The Heritage Railway Association (HRA) wants travellers to enjoy historic and scenic rail routes accessible via the main line.
They are backing a campaign called ‘Days Out by Rail’, which hopes to educate and inspire day trippers to take in one of 32 heritage railway lines linked to the national network.
This eight-week initiative is being led by Community Rail Network’s tourism arm, Scenic Rail Britain. It wants to draw attention to one of the greenest ways to travel – especially combined with walking, cycling and buses.
HRA CEO, Steve Oates said: “Days Out by Rail may sound familiar for those of us of a certain age who remember as a child setting off for a day out on the train with the family Rover Ticket or Away Day special on the Intercity 125. Updating the idea of Days Out by Rail not only encourages travel but, this time, sustainable travel. What better way to enjoy the UK rail network through the ages in one day, travelling from a local station on the national network to link up with a heritage line?
“It is definitely much more relaxing that being behind the wheel in a traffic jam on your way to a tourist attraction.
“Taking a train to one of the Heritage lines is not only double the railway fun but a more sustainable way to visit one of our member railways. While heritage steam railways still use a very small amount of coal, they run through some of the greenest tourist miles in the country, keeping far more polluting cars off rural roads, producing a very small 0.023% of total UK carbon emissions although we continue to be very focussed on finding ways to reduce this further.”
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network said: “Many people don’t realise the scope for seeing Britain’s stunning landscapes, pretty villages and historic sites by rail. Using a community rail line to visit a heritage railway makes for a delightful day out for all the family.
“Our Days Out by Rail campaign is all about drawing on the local knowledge and insights from the community rail movement, and sharing that with families, day-trippers and holidaymakers. We’re proud to work with the Heritage Railway Association to help inspire more people to explore our beautiful countryside and fascinating heritage through green and scenic journeys by rail.”