Forums » Community Rail events

Top tips on running community rail events, small and big

    • 24 posts
    October 7, 2015 10:27 AM BST

    We held a workshop on "Running community rail events, small and big" at our Citizens' Rail conference. We all agreed that we'd like to post the ideas from the workshop on the Cafe so that they can be shared with a wider audience.

    If you attended, please add your top tips and remarks below. And if you didn't, it would be great to hear from you too - the more ideas the better. Thanks all! 

  • October 7, 2015 10:51 AM BST

    Top tips are:
    Plan your event well in advance and try and get messages out in a variety of forms at least a month in advance.

    Working with other local organisations to promote an event near a station can turn into a good way to promote getting there by train. This also helps in sharing of resources between the groups as well as volunteer time/input.

    Try and use your event to your advantage- don't just give something away without trying to get some buy in from those who are attending the event. Maybe work on a discounted ticket for future travel for those at the event and include a way of capturing data.

    Use social media to post pictures of the event afterwards and continue the 'free' publicity.

    • 19 posts
    October 17, 2015 8:08 PM BST

    The main focus of our CRP (TransWilts) so far has been to increase passenger numbers on our trains - on a line which had hardly any trains prior to December 2013, and so where people didn't even know there was a train or think of using rail.  

    We've found that lots of small events (or even non-events) to generate publicity / keep us in the press has been very effective, with the numbers attending and coming along to the event not the main measure for its success in many cases. Had the "take your dog by train" outing been a barking success, we would probably have had some very interesting scenes on the one coach 153 ... as it was, it generated a lack of takers on the day, but it reminded lots of people about the trains ... helped keep the railway in front of people.

    Perhaps I should add that where numbers are important - like when the 1 coach 153 was replaced by an 8 car 125  on 4 Saturdays and we were asked to help fill it, we used other tactics ... and got up to 350 people per trip.   Helped by the fact it was a through train to the seaside.  Passenger surveys on the train indicated about 50% due to rail industry / GWR publicity, and 50% from our social media targetting of people who wouldn't have even thought of a trip out by train for the day.  Lots of young families, pushchairs, etc, having a fabulous day out.  Ah - the power of Facebook!

  • October 19, 2015 9:45 AM BST

    We ran an event in Feb half term Graham which was a 'Take your Teddy for a trip on the train', thanks to GWR any child that brought a teddy for a trip on the train could travel free.

    Obvisouly you need to set some limits (max 4 children, must be accompanied by at least one adult for example) but when we did it for just one week on the Looe Valley Line we had full and standing trains. If we did it again it would be good to do some survey work to get some more information. It was a pretty cheap promotion to run though, few posters, some social media (facebook) and an advert in the local paper.

    • 19 posts
    October 19, 2015 10:11 AM BST

    Rebecca Catterall said:

    We ran an event in Feb half term Graham which was a 'Take your Teddy for a trip on the train', thanks to GWR any child that brought a teddy for a trip on the train could travel free.

    That looks like a good one - perhaps for next Easter.   We don't a pretty destination like Looe, but might be tempted to get people up to STEAM in Swindon, which is celebrating 175 years of GWR (Funny, I thought they took that name on 20th September!!)

    • 22 posts
    December 14, 2015 3:50 PM GMT

     We're getting really quite excited here in Mytholmroyd - not just over the festive season but because our plans for a grand start to our 10years of existence has been given an exciting kick-start for our celebrations.

    Michael Allen, one of our founder members and a keen local historian has uncovered a video filmed in 1991 by an ex resident Mr Jagger  showing the demolition  of the old buildings around the station and the re-structuring of the whole area. It is fascinating - historically and with loads of entertainment value.

    Michael, with his son Jeremy, and family Martin and Naomi have put in much hard work to make the video viewable, the addition of suitable words and music emphasises its underlying message;it clearly underpins the value that community input has on what was a vandalised and unloved facility. The choice of song 'Don't leave me like this' is so applicable to our disused station building.And backed-up by suitable 'before' and 'after' photographs.

    Plans are afoot to hold a 'World Premier' of the 'Jagger and Allen' video in the spring to launch our 10th Year Anniversary Celebrations.

    All will be welcome, and I know you'll enjoy it and join with me in thanking Michael, Jeremy, Martin, Naomi for all their hard and inspired work.