A scheme to get individuals and communities in East Anglia involved with their local railway stations is celebrating 20 years of brightening up stations across the region.
The Station Adoption initiative, now managed by Greater Anglia, was officially launched on 3 March 2003 by Anglia Railways in Norfolk and Suffolk. Over the years, the scheme, through successive train operators, has now expanded to cover the whole of the region.
Starting with just a handful of local people, some of whom had been tending to their local railway station since long before the scheme launched, there are now over 300 station adopters across the region: 116 in Essex, 108 in Norfolk, 43 in Suffolk and 44 in West Anglia, with 123 stations out of 134 adopted.
Greater Anglia provides funding to help station adopters cover the costs of small projects, such as the creation of station gardens and/or to purchase materials to help improve the station environment. Over the years, adopters have expanded their activities to encompass wildlife-friendly initiatives, creative community art projects, local promotion of the railway and participation in station ‘health checks’, as well as being the eyes and ears of their station and encouraging links between the station and local communities.
The Greater Anglia region has six Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) – the Bittern Line, East Suffolk Lines, Essex and South Suffolk, Hereward, New River Line and Wherry Lines CRPs – which actively support the station adoption scheme, providing additional resources which help adopters to make their stations even more attractive gateways to their communities.
Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said: “I am delighted that from humble beginnings, our station adoption scheme is stronger than ever at 20 years old. I would like to thank all of our adopters, long serving and new, past and present, for their incredible commitment and achievements in helping to improve our stations for customers and communities alike – as well as our community rail partnerships for their invaluable support for the scheme.
“Our station adopters are real heroes who achieve amazing things to benefit their communities and make them better places to live, with their enthusiasm to bring rural stations to life and restore their links to the communities they serve. So much has been achieved already and we look forward to an even brighter future for the scheme.”
Greater Anglia is planning a series of commemorative events and activities, to celebrate the milestone and thank station adopters, which will continue throughout 2023.
There are just nine stations on the network left to be adopted. They are Brimsdown, Enfield Lock, Harlow Mill, Harlow Town, Lea Bridge, Northumberland Park, Shippea Hill, Soham, Stansted Airport, Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross.
Greater Anglia hopes that individuals, community organisations or local councils who have an interest in improving their local rail station and bringing it into the heart of the community will come forward with their ideas and adopt those remaining stations.
Anyone interested in adopting their station should contact Alan.Neville@greateranglia.co.uk.