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Funds won from two national bodies mean a major facelift for Alsager station on the North Staffordshire rail line (Crewe-Stoke-Derby route).
Successful bids from the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) to the O2 ‘It’s Your Community’ fund and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) have secured funds to improve the extensive garden beds on the station platforms.
As part of the project, which will be match-funded by the NSCRP, weeds will be cleared and new, easy maintenance shrubs will be planted to provide a more attractive waiting environment for passengers using the station.
The funding success is great news for a group of local residents ‘Friends of Alsager station’, who came up with the initial idea of restoring the platform garden beds to their former glory.
Once the first stages of the work, the weed treatment and heavy digging have been completed by a landscaping contractor, the group will plan the planting of over 500 shrubs purchased with the funding windfall, and maintain them through the seasons.
Community Rail Project Officer for the North Staffordshire Partnership, Faye Lambert said: “One of our aims is to involve residents in improving their local stations, promoting ownership of their local rail service and community pride. Two Friends members already provide invaluable support to the Partnership, taking it in turns to regularly check the station and report on issues like track litter and graffiti. Now with this funding, we’re delighted they will be able to do even more to improve the station.”
O2 It’s Your Community has awarded the project its maximum award of £1,000. ACoRP has contributed £250 through its Small Grants Fund.
Faye concluded: “There’s a further benefit to come for passengers using Alsager station. Thanks to a successful bid to the Department for Transport and match-funding from East Midlands Trains, a customer information system, with electronic screens showing arrival and departure times, will be installed here, as well as at Blythe Bridge, Kidsgrove and Tutbury and Hatton stations.”
Emma Knight, Head of External Communications for East Midlands Trains, said: “At East Midlands Trains, we are keen to get local communities involved with their local railway station; this is a perfect example of communities working with Community Rail Partnerships to bring about improvements and encourage more people to use the railway.”