Full steam ahead for Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership
A Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership involving the village and town stations between Sevenoaks and Swanley has been launched with the aim or promoting tourism and the attractions on offer in the area.
These include places such as The Hop Shop and Mount Vineyard in Shoreham, Otford Palace, Lullingstone Roman Villa near Eynsford, The Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, country pubs and more. Encouraging visitors and residents to take the train will ease congestion on local roads and be more environmentally friendly says the Partnership.
On Sunday 1 September, a train full of guests, including local Mayors and several District and Town Parish Councillors, were treated to entertainment at the stations to celebrate this initiative. They started at Swanley and were taken by train along the Darent Valley line stopping at Eynsford, Shoreham and Otford. There was also entertainment on board, including a magician and live music. The guests left the train at Bat and Ball for refreshments. The grand finale was a vintage bus taking the guests to the final stop, Sevenoaks rail station.
Sevenoaks District Council Cabinet Member for People and Places, and Mayor of Swanley, Cllr Lesley Dyball who was at the event, said: “Making the Swanley to Sevenoaks line a Community Rail Partnership is the start of an exciting journey. I hope it will act as a platform to promote the local economy, ensure residents get the most from their local railway line while reducing congestion on the roads going into the towns and village.
“We hope the communities will get behind the Partnership and use this scenic train route more often to visit the wonderful landmarks our District has to offer.”
Govia Thameslink Railway’s Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Katherine Cox added: “We’re proud to be supporting the new Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership and hope local communities make the most of the opportunities to get more involved with their scenic railway line.”
The Darent Valley CRP is being supported by Sevenoaks District Council, Sevenoaks Town Council, Swanley Town Council, Eynsford Parish Council, Shoreham Parish Council, Otford Parish Council, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Govia Thameslink and Southeastern.
Community Rail Partnerships are a growing grassroots movement that encourage people to get the most from their railways. There are 60 of these Partnerships across the UK and their objectives are to promote wider use of train services to benefit social inclusion, the economy, community and wellbeing.