Several years ago train company Anglia Railways pioneered a program whereby local residents were encouraged to participate in the upkeep of their local railway station. The Station Adoption Program resulted in dozens of stations being looked after by volunteer organisations, and even some individuals. Halesworth station benefitted greatly from the partnership, as did others. Groups brought forth ideas, such as planting flowers, and installing benches, and each station now has its own personality, reflecting those ideas.
When ‘one’ Railway took over running services in East Anglia in 2004 it continued to build on the success of the Station Adoption Program. ‘one’ expanded the scheme to cover the whole Greater Anglia Franchise area. Annual awards are an incentive amongst the volunteers, as are the travel passes granted in exchange for the hard work put into keeping stations looking smart and clean.
A station along the East Suffolk Line that could benefit from the program is Beccles. The railway station is unique in that it is the only one on the line with a now disused central platform. It was closed off when multiple tracks were singled in the mid 1980s. Years of disuse, combined with the station being situated at the edge of town, has attracted periodic vandalism.
The East Suffolk Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) is seeking volunteers who want to help bring Beccles station back to its former glory. The only commitment needed is one of time. The CRP offers financial support to help ideas become reality.
If you or your organisation are interested in adopting Beccles Station ring ‘one’ on 01473 693 979 or visit their website for information.