SWR Spotlight: Celebrating history and heritage at Shawford Station

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

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. The CRP approached SWR with a bid for funding from its Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, successfully obtaining just under £200k of the total £350k renovation costs. The remaining funding came from the Railway Heritage Trust, Winchester City Council, fellow train operator CrossCountry, and the South Downs National Park.

The refurbished building officially opened in February 2023. Shawford Station now houses Platform 1, a café run by Marco Bertacchini serving coffee, cakes and real Italian gelato, as well as a community space and kitchen for local groups in the area to hire and use.

Three Rivers CRP and SWR hosted a celebration event in February 2024 to mark one year since Shawford Station was reopened as a space for the community. History boards and a booklet about the station were unveiled, written by Mike and Andrew Lamport, who are descendants of the station’s first station master. Andrew even works as an SWR guard himself today – truly showing the family pull of the railway.

Veronika Krcalova, SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund Manager, said: “Connecting people and communities is at the heart of our business and 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 into a much-needed community resource.”

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 continue to wish Marco at Platform 1 every success in this important venture which can only benefit the local community.”

Marco Bertacchini of Platform 1 said: “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 partners for their work to make it possible.”

Find out more about SWR’s work in the community here.

Keep up to date with future news, projects and events from the Three Rivers CRP and other branches of Community Rail Hampshire via their website.