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Promoting the Avocet Line

celia-avocet

Celia Minoughan, Project Officer at the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, is working on a promotion project for the Avocet Line (Exeter-Exmouth) in partnership with the Avocet Line Rail Users Group (ALRUG). Since mid-November Celia has promoted leisure travel on the Avocet Line during off-peak hours, for Christmas shopping and events, walking from the railway and dining by train.

‘Extra Sunday trains for Christmas shoppers’ was the first press promotion in November, resulting in articles published in the Exmouth Journal and Express and Echo, on the newspaper websites and lots of social media coverage, including the Exeter Daily (read article).

The Avocet Ambles 2 promotion is now in full swing with a press release sent out at the beginning of December with a photo of Celia taken with the East Devon Walk this Way Group at Exmouth Station. Copies of the leaflet have now been distributed to stations, libraries and tourist information centres.

Social media has got the ‘Extra Sunday Trains for Christmas shoppers’ message out to thousands of Twitter and Facebook users. On 17th November Celia set up @AvocetLine, the first social media account that the Partnership has dedicated to just one line. By mid-December, 170 followers shared Celia’s tweets with 330,000 tweeters in Exeter, Exmouth and South Devon. The Partnership’s Great Scenic Railways Facebook page is adding to ALRUG activity on Facebook and a good value Facebook advert reached nearly 6,000 people. ALRUG members on Facebook and Twitter are invited to follow and share our messages.

Celia is encouraging the next generation rail travellers with an offer of taster trips on the Avocet Line to 10 schools close to the Avocet Line. St Sidwell’s Primary School are set to help bring summer colour to St James’ Park station by making and planting wildflower seed ‘bombs’ in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust.

From January to March Celia will promote dining by train and is signing up restaurants and gastro pubs to give special offers to diners who get there by train. Oddfellows at Exeter and Exmouth are the first to sign up, offering a 10% discount.

Celia also needs the help of ALRUG members to tell her about local newsletters and websites she can approach to include our features. Celia has started with articles in the newsletters of the Exmouth Community Association, Newcourt Community Centre and the Exe Estuary Partnership. Any ideas are welcome, please contact Celia at celia.minoughan@plymouth.ac.uk.