Ellesmere Port was named the most enhanced station building at the Association of Community Rail Partnerships awards in Torquay last week, coming second in the ‘innovation category’. Orrell Park was in third place in the best station garden category, the second time in a fortnight that this station has scooped an award.
These awards celebrate the dedication and hard work of volunteers and staff in the industry.
Ellesmere Port station, a grade II listed building, which opened in 1863, is in a deprived area and has been vandalised on several occasions over recent years. Last year, it was refurbished, thanks to NSIP funding and contributions from Merseytravel, Cheshire West & Chester Council and the Railway Heritage. Improvements were made and original features were restored. Rooms that were previously not in use are now being used by community groups.
Said Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership officer, ‘Creative partnership involving volunteers, Merseyrail and other local organisations really makes a huge difference at our stations and these awards recognise that innovative way of working.’
Much of the work at Orrell Park station has been carried out by the Orrell Park Regeneration Group, formed in 1988. Together with community partners, they have cleaned up the areas in and around the station and planted a variety of flowers and plants. In 2006, this group adopted the station.
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, commented: ‘Our network is greatly enhanced by the valiant efforts and selflessness of volunteers, who make stations up and down the lines more attractive, welcoming environments for passengers. We are thrilled to see people’s labours recognised in this way.’
The Association of Community Rail Partnerships is a federation of more than 50 community rail partnerships and rail promotion groups.