A community rail partnership in England is a partnership between Network Rail, the train operating company, Northern for the Penistone Line, local councils, and organisations such as stakeholders and rail user groups.

Penistone Line Partnership is a voluntary organisation, part of the Community Rail Network supported by the DFT (Department for Transport). Partnerships work to improve their community lines, stations, and services.

Around 3,200 volunteers contribute about 250,000 hours of work each year to our national community rail network, bringing in approximately £3.4 million extra value to the rail industry.

Working alongside our partners our aim is to:

  • Engage with local communities to improve the stations
  • Increase passenger numbers
  • Help economic & social development
  • Promote diversity, equality and inclusion
  • Encourage a sustainable travel option for all.

Community Rail is a grassroots movement with started in the late 1990s to address the decline of branch lines.

It consisted of like-minded groups who recognised the need to increase revenue, reduce costs, increase community involvement, and support social and economic development.

The movement has grown significantly and is now overseen by the Community Rail Network (CRN) who manages over 70 Community Rail Partnerships and over 1,000 station adoption groups and offers support and training, as well as organizing, the annual Community Rail Awards. The CRN also administer the Community Rail Development Fund and ensure accreditation of partnerships is completed on behalf of the Department for Transport.

CRN also manages and promotes the Scenic Rail Britain website which showcases all of Britain’s stunning community railways.

The Penistone Line received accreditation in 2020; this means that the partnership has met the Department for Transport’s standards for appropriate operation. The accreditation system for community rail partnerships in England and Wales commenced in April 2019.