‘Proud of this achievement’ - Town celebrates National Rail Award recognition
PUBLISHED: 08:27 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 07 October 2020
Representatives of a Norfolk town celebrated its recognition in this year’s ‘railway oscars.’
Downham Market was highly commended in the Small Station of the Year category at the 2020 National Rail Awards ceremony, making it one of only two small stations given the accolade this year.
To celebrate the achievement, the town’s Great Northern station staff and local community representatives joined together on Friday, October 2 to recognise the efforts made by those involved in running and maintaining the station.
Tom Moran, managing director for Thameslink and Great Northern, congratulated station manager David Hughes, who welcomed guests including mayor Becky Hayes, treasurer of the Fen Line Users Association Alan Pickering, Sue Sampson and Pat Sones of the local Women’s Institute (WI)- who lead the volunteers who maintain the station’s plant displays.
Mr Moran said: “What really makes Downham Market stand out is how it looks and how well it’s cared for.
“It’s an early Victorian Grade II-listed building that complements the historic town, its heritage celebrated with old pictures in the waiting room.
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“The station is set off beautifully by its plant displays and we are grateful to the volunteers from the local Women’s Institute who create and tend them.”
Mrs Hayes said: “We are proud, as a town, of this achievement. The station has character to it and it always looks beautiful, which is testament to the work of the Women’s Institute.”
A spokesperson for the WI said: “We have pride in our town and the station is the first glimpse people see of it.
“We enjoy the camaraderie of looking after the gardens. It’s great fun and it keeps us fit.”
Mr Moran said “scores” of their stations are being made more attractive as part of a multi-million pound improvement programme, which includes refurbishments, landscaping and artwork.
He added: “And from this December all our trains on the Fen Line will be doubling their capacity, going from four carriages to eight carriages.”
In 2017, with the help of the Railway Heritage Trust, Downham Market station was restored and redecorated with new signs and paintwork in the livery of Network SouthEast.
A partnership between GTR and the FLUA has led to a complete makeover of the station in its original Network SouthEast colours, supported by a refurbished ticket office and floral display.
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