Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP has unveiled a plaque at Penmere Station to celebrate the 160th anniversary of trains to Falmouth and 30 years since the Friends of Penmere Station, the volunteer group who look after the station, were established.
The Minister visited Falmouth on Thursday 24 August as part of his Summer Rail Tour, which is also the exact anniversary of the first trains running between Truro, Penryn, and Falmouth (known today as the Maritime Line) back in 1863.
The Minister was accompanied by senior GWR and Network Rail officials and met with Steve Lloyd, Chair of the Friends of Penmere Station, Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, Cllr Alan Rowe, Deputy Mayor of Falmouth and Mark Williams, Falmouth Town Clerk.
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership has worked on the Maritime Line since 1995, promoting the use of the line, working to improve train services and facilities, helping link the community and the railway and working to boost the local economy of the places served along the line.
Mr Merriman congratulated the Friends group on maintaining the station as a place of such beauty for 30 years and thanked them for all the work they do.
Steve Lloyd, Chair of the Friends of Penmere Station, said: “It was great to welcome the Minister to Penmere. We are really pleased to be able to celebrate 30 years of transforming Penmere from a quiet, rundown station into a little piece of Eden for all to enjoy. Someone who visited the station recently said to us ‘It’s like stepping back in time!’, which sums up our progress well. Thanks must go to the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, GWR and Community Rail Network for valued assistance.”
Sharon Holloway, GWR Station Manager for West Cornwall, said: “We are thrilled to celebrate these landmarks and are proud that both the Maritime Line and Penmere Station continue to thrive. I’m especially grateful to those colleagues who go out of their way, day after day, to ensure the line remains one of the most popular on our network.
“I would also like to pass on my thanks to both the Friends of Penmere Station and the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership. We are proud to work and celebrate alongside these incredibly dedicated people, whose love of the line helps to keep the region prospering.”
Richard Burningham, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership Manager, said: “Happy 30th birthday to the Friends of Penmere Station and happy 160th birthday to the Maritime Line. The Friends have transformed the station over the last thirty years, and, thanks to them, it has long been a real jewel in the crown of Cornish stations.
“The key thing is that generations of local people have and are finding that trains are a great way to get around. Long may this remain the case and I’m very confident it will.”
The anniversary celebrations also continued into the weekend, as the Friends group held a gala at the station for the local community. Attractions included ‘Reo’, a full-sized Traction engine, a 1940s vintage London taxicab, Clockwork Railway, and mini steam engine. An extensive photographic display (funded by Community Rail Network’s Small Grants Fund) showed the huge change the station and garden has seen since the group’s inception in 1993, and numerous visitors complimented the volunteers on all they’ve achieved.
Community rail partnerships and station groups have featured prominently on the Minister’s Summer Rail Tour agenda. Click here to read more about each of the visits.