Working with businesses

You can get businesses involved in a whole range of ways. From sponsoring flower tubs to holding weekly stalls to setting up permanent shops, find the level of involvement that suits both the station and the company.

The business will benefit from greater exposure and a regular flow of potential customers. The station will become a livelier, more interesting place – helping to boost customer satisfaction and strengthen the station’s position as a hub within the community.

A long-term business presence at the station can also result in the company’s staff becoming unofficial ambassadors for the railway – answering passengers’ queries and making the travel experience friendly and enjoyable.


Rediscover the Region project
Tokyo (Japan)

The East Japan Railway Company has opened stores at urban stations such as Ueno in Tokyo selling local produce and delicacies from rural areas.

The stores add interest to the urban stations, as well as raising the profile of outlying areas and promoting travel to these regions.

Following the success of the Ueno store, a second shop was opened in 2014 at Akihabara station, also in Tokyo. Read more.

Kiera’s coffee trike
Bristol (UK)

In 2014, Severnside Community Rail Partnership welcomed Kiera Cheung and her Coffee Trike – a custom built, self-contained coffee stall – to Redland station in Bristol. Kiera serves high quality coffee and organic snacks, attracting customers to the station who were not previously rail users.

Severnside supports Kiera with her vision for community horticultural activity at the station, and in 2015 plans to install new planters to be used by the local community for growing edibles. Visit the Severnside CRP website to get in touch and find out more.

Preston station market
Preston (UK)

Preston station, managed by Virgin Trains, has introduced a ‘station market’ for local businesses offering bread, pies and pasties, olives, soap and crafts. The stall holders are not charged – Virgin recognises that they bring a positive sense of community to this large, busy station. And there is the space to do it without anyone getting in the way.

There is scope to do similar things at many more larger stations, says UK community rail expert Paul Salveson in this blog post.

Hear from people who’ve done it

Paul Salveson originated and developed the ‘community rail’ approach and the growth of the sector within the UK, and has been directly involved in the establishment of over twenty Community Rail Partnerships, leading to increased use of local and regional railways and additional investment.

In this video, he discusses the ways you can get businesses involved, and the benefits of doing so.

How to make it happen



Do you have an under-used area of your station? It could become a prime spot for a local business. Visit our New uses for station buildings page for inspirational examples and our top 10 tips, including on how to select the right businesses to work with.



A simple way to get businesses involved is as sponsors. For example, encourage local firms to sponsor flower tubs. It provides good local awareness (and evidence of Corporate Social Responsibility) for the business, and helps you to fund your projects.



Thinking on a larger scale? Ideally you may need a specific person who is committed to making it happen. This could be a dedicated funded role, or could become part of an existing position, such as that of a local government Travel Officer.


Links to useful materials around the web:


If you have your own case studies, resources or ideas to contribute to this (or any other) section of the toolkit, please get in touch.

Email our lead partner DCRP or call +44 1752 584777 to speak to our lead partner, the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.

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