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A platform garden at Blythe Bridge station on the North Staffordshire Line (Crewe-Stoke-Derby route) is now in full bloom thanks to a new station adoption project.
A group of Blythe Bridge residents, led by Forsbrook Parish Council, recently joined with North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership to help improve stations on the line and formally adopted Blythe Bridge.
As a first major task, the group took on the clearing and planting of the large garden bed on Platform 1. Following weeks of hard work, they’ve completely transformed the garden from a weed-grown plot to a colourful, eye-catching display, with over 100 easy maintenance shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Adoption group member and expert gardener Graham Stanier, who with wife Norah, a Parish Councillor, selected the plants and led the gardening project, said, “We’ve really enjoyed improving the station for passengers and the community. We’ll be maintaining the garden to ensure it continues to look good throughout the seasons.”
As well as gardening projects such as this, members of the adoption group also regularly check the station and report faults such as graffiti back to train operator East Midlands Trains for action.
Gill Burton, Chairman of Forsbrook Parish Council, which donated £500 towards the cost of the gardening project, said, “Group members have created a lovely station garden reflecting the pride we have in our Parish. We’re looking forward to working with North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership and East Midlands Trains to develop further improvement projects for Blythe Bridge station.”
Additional funding for the garden was provided by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), which donated a £250 grant through its Small Schemes Fund.Partnership Officer, Faye Lambert, said, “In 2006/2007 just over 37,000 passengers used Blythe Bridge station, an increase of 18.5 per cent on the previous year. Adoption projects such as this, which involve the community in station enhancements, are proven to increase passenger numbers and so we hope to be able to continue this positive trend for the future.”
Emma Knight, Head of External Communications for East Midlands Trains, who manage Blythe Bridge station, said, “We’re delighted with the improvements made at Blythe Bridge station and would like to thank the volunteers for all their hard work. At East Midlands Trains, we are keen to get local communities involved with their local railway station and this is a perfect example of communities working together to bring about improvements and encourage more people to use the railway.”