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Community rail celebrates history of musical icon

A special train, a silent disco, and a music festival in a station car park have celebrated community rail’s links to an iconic music venue and the 50th anniversary of a legendary musical alter ego.

The events were organised by Community Rail Network member The Community Brain, a community engagement organisation based in the south of the London borough of Kingston who occupy a set of rooms at Tolworth Station.

The station at Tolworth is situated right next to the site of the (now demolished) Toby Jug pub, which was the place where David Bowie first appeared as Ziggy Stardust in February 1972, 50 years ago.

To celebrate this piece of local history, The Community Brain worked with South Western Railway (SWR) and Network Rail to host a silent disco at Waterloo Station, run a specially decorated train from Waterloo to Tolworth, with talks on the history of the Toby Jug as a music venue and Bowie’s appearance there, and hold a music festival in the car park at Tolworth Station, which was closed off by SWR for the occasion.

The event, which was supported by local MP Ed Davey, was captured on YouTube, and can be viewed here.

The Community Brain described the day as “amazing and memorable”, and thanked all the volunteers and partners involved in putting the “magical” events together.  

Daniel Wright, community rail support officer at Community Rail Network, who also attended the events, said: “The event raised awareness of Tolworth’s local history and also community rail in general, and loads of passers-by at Waterloo were intrigued and asked what was going on.

“The Community Brain are one of our community station members, and while they have run many events at Tolworth Station, this one was probably their largest so far. Across the various sites, the event engaged hundreds of people and promoted a real sense of local pride.”

Find out more about the work of The Community Brain here.