The UK leads the world in the presence and activity of community rail and this social movement is now over two decades old, having grown incrementally powered by volunteer support, public sector backing and enlightened rail industry investment. Community Rail is acknowledged to be powering a quiet regeneration revolution in the UK and in the West Midlands we aspire to introduce community rail to many of our urban and rural stations and lines.
In recent years it has been increasingly recognised that the growth and success of Community Rail can be core to the delivery of business plans for train operating companies, making serious contributions to increasing rail usage as well as to the wider aims for economic and social regeneration and inclusion.
The Heart of England partnership was founded in 2019 and is formed of 11 principal partners and funders, who are: Coventry City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, West Midlands Railways, Vintage Trains and West Midlands Rail Executive. Network Rail also supports the work of the Partnership.
The Partnership covers 36 stations over 3 train lines operating between Birmingham, Coventry, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-Upon-Avon.