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the community train CRP

(Southwest London’s community rail partnership)
Our story, and our plans for the future


The Community Train CRP is a new Community Rail Partnership for southwest London. We operate in the south of the Royal Borough of Kingston and the southwest of the London Borough of Merton

We currently cover nine stations served by South Western Railway trains from London Waterloo.  

Our host


The Community Train CRP has grown out of the experience and work of The Community Brain CIC, an experienced community engagement organisation. The Community Brain is the host organisation for The Community Train CRP, securing the services of a Community Rail Partnership Officer, and acting as the responsible financial organisation for the CRP.

Our story


The Community Brain has been in existence for over 15 years, operating in the south of the Royal Borough of Kingston, an area which sometimes gets overshadowed by a focus on Kingston in the north of the borough. 

We work to engage local people and believe in giving them ‘permission’ to be brilliant because everyone can be brilliant if they are given the support and encouragement they need. This permission enables people to create the futures they want to see for themselves and that of their communities, on their own terms.

Our experience in rail and community engagement


The Community Brain’s experience in rail started four years ago when we took on a vacant shop unit at Tolworth station, fully refurbishing it and turning it into a vibrant community hub we call “Baking Ideas”. The space includes a professionally-equipped community kitchen and meeting space and it is open to anyone who wants to use it.

Baking Ideas provides independent businesses and the wider community with new opportunities to learn and develop through workshops, skills exchanges, demonstrations, research and commercial activity. There is also a meeting space for up to 20 people.
That project brought us into closer contact with South Western Railway’s community rail manager and also Community Rail Network and led to us developing further ideas at Tolworth station in line with The Community Brain’s ethos.
We delivered the “Costa del Tol” in which we imported tonnes of sand to the station car park to create a temporary beach for local people to enjoy. 
In February 2021, we commissioned artist WeAreSkyHigh to create a new mural for the station celebrating the wildlife that can be found in the nearby nature reserve. We have also developed a set of walking trail leaflets that promote exploration of the local area on foot, starting and finishing at railway stations.
We have also developed a set of walking trail leaflets that promote exploration of the local area on foot, starting and finishing at railway stations.
In 2022 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of David Bowie performing for the first time as Ziggy Stardust at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth with a series of events branded under the “Ziggy Returns” banner. We organised a battle of the bands in Tolworth station car park, worked with SWR and Network Rail to stage the first ever silent disco at a major London terminus station, and promoted a special history train linking Waterloo to Tolworth.
Giving people the permission they don’t really need to be as brilliant as they already can be
– happy to decide for themselves how they want to participate.


We talk about permission because through our work we have found so many people that have so much to give, so many ideas and skills along with such a wealth of experience and passions that have been led to believe through a surround sound of negativity and pessimism, that they can’t affect change, they can’t create and influence the place they live and that creativity and play is from a time gone past.  We try and simply give them ‘permission’ to release their brilliance into their local community and celebrate it alongside other brilliant people.


Read more about how we’ve used community buildings to give people permission to share their brilliance:



Providing safe places for people to play with ideas – rediscovering the power of their imagination, creativity and potential to change the world for themselves and those around them.

We believe in the transformative power of allowing everyone to play and have fun.  We like to think that we create playgrounds for adults as well as children, so that adults can remember what it was like to be a child who believed they could do anything.  Bringing people together under the banner of doing something that's 'just fun' or 'silly' instead of earnestly forcing the issue that we're building stronger communities is our way to lay the foundations.  People don't feel forced, or preached to – they get involved because they sense they are going to enjoy themselves.   


Read more about the fun we’ve had building giant board games, inventing new sports such as Suburban Skiing and Bread Golf and curating festivals such as:


swanage fish fest.jpg
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Enabling people to command their own story rather than the one written for them – a real say in their own future, the wellbeing of the area and the environment where they live.


By using participation, permission and play we aim to provide people with the resolve, confidence and passion to pursue ambitious visions for their communities.   We aim to support communities filled with purpose that can influence change through involvement in policy setting, regeneration, asset ownership, social enterprise and economic development.


Read more about projects that have allowed communities to develop a shared sense of purpose:

'We don't stop playing games because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing games' 
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