Taking the Railway to the Community in the Tyne Valley.

The last few weeks have been very busy for the volunteers of the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, as they promote the Tyne Valley Railway and the operator Northern.

Last month the TVCRP took part in Community Rail in the City at Glasgow Central Station. Our Tourism Intern, Matthew Barrett, constructed a model of the Roman Wall which was painted by the Platform Painters of Haltwhistle. As the Tyne Valley Railway runs through Hadrian's Wall Country, it seemed such a waste to use this wall for only one event, it has been adapted and has now been used on several occasions to promote the railway and several Hadrian's Wall attractions.

As part of the franchise agreement Northern and the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership have appointed Station Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who will look after their stations and make them look attractive for the passengers. Ambassadors have recently been appointed at Blaydon and already have begun to make their presence felt.

Following a very successful Christmas Late Night Shopping in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, it was decided to repeat this for Easter on Maundy Thursday, when all the local shops stayed open until 8pm.

Community Rail in the City Glasgow 1As part of Community Rail in the City, the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership took its stand to Glasgow Central Station, the busiest station in Scotland. The purpose of the event was to promote the Tyne Valley line in Northumberland and Cumbria and to make Glasgow travellers aware of the fantastic scenery along the Roman Wall, which is well within reach by train for a stress free day out.

Alex Bray (Cross Country) Kul Bassin(DfT) Dr /gareth Evans (Intu & TVCRP) with Herbert the MetrognomeThe day began at the MetroCentre Station where a Wall Display to promote the line was unveiled. The Metro Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and has its own railway station on the Tyne Valley line. The Wall Display filled a blank wall on the bridge linking the Centre with the railway station and coach park.Space on the wall at the Metro Centre was arranged by Dr. Gareth Evans, Intu'sTransport Manager, who is also a member of the Board of the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP).

The display was the work of our Marketing Director, Anne Ridley and designer Rachel Griffiths of Image Rail a company based locally on the Tyne Valley line at Naworth. The display shows the route of the line from Newcastle to Carlisle and the attractions in the various town and villages en-route.

Guests were entertained by Herbert one of the Metrognomes who kept everyone amused with his antics and hugs. He greeted everyone from the trains and greatly added to the occasion.Herbert meets members of TVCRP

The ribbon was cut by Gareth Evans from Intu Metro Centre. “It is great to work with a partnership to help promote the Tyne Valley Line. The display brightens up an area on the Intu Metro Centre bridge link. We are looking forward to the additional rail services to Carlisle and Hexham beginning in May”.

Kul Bassi Community Rail Team Leader, from the DfT was “Delighted to be at the heart of the TVCRP and to hear how they bring life into the new Community Rail Strategy. I am highly impressed with the volunteers delivering a work plan”.

In the afternoon the guests took the train to Haltwhistle which is the Education Centre for the TVCRP. Here they inspected the work of Lanercost Primary School who recently visited the Centre to learn about safety on the railway.

There was also an opportunity to inspect the newly created Roman Wall, which is in the process of being made. This is a prop which is to be taken to Community Rail in the City which is to be held in Glasgow Central Station on 15th May. The aim is to encourage the Glasgow commuters to visit the attractions of the Tyne Valley and the nearby Roman Wall, arriving by train of course!!

Alex Bray, Stakeholder Liaison Manager with Cross Country summed the day, “It is fantastic to see some of the innovative partnerships coming together such as the Into Metro Centre and the TVCRP. Lots of people are passing through and getting a flavour of the line. It was nice to see the Roman Wall making its way to Glasgow!”.