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North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) is to launch a new project at Alsager station on Friday 22 May.
Called ‘station twinning’ the project aims to join North Staffordshire Line station volunteers with volunteers from other areas of the rail network to share ideas through reciprocal visits to improve their stations for passengers.
Alsager station, on East Midlands Trains Crewe-Derby route, and Rose Hill station, Marple, which provides services to Manchester Piccadilly, were both formerly stations on the old North Staffordshire Railway. The stations’ volunteer teams were also fellow winners at the annual Cheshire Best Kept Stations awards, so had an ideal foundation to be the first station ‘twins’.
Alsager station has been adopted by local volunteers since 2007. During this time, the 9-strong team has transformed the station gardens and helped create a welcoming station, appreciated by passengers, involving local schools and community groups on the way and winning 8 awards. In 2014, Alsager won the ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) award in recognition of outstanding partnership working and community involvement.
The Friends of Rose Hill station was established in 2009 and has a membership of 30. In 2014, the station won the ‘Old Cheshire’ award.
As at Alsager, Rose Hill Friends have worked alongside local schools to improve their station and creatively develop their station gardens, most recently clearing a whole embankment adjacent to the station platforms for replanting.
Craig Wright of the Friends of Rose Hill Station said: "As fellow stations of the old North Staffordshire Railway and fellow prize winners at the Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards it’s a great idea to twin up with Alsager station.
“Teaming up with the Alsager volunteers and North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership will help us to share ideas about improving our stations for the benefit of both passengers and our local communities. We look forward to welcoming the Alsager team to Rose Hill very soon for a reciprocal 'twinning' visit.”
Faye Lambert of NSCRP said: “Through station twinning we hope to further support the excellent work of station volunteers and share station improvement ideas from across the rail network.”