New cafe opens at Downham Market Station
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
One of Norfolk's prettiest stations now has a bijou buffet.
Platform One provides a new refreshment stop for travellers at Downham Market's Grade II listed carrstone.
The locally-owned business, which has created 11 jobs, replaces the Railway Arms, which served passengers until it closed two years ago.
After she cut the ribbon to officially open it, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said there had been an outcry after its predecessor closed and people didn't want to see it reopen as a high street chain.
'This station is unique,' she said. 'Having a local business take it over is really good.'
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Downham Mayor Frank Daymond said: 'It's a good day for the town, the station and the commuters of the town. It may be a cafe instead of a pub but it's still a watering hole.'
Former town and borough mayor Colin Sampson, who is also chair of passenger lobby group the Fen Line Users Association, said: 'There has rarely been something which has generated as much interest as when is the cafe re-opening and whether or not it's going to be a high street chain.' Platform One is run by the Sutton family, who also run Charmed Interiors elsewhere in the town.
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General manager Darren Sutton said: 'It's gone really well, we're pleased with the response. We've had good, positive feedback and it's been busy.'
Mr Sutton added the business was considering extending its opening hours and applying for an alcohol licence.
It is currently open from 5am - 4.30pm weekdays, 7am - 2.30pm on Saturdays and 8am - 1pm on Sundays.
Platform one serves a wide range of coffees, teas and light refreshments which customers can eat in or take onto their train.
It opened shortly after it emerged that passengers on the 86-mile journey to London King's Cross would have to wait longer for the eight-carriage trains originally due to come into service by the end of the year.
Ms Truss said she was concerned at the delay. Some stations along the route have platforms too short to accommodate eight carriage trains and work will be needed to extend them.