A unique ‘twinning’ plan has been agreed between community station groups at Bolton and Kilmarnock.
Trustees of Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust have agreed to a suggestion from Bolton Station Community Development Partnership Rail to form a ‘twinning’ arrangement between the two projects. At Kilmarnock, the trust (established in 2014) has worked with train operator ScotRail and Network Rail to transform the large station into a community hub, providing a base for social enterprises, a rail heritage group, cafe, gift shop and Active Travel Hub.
The formation of Bolton Station Community Development Partnership (BSCDP) is much more recent. It was constituted as recently as March this year but is already working on plans for a major community gala on Saturday June 30. It is hoped that Kilmarnock will send a small team down to enjoy the day of music, theatre, art and heritage.
Ian McHugh, of BSCDP, visited Kilmarnock recently with other members of the Partnership: “We were really inspired by what we saw at Kilmarnock station and this new twinning arrangement will encourage us to share ideas and good practice.”
Allan Brown, of Kilmarnock SRHT said: “We’re delighted to set up this innovative twinning project with a sister station in England. It’s a unique initiative that will bring benefits to both groups, through sharing ideas and good practice.”
The two projects are strongly supported by the railway industry. ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes said: “The Kilmarnock Railway Station Heritage Trust has done a fantastic job in developing strong roots in the local community that’s enabled them to transform the station into a vibrant community hub. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what this new partnership with Bolton Station Community Development Partnership will bring.”
South of the border, Liam Sumpter, Regional Director for Northern (Central Region) commented: “We are delighted that the Bolton CDP, alongside Northern and Network Rail, have taken on the challenge of improving Bolton station for their community. It is an excellent chance to show that the railway can have a huge impact on its surrounding areas, and we are looking forward to supporting the project in any way we can.”
Chair of Bolton SCDP Prof. Paul Salveson added: “Potentially, the twinning could extend beyond the stations. Both Bolton and Kilmarnock have a shared railway engineering heritage and it would be great to build contacts between community, educational, public and private sector bodies, using our respective stations as a focus but going much further.”
The Bolton partnership is hoping to organise a further visit to Kilmarnock later this summer.