There are a growing number of Community Rail Partnerships across the country, acting as a bridge between local communities and the railway industry to produce a better train service for the community.
The Marston Vale line (from Bedford to Bletchley) was designated as a Community Rail Service in November 2006, and the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (MVCRP) is led by BRCC – other partners include London Midland, Central Bedfordshire Council, Milton Keynes Council, Bedford Borough Council, the Bedford to Bletchley Railway Users Association, Network Rail, East West Rail Consortium, the Forest of Marston Vale and the Bedfordshire Association of Town and Parish Councils.
BRCC now also hosts the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership in Hertfordshire, covering a small rural branch line between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction stations – one of the first CRPs in the country to be set up.
The national umbrella organisation for Community Rail Partnerships is the Association of Community Rail Partnerships or ACoRP. This federation of over 50 community rail partnerships and rail promotion groups helps to ensure that the important role of local rail in communities is fully recognised.
One of the MVCRP initiatives has been to renovate the Station Buildings at Ridgmont on the Bedford to Bletchley Railway line. Ridgmont Station is now home to Ridgmont Heritage Centre and Tea Rooms, and has a gift shop and Tourist Information point as well as three offices to rent by local businesses. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities at Ridgmont, such as helping with further renovation and maintenance or working in the volunteer run gift shop and Heritage Centre.
Contact Stephen Sleight on (01234) 832645