Christmas 2020 may have been a strange Christmas for many, but Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership added a bit of colour and Christmas cheer to their stations, providing a festive boost for passengers using the line.
At a partnership board meeting, a suggestion was considered from Rachel Duffy, Co-op member pioneer for Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge Co-op’s. Rachel has been working with a number of local organisations, which had offered to paint around 600 small wooden Christmas decorations, many of which were used to decorate Haltwhistle, Bardon Mill and Haydon Bridge stations, to the west of the Tyne Valley line. The volunteers working on the decorations came from Shaftoe Trust Academy, Haydon View Care Home, Henshaw School and Nursery, who are partnered with Greenhead First School and Haltwhistle Academy.
Marie Addison, Northern’s regional community and sustainability manager (North East), asked if station groups would consider putting up displays at the other stations along the line.
The first friends group to put up a display was at Corbridge. Being a rural station the waiting rooms were decorated with greenery in each corner with large pine cones strung between the greenery. The footbridge was decked with greenery with some model trains attached, while the name board at the station entrance had more pine cones attached. The station friends were also involved in the making of a video, “A Corbridge Christmas 2020”, which can be viewed above.
Meanwhile at Hexham, station adopters Journey Enterprises who operate the Journey Kiosk in the station, are working to get the tubs refreshed with winter plants.
At Blaydon an appeal was put out on the local Facebook page, resulting in eight people knitting Christmas decorations. Over 120 decorations were produced. These were hung in the waiting shelters and on the fence at the entrance, so passing motorists as well as passengers could benefit from the festive decorations. While they were being put up several intending passengers waiting for the Carlisle train made favourable comments as to how lovely the decorations were. When the train arrived the driver opened his window to give encouragement and jokingly asked for some to decorate his cab.
One lady who knitted some of the decorations commented that the project had given her a sense of purpose to her craft and helped her keep busy whilst she could not attend her local church group.
Joseph Codling, Blaydon Station adopter said: “The Friends of Blaydon Station are delighted to be spreading some Christmas cheer. Our decorations have all been crafted by local people and we are amazed to see so much talent on display in our community”.
Northern’s Marie Addison commented: “These displays are absolutely wonderful, seeing them has really cheered me up no end”.