Wednesday the 2nd September 2015, saw our 4th annual thank you event for all our volunteers, which was held at Chappel Museum, in the Goods Shed.

Jonathan Denby, Customer Experience Director at Abellio Greater Anglia and Sean Perry, Head of Economic Growth, Essex County Council came along and thanked everyone for all the hard work put in at the branch line stations and all the volunteers who help out on our growing number of successful event trains.

Thank you event and photos

The project was originally born out of the desire to brighten up the branch line stations; although a lot of our stations are adopted, the buildings are sometimes run down which gives a feeling of uninviting and unloved.  Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership wanted to make them alive again, with colour and interesting works of art. We find that making a station looked loved and alive reduces unsocial behaviour and vandalism.  As part of this, we also wanted to engage the local community as much as possible to encourage a shared ownership of the station environment and travel experience.  Several of the art projects have involved working with local schools, and local groups.

A mosaic was chosen for Clacton Station because it could be displayed in a prominent south facing position so the sun reflects off the iridescent tiles on the mosaic depicting the variety of flora and fauna as well as the sun and sea linked to the Sunshine coast line. The local coastal area has many naturally found inhabitants, including Sandwich Terns and Pied Avocets along with plants such as Sea Hogs Fennel (a rare species), Sea Lavender and Shrubby Sea Blite.

The mosaic was designed by artist Paula Rosalind, who spent three months and nearly two hundred working hours in creating an intricate circular mural which was made almost entirely from stained, mirrored and fused glass.  With most of the tiles being hand cut to create the design, different finishes were applied to the mosaic, including iridescent titles.

The work was funded by Essex County Council and Tendring District Council as part of the Railway Art Project, which aims to bring art to stations along the lines in Essex.

The team and volunteers were proud to hear this week that the CRP have been shortlisted for two awards at the prestigious ACORP annual awards.  The two nominated projects have been short listed in the Best Small Project (Under £500) category for the Harwich Station Garden and the challenging Best Station Garden category for Bures Station Garden.

Essex & South Suffolk shortlisted for two awards!

Our first Bucket and Spade train took place on Wednesday the 5th August 2015 with the decorated train pulled into Colchester Station ready to depart promptly at 9.56am.  The train was run in partnership with Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Abellio Greater Anglia.  Lots of children and parents boarded the inaugural special service, meaning that our carriage was full to the luggage racks as it left for Walton-on-the-Naze.

Bucket and Spade Success and Quiz Answers

Hopper BusDedham Vale is in the idyllic countryside and just a stones throw from Manningtree Station.  Offering the Dedham Munnings Museum and boats at Flatford Mill, this area of natural beauty is connected by the Dedham Vale Hopper Bus, running on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays from 7 July until 29 August 2015.

Following a circular route, this little community bus joins up small villages and tourist attractions including tea rooms and picnic spots.  The hourly bus also offers "hop-on, hop-off" tickets, allowing you to alight and board as you tour the area.

Prices are £5 adult, £2.50 child or a family of four ticket for £10, offering great value for a fun day out.  Concessionary passes are also accepted.

You can download a PDF here.