March Station newsagents on the Wright track for retirement
PUBLISHED: 12:15 30 June 2010 | UPDATED: 12:15 30 June 2010
FOR more than 37 years their newsagents business at March Railway Station has been just the ticket for thousands of passengers. Now Peter and Maureen Wright are selling up and looking forward to retirement.
Peter, 63, said: “I have been a railway enthusiast for as long as I can remember and this job has been the nearest I could get to trains without actually being a railwayman.
“We have been very happy here and have never regretted it for one moment but the time has come to finish. We will certainly miss the customers and over the years we have met some very nice and interesting people.”
The couple decided not to renew the five-year lease which is up next year. Maureen said: “I wanted to celebrate my 60th birthday and not have to get up for work early the next morning.”
It was a story in the Cambs Times which first tempted the couple to take over the business from W H Smith who had been selling newspapers at the station since 1888.
The kiosk was then on an opposite platform and moved to the station entrance near to the ticket office more than 20 years ago.
Running the business, which also includes a newspaper delivery service of more than 500 papers a day, has meant a daily 4.15am start for Peter who is always ready to open up at 5am. The business closes around 5.30pm.
During their time at the station the couple have seen major changes. Peter said: “Of course when we took over Whitemoor yard was still fully operational and there was always lots of railwaymen around”.
The station was also a hive of activity for train spotters and a best seller from the book stall was Ian Allan’s ABC series on the identification of locomotives.
There have been many famous faces passing through including the Queen and other members of the royal family. The couple have supplied newspapers to the royal train.
Another very familiar face was the late Lord Longford who made frequent visits to Whitemoor Prison.
The couple never had family holidays with their two daughters but made do with the occasional overnight stays at a weekends.
Maureen said: “I did take them to Butlins years ago with my mum but the only other time I have had any length time off was when I had to have a major operation.”
Despite their commitment to the job the couple have always had time for an active social life. They are both involved with March Museum and play dominoes at March Conservative Club.
Maureen is a keen artist and Peter is currently researching the history of March Railway Station for a special 125th anniversary exhibition.
The couple have already had several enquiries from potential buyers and hope they can retire on Christmas Eve.