Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Historic railway stations' celebration

New railway station gardens have been created at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton to mark the historic anniversary of rail service in the South Cambridgeshire villages.

The project has been supported by local primary and secondary schools, residents and businesses.

Foxton station is celebrating its 163rd year while Meldreth and Shepreth opened 160 years ago.

The railway gardens will be formally launched on July 9, with an open invitation to local residents and anyone keen to support the railway. The gardens include traditional oak tubs on station platforms, as well as a flower and vegetable garden at Meldreth Station and a wildlife garden at Shepreth Station. Shepreth Wildlife Park has helped to create themes of biodiversity and sustainability.

Free ice cream will be served at all three stations by Gocold, a business situated at Meldreth Sidings.

Liberal Democrat Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Susan van de Ven, who represents the villages and also chairs The Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group which is sponsoring the project, said: “This promises to be a wonderful day not only for residents to get together, but also to celebrate around 160 years of rail travel in our villages.

“We have had massive local involvement from local schools, clubs, businesses and First Capital Connect. I can’t thank everyone enough for their offers of help, donations and sponsorship. There has been such a strong community spirit here.

“Our local rail development work has been incorporated into Cambridgeshire County Council’s Sustainable Transport Fund bid, which if successful would mean the chance to further develop our ideas. We are keen to improve disabled access at Meldreth Station, which serves Meldreth Manor Scope School, and also to develop community transport links to all three stations, especially for less mobile people who have recently lost a bus service.”

The event is also supported by local history groups. Foxton’s Common Stream Group and Meldreth’s Local History Group will be showing photographic displays in their respective station houses, and a specially reprinted local history of Shepreth and the local railway, Distant Voices, will be available to purchase at each station.

Mike Sharman, Foxton resident and rail historian, will travel by train to each station with an historic railway lantern. Among his companions will be the Common Stream Local History group dressed in period costume, a Melbourn Village College musician, a Shepreth Wildlife Park representative, Cambridgeshire County Council’s  Community Transport officer and First Capital Connect officers.