Redundant space at Shawford Station transformed into community café 

The disused Victorian waiting room and ticket office at Shawford Railway Station has been given a new life and purpose, thanks to a partnership between South Western Railway (SWR), the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and other stakeholders.

Last week, Platform 1 – a community café serving coffee, cakes and real Italian gelato – opened in the previously derelict space, providing a much-needed place for locals, travellers and visitors to the small Hampshire village to get refreshments. The refurbished building also offers a community space and kitchen for local groups in the area to use.

The Three Rivers CRP believed that the dilapidated building, which had stood unused for 40 years, could be brought back into daily use as a flexible community space and café and approached SWR with a bid for funding from its Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF).

SWR agreed with their idea and contributed just under £200k of the total renovation cost of £350,000, with the remaining funding coming from the Railway Heritage Trust, Winchester City Council, fellow train operator CrossCountry, and the South Downs National Park.

Veronika Krcalova, SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund Manager, said: “Connecting people and communities is at the heart of our business and CCIF, our community fund, gives us an opportunity to support organisations with their projects that focus on community benefit. We at SWR were delighted to be able to partner with such a wide group of stakeholders and help in creating this amazing space at Shawford station and a much-needed community resource.”

Marco Bertacchini of Platform 1, commented: “We’re very grateful for the opportunity to offer the people of Shawford great coffee in such a unique location and we’d like to thank SWR and their partners for their work to make it possible.”

Nick Farthing, Chair of Three Rivers CRP, said: “Many people have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition. We’d like to thank all our partners, who have contributed so much and to wish Marco every success in this important new venture which can only benefit the local community.”

So, if you’re visiting Shawford – or just feel the need for some good coffee and gelato – pop into Platform 1 and say hello.

The new Platform 1 café at Shawford Station. Photo credit: Mark Miller (Three Rivers Rail CRP).