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This week, GCRP has joined in with community groups and volunteers across Britain for this year's Community Rail Week to encourage people who rarely or never get on a train or bus, to consider the benefits of making at least the occasional switch to greener, healthier, more social forms of travel.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said:

“Community Rail Week is all about connecting local communities with their railways and encouraging and enabling more people to travel sustainably by train.”

Community events and activities are taking place nationwide to raise awareness about local railways, encouraging more widespread use of rail (combined with buses, walking and cycling), building travel confidence among those who are less familiar, and encouraging the switch from car to train for a healthier, more sustainable future.

At GCRP, we have run two events to encourage people to give the train a try as part of our Let’s Talk Travel programme encouraging people to use integrated travel to improve their access to work, training, and placements across Gloucestershire.

One group went from Stroud to Gloucester to go to a Job Fair, while the second group went from Gloucester to Cheltenham. Both journeys allowed time to discuss concerns about travel and how these can be overcome as well as experiencing the benefits of using the train.

Anna Reeves, consultant with Let’s Talk Travel, said:

“These journeys allowed an interactive, practical approach to travel by train and time to pass on hints and tips about journey planning as well as helping build travel confidence in a way not possible in a classroom-based session.”

Reflecting on the journeys, people commented:

  • “I didn’t realise how simple it was to use the ticket machine or to get through the barriers, but it was easy.”

  • “I worried about the gap between the train and the platform, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

  • “I learnt loads about using customer assist, checking which seats are free, checking the display for times.”

There was a commitment from some of the people to try travel by bus or train again. One group intends to plan another day out together, while another person now has the confidence to try the bus.

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