A TRANSPORT group in Huddersfield is urging the Government to take a tip from the Germans on how to run rural railways.
The Association of Community-Rail Partnerships called for community- based operators to be handed the job of managing and operating rural lines, as in Germany.
Association officials said the railway industry and the Government should unite behind the new vision for a top- quality rural rail network.
It made its comments in response to two consultation documents from the Strategic Rail Authority and the Commons Transport Committee.
The association, based at the Brian Jackson Centre in New North Parade, said the time was right to move ahead with a radical approach to the rural network.
It recently organised a visit to rural lines in eastern Germany, which are being brought back to life by local management working in partnership with local and regional authorities.
Dr Paul Salveson, the association's general manager, said: "We stress to the Commons Transport Committee the importance of rural railways to the local economy. They help sustain tourism and get people to work in the towns.
"We'd love them to see some of the top-quality rural lines in Germany at first hand."