North Yorkshire’s Hunmanby Station was scheduled to see the best train service in its history from May last year, with hourly ‘Turbo Star’ trains complimented by improved facilities at the station, including ticket machines, real-time information boards, waiting shelters, and CCTV. The challenge the station friends group faced was how to attract more passengers to the station, which has no car parking facilities and is located a 15-minute walk away from the village. The group decided to engage the community to ascertain their views and gain support in raising awareness of the revamped station and timetable.
The group decided to focus on improving the passenger experience by making Hunmanby a community station and a true gateway to the village. They learnt that people were put off travelling by the “gloomy” appearances of the platforms, so set about transforming them with homegrown plants, flower borders, and artwork created by local school children, making the site feel safer and more attractive.
A key part of the project was working in partnership to strengthen relationships with the village’s residents, community organisations, and local businesses, and the friends group designed a website to promote local attractions alongside the new train service. They also worked with a local social enterprise and adult education charity to produce an easy-to-read train timetable and local events guide, containing the details of a host of village groups. More than 20 volunteers then helped to deliver 3,000 of the timetables to Hunmanby and its surrounding villages, highlighting the station upgrades and the new train services.
The group held a launch event at the station to promote the new timetable, which was well-attended and received coverage in local media. As a result of their efforts, the number of passengers using the station rose by around 30% between May 2019 and March this year.
Passenger numbers were dramatically affected by Covid-19, but the group adapted their website accordingly, replacing information on local events and attractions with advice on how local residents could stay safe and well. Given its increased profile and improved appearance, the station also became a popular place for local residents to walk to during the first Covid-19 lockdown.