SIXTEEN stations in the former county of Cheshire have scooped awards at the 14th Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards Evening held on Tuesday 10th January 2017, and attended by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, the High Sheriff of Cheshire, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester, the Mayors of Cheshire East, Halton, Tameside, Stockport and six other Mayors.
The Awards were presented before 140 guests at The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich by Prof. Paul Salveson MBE, Group Advisor Society & Communities at Arriva UK Trains and a ‘founding father’ of the Community Rail movement.
Poynton won the coveted top “Best Kept Station’ Award”, Chester won a special Queen’s 90th Birthday award for commemorative events, and Rose Hill won the first Transport for Greater Manchester Award to be presented.
On announcing the Awards, Mark Barker, Chair of Cheshire Best Kept Stations said:
Poynton Station won the top ‘Cheshire Best Kept Station Award’, for having a fine, well cared for old building. The booking office has an authentic “old-fashioned” feel to it, which is very welcoming. The platform has many old railway artefacts and real railway benches, plus the gardens on the Manchester platform are beautiful with stunning colours. The waiting room deserves an award on its’ own. It is a real gem and you can almost smell the steam from the old trains
Alsager Station won the ‘Youth Challenge Award’ for their work with local Cub Scouts to celebrate the centenary of the Cub Scout movement by creating a Centenary Garden and banner, creating artwork and having regular working parties to plant flowers, weed and clear litter.
Broadbottom Station won the ‘Best Newcomer Award’ for a lovely old building with some very good examples of school art on the platforms, which hide boarded up windows.
Chelford Station won the ‘Best Kept Gardens Award’ for being transformed by well cared for gardens and planters. Plenty of variety and colour on both platforms, also on the pathway from the Crewe platform to the main road.
Chester Station won the ‘Queen’s 90th Birthday Award’ for a large event on the station with free gifts for passengers, performances by Mersey Morris Men, a railway layout by Chester Model Railway Club, and stalls run by volunteer groups including the Samaritans, North Cheshire Rail users and Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.
In this category, Highly Commended Awards were also given to Hattersley Station for a community event with a school brass band, bouncy castle and many other activities, and to Knutsford Station for an afternoon tea event for passengers prepared by station staff member Cheryl Thorne and her partner John, which was attended by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant.
Delamere Station won the ‘Roberts Bakery Award’ for the most improved station. This is a pleasant station in the middle of glorious forest land, with well tended garden areas and local school art. The tea room run by a local group is excellent.
Ellesmere Port Station won the ‘Merseyrail Electrics Award’. This station has some very tidy planted areas on the Liverpool platform and some local artwork along the Helsby platform and in the Liverpool platform waiting room which is very good.
Frodsham Station won the ‘Cheshire West & Chester Award’ with excellent colours on all the flower beds, which obviously involves a lot of effort by local people. The old railway building which is being used for businesses is in good order and adds to the pleasant atmosphere at this station.
Goostrey Station won the ‘Network Rail Award’ for Arts Projects. A collaboration between the Station Friends Group and the Community Primary School has turned a once derelict waiting shelter into an art exhibition which has an ever changing display of artwork from the school. This makes the station a pleasant place for pasengers and attracts residents and parents to visit the station.
Handforth Station won the ‘Cheshire East Award’. The overall experience of the station is good. The booking office has local artefacts, artwork and evidence of much local input. The range of station signs from railways around the world is a novel and very interesting idea and the gardens have many interesting features.
Holmes Chapel Station won the ‘Best Staffed Station Award’ for having very well cared for planted areas and a very tidy station. The booking office is well cared for with comfortable chairs, a library for passengers and some impressive potted plants.
Nantwich Station won the ‘In Bloom Award’. The flowers on this station start at the entrance and lead you onto the platforms which are full of varied and very colourful planted areas.
Reddish South Station won the ‘ACoRP Community Award’. Since 2007, community involvement to drive their campaign for a better train service has included publicising that the station actually exists, a party and other events on the platform, a heritage charter train calling at the station and live folk music on their one train a week. All in addition to a hidden garden area revealed on reaching the platform and an art competition with local schools providing artwork displayed on the picket fence in front of the garden.
Rose Hill Station won the ‘TfGM Award’ (Transport for Greater Manchester). This station has very pleasing flower beds, which make the station very welcoming. The involvement of local people is acknowledged by a list on one of the notice boards. This also includes examples of local poetry. The member of station staff is welcoming and helpful.
Runcorn Station won the ‘Halton and Warrington Award’ for a well cared for station. There is a charity book stall in the busy booking office. The judges enjoyed the 2 Superlambananas on the platform, especially one with the Runcorn Bridge on it.
Warrington Bank Quay Station won the ‘TravelWatch NorthWest Award’ for larger stations. A few years ago, this station was one of those in a TravelWatch NorthWest report covering the least welcoming major stations in the region. There has been a remarkable transformation to a clean, well cared for station with very helpful and friendly staff. The platforms are tidy and waiting rooms are comfortable and warm. Even the subway has had a make-over and is light and bright. There are regular events to raised money for local charities with details shown on a poster in the booking hall, which sometimes has a book swap area.