Seventeen stations in the former county of Cheshire have scooped awards at the 15th Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards Evening held on Tuesday 23 January 2018, and attended by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, the Lord Mayor of Chester, the Mayors of Cheshire East, Halton, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington, Wirral and eight other Mayors.
The Awards were presented before 170 guests at The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich by Jools Townsend Chief Executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), the membership body for around 60 community rail partnerships and over 1,000 station adoption groups across the UK.
Frodsham Station won the coveted top “Best Kept Station’ Award”. A number of new awards were presented this year including the Wirral Award won by Hoylake Station, the Diversity Award won by Goostrey Station, and the John Hobbs Award in memory of community rail and rail preservation activist John Hobbs from Woolston, who sadly passed away during the year. This award was won by Hattersley Station.
CBKS Chair Mark Barker said: “Tonight’s Awards Evening is a celebration and a thank you for all the volunteers and community groups who do so much to brighten up our stations in Cheshire. Its not just about the winners – whether or not you win an award tonight, this is a big thank you and a party for all of you and for those who support & encourage you in the rail industry, local leaders and local authorities. Your work and dedication is an act of kindness in a world where sometimes there seems to be so little. Tonight we have seen some truly excellent work from volunteers and staff at stations right across Cheshire from the Irish Sea to the Pennines. We hope you will all be encouraged to carry on.”
ACoRP chief exec Jools Townsend added: “It was a privilege to be part of this fantastic event, which celebrates the hard work and dedication of volunteers across Cheshire. These volunteers work tirelessly to ensure their stations are welcoming gateways and hubs for their communities, bringing pride and enjoyment, and helping local people come together. It was great seeing how much these awards mean to these groups and hearing more about their work improving stations and benefitting local people.”
Frodsham Station won the top ‘Cheshire Best Kept Station Award’ The first view of this station is a beautiful display of flower beds and an original building which is well cared for by its’ current owners. The floral display continues on the platforms and is vibrant and colourful. The flower beds are well tended and are a credit to everyone involved and to the town.
Alsager Station won the ‘Cheshire East Award’ for Excellent gardens stretching along both platforms with obvious community involvement, including schools and other local groups providing a pleasant waiting environment.
Delamere Station won the ‘Cheshire West & Chester Award’ for a well cared for building at a clean and tidy station in a splendid woodland setting. The cafe is well worth a visit.
In this category Neston Station was Highly Commended for a clean and simple station at the heart of its community has been improved by a good range of planters and stunning artwork in the subway.
Goostrey Station won the first ‘ Diversity Award’ for their work involving many sections of their community in the station: Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme students sweep and weed the platforms as they learn about volunteering, Beaver Scouts practice the Green Cross code as they cross a busy road to the station where they help with gardening. Cub Scouts have learned about the history of the station. Goostrey Primary school have a rolling exhibition of art displays in a once derelict waiting room restored for this purpose. The public record their comments including “ Made me smile at 6 am on a Monday morning” and “makes us proud of our school”.A local resident recovered an engraved keystone which had been removed from the roadbridge when the line was electrified 60 years ago and a farmer loaned equipment to lift the keystone to the place where it is now exhibited. Local businesses provided tubs and hanging baskets for floral displays.
Handforth Station won the ‘Youth Challenge Award’ for their work with a number of schools and youth groups including St.Benedict’s School for creating colourful stained glass effect Christmas windows, Wilmslow High School for changing art displays in the station’s ‘Art in a Box’ gallery, Rainbow Pre-school for designing a conservation themed flag, Handforth Scouts and Cubs for designing and building Hedgehog Boxes for the stations resident hedgehogs and the Friends’ ow children who built a scarecrow as part of the Wilmslow ScarecrowTrail as well as to keep birds away from newly sown seeds.
Hattersley Station won the first ‘John Hobbs Award’ to be presented for their efforts in getting local people involved in the station with well supported community events to publicise the station and its train service and to improve its image. In an area that is not obviously fertile ground for community rail, this group has been very effective.
In this category Highly Commendeds were given to Chelford Station Volunteers for their efforts over ten years in producing high quality displays to transform their station and to Friends of Reddish South Station for their efforts in campaigning to raise the profile of a station with only one train a week to lobby for improved services. The dedication of the volunteers at this little station is unbelievable.
Heaton Chapel Station won the ‘TfGM’ Award: The booking office and the steps down to the platform have a great collection of pictures and posters of local landmarks, which continues on the platform with a running man mural. There are also well cared for planted areas around the station.
Hoylake Station won the first ‘Wirral Award’ to be presented: An attractive art-deco building with well cared for planters on the platforms and the station forecourt which include herbs that passengers can pick and take away.
Marple Station won the Network Rail Award for Art Projects: Previously responsible for creating an iconic Tiger Mural, this station has added to its artistic repertoire by creating a series of posters showing local landmarks, a display of poster sized Agatha Christie book covers to celebrate her most famous character sharing this community’s name, a stunning rainbow coloured swarm of butterflies sweeping across the waiting room wall and a Poem Corner
Nantwich Station won the ‘Best Kept Gardens Award’: The whole station is covered with excellent flower beds and planters, making it a more welcome place to be.
Poynton Station won the ‘Best Staffed Station Award’ : The staffed booking office is clean and tidy with a display of old station name boards and passengers are dealt with by a pleasant and knowledgeable member of staff. A great collection of railway memorabilia, smart gardens and a pleasant waiting room add to the period atmosphere.
In this category Northwich Station was Highly Commended: The station has been much improved by a partnership effort by volunteers from Northern, Network Rail and local people to tidy up the platforms and station area.
Romiley Station won the ‘Most Improved Station’: A tidy station with some neat planters and it now has a photographic exhibition in the booking office provided by a local camera club.
In this category Wilmslow Station was highly commended as a busy functional station which is made more pleasing with some very good planters all around the site.
Rose Hill Station won the ‘In Bloom Award’: This station has very pleasing flower beds, on the forecourt and the steps up to the main road as well as on the platform. These make the station very welcoming. The involvement of local people is acknowledged by a list on one of the notice boards.
Stalybridge Station won the ‘TravelWatch NorthWest Award’ for Large Stations: A clean and tidy station with very pleasant and helpful staff. The booking office is light and welcoming and there is a good quality mural along the subway. On the platforms, there is no litter and the buildings appear well cared for. Finally, there is the superb period buffet bar which is the best place to wait for a train.
Wallasey Grove Road Station won the ‘Best Newcomer Award’: A well cared for station with a good station building and frontage. This station is now getting some local attention which will be good for the area and the passengers.
Warrington Bank Quay Station won the ‘Halton & Warrington Award’ : This is a busy, well cared for station with comfortable waiting areas. There is a book swap area and a notice board showing local community involvement.
Winsford Station won the ‘ACoRP Community Award’: Engaging with the community to develop and deliver this project brought about a strong and enduring relationship, goodwill for the station and sustainability through a planned programme of art projects. The station now has a brighter, more welcoming waiting area promoting Winsford to visitors and instilling local pride.