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North Staffordshire Community Rail partnership is celebrating its first station ‘adoption’ project for the North Staffordshire Line, which serves stations from Crewe-Stoke to Derby.
A group of local residents, lead by Forsbrook Parish Council, have adopted Blythe Bridge station. The group will work on different projects to help improve the station for passengers and the local community.
Their first job is to restore the garden bed on Platform 2, clearing weeds and replanting with easy maintenance shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Gill Burton, Chairman of Forsbrook Parish Council said: “Blythe Bridge is the only railway station in the Staffordshire Moorlands. We have always endeavoured to keep it looking its best to reflect the local pride we have in our parish. We already pick litter in the car park and tend the flower bed there. By officially adopting the station we will be able to extend the scope of the work we do and further improve the station.”
As well as gardening projects, members of the adoption group will also regularly check the station and report faults such as graffiti back to train operator East Midlands Trains for action.
Partnership Officer, Faye Lambert, said: “A major part of our work is involving the local community in station enhancements that will deliver improvements for passengers and create awareness of the Crewe-Stoke-Derby rail service. Station adoption is invaluable at unmanned stations because it enables regular feedback to the train operator and ourselves so any issues can be resolved quickly, which is much better for passengers.”
The Partnership has also recruited volunteer station checkers at Alsager, Kidsgrove and Uttoxeter stations and recently worked with Maryhill High School, Kidsgrove, on an art project to improve the waiting room at Kidsgrove station.
In 2007, thanks to a successful bid to North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone, the Partnership was able to deliver much improved facilities at Longport and Longton stations in Stoke-on-Trent, including new shelters and a modern customer information system (CIS).
Faye Lambert concluded, “There’s a further benefit to come for passengers using Blythe Bridge station. Our successful bid to the Department for Transport Access for All fund means CIS will also be installed here, as well as at Alsager, Kidsgrove and Tutbury and Hatton stations.”
Funding for the gardening project has been provided by Forsbrook Parish Council and supported by a £250 grant from the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP).
East Midlands Trains’ Stakeholder Development Manager John Hillman said, “East Midlands Trains is delighted to welcome the Blythe Bridge adoption group on board and we look forward to working with members to improve their local station.”