Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, with adopters and volunteers, attended the Association of Community Rail Partnership (ACoRP) Awards on Thursday 1 October 2015 in Torquay and won first prize in the category Small Projects Award – under £500  Sue and Georgeta, who were nominated by ESSCRP,  were very excited and pleased to have been nominated.  Wilderness to Wonderness is a fantastic project that demonstrates the good work that encourages community engagement around the branch line stations as well as promoting the lines and improving the station environment.

Harwich station garden had an amazing make over in just five weeks, Sue and Georgeta, Harwich Station adopters, set about the task and enrolled local people as volunteers to help out. The work started with clearing the garden which had a lot of rubble, ironwork and rubbish: it was cleared and the volunteers had endless trips down the local tip.

As the funding was limited the adopters were creative and placed an article in the local paper asking people to donate plants, generating an amazing response and the majority of the plants were donated by the public and volunteers.  The garden has been transformed and is now a lovely place to pass by the look at and all of this was achieved for well under £500.

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