September 21 2014 Latest news:
Kath Sansom, .
Monday, July 21, 2014
Two of the old refreshment rooms at March railway station, that have been redundant for years, have been restored and brought back into community use.
The rooms on platform two were formally opened last week by Councillor Ralph Butcher, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for transport and chairman of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership.
The refurbishment has been carried out by the Friends of March Railway Station. Historic details uncovered during the work included the old main doors that had been hidden behind panelling and some fine original Victorian tiling. Rotten flooring has also been replaced.
Cllr Butcher congratulated Adrian Sutterby and Gary Christy, the Friends’ chairman and vice chairman, and their team of volunteers on “an exceptional job”.
“All the projects the Friends have completed are excellent examples of what can also be known as community rail,” he said.
“Community rail is about establishing greater local involvement in the railway and its stations. It is also about enabling local people to have a voice in helping to determine and deliver local priorities for the railway.”
He added that the Hereward CRP had just approved a grant of £486 to help the Friends continue their efforts to tidy up the disused platform and track bed.
About 35 people attended the launch, including the Mayor of March, Cllr Kit Owen.
Mr Sutterby said the Friends wanted to encourage community groups to make full use of the rooms. “They could book the main room as somewhere to meet on a regular basis or for one-off meetings or for special events such as craft shows,” he said.
The second refurbished room – the old station bar – will serve as a small library. It will be home to three pictures of destinations on the line from March – Norwich, Lincoln and Great Yarmouth.
The pictures, which were rescued from another room further along the platform, have been donated by Jim Mears.
The Friends’ future plans include refurbishing one of the remaining redundant rooms, extending the demonstration track and replacing the boundary fencing with a disabled path.
Two open days are due to be held at the station on September 13 from 10am-1pm and December 13 from 9am-noon.
The Friends always welcome more volunteers. Email Adrian Sutterby on email@example.com.