of the Cumbrian Coast Line CRP, Eddie Pollock, said: “What a tremendous night for Community Rail! I was truly inspired by the efforts and achievements of all involved across the nation – what a steadfast selection of volunteers we have the privilege to work with and call friends. The proudest moments of the night for me were those recognising our projects here in Cumbria, acknowledging all the hard work and dedication along our lines – very well done to everyone involved and thank you. Our wonderful rail network in Cumbria is there to serve all our needs, whether for work, rest or play. If you have ideas on how we can make our county’s rail services better or help connect our communities to reduce isolation and improve mobility, please get in touch.”

Cumbria is renowned for its outstanding beauty and Furness Line Community Rail Partnership was delighted to receive 2nd place in the ‘Tourism and Heritage’ category for their work with Morecambe Bay Partnership. A series of vibrant easy to read wayfinding panels were created and installed at all 10 stations along the Furness line between Carnforth and Barrow. The panels are complemented by a handy pocket-sized window gazer guide allowing visitors to ‘spot’ their way along this most scenic of railway lines.

John Owen, Vice Chairman of the Furness Community Rail Partnership said: “The Panels and the Window Gazer guides are great enhancements to the experience of passengers travelling on the line and they have been very well received. Our collaboration with Morecambe Bay Partnership has resulted in a stunning set of new customer information.”

3rd place in the keenly contested category ‘Best Community Engagement Project’ was awarded to Furness Line Community Rail Partnership and Lakes Line Community Rail Partnership. The team worked together to deliver a skills swap event which brought together over 30 volunteers from 13 station groups to share experiences and best practice.  Supported by Northern and the Community Rail Network, the event renewed energy, passion and motivation for groups to take on new projects and activities.

Chairman of the Furness and the Lakes Lines Community Rail Partnerships, Tim Owen, said: “The many station adopters in Cumbria do wonderful work at our stations. The Skill Swap session held last November at Lower Holker Village Hall brought together our volunteers who not only learned from each other, but also had a rare opportunity to network with each other and make long lasting contacts. The feeling of camaraderie shone through and I am delighted that the hard work to stage this successful event has been recognised nationally.”

Congratulations also go to the Friends of Cark Station (silver) and the Friends of Kents Bank and Foreshore (gold) for being shortlisted in the ‘It’s Your Station’ category which celebrates the amazing work of station volunteers across the country.

For a full update on all the amazing work being carried out by Community Rail groups go to: or