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.

It's easy to forget as you ride along the branch line that there is a community built of lives outside of the station doors.  Great Bentley is a great example of this with Britain's largest village green a stones throw away.

Great Bentley Green hosts many events through the year, from the regular cricket matches to carnivals, fairs and even the circus.  People visiting the village by train are now welcomed with a fantastic range of flowers and a beautiful station garden thanks to our adopter Susan Wood, who became a volunteer in April 2015.  

Sunshine in Great Bentley

South Woodham Ferrers muralSouth Woodham Ferrers station is not just brightening up as spring arrives with thanks to local artist Scott Irving.  Following a recent call to local artists, inviting them to brighten up stations with their art.  As well as improving the environment this also raises the profile locally of the artist and the type of work they do.

Scott's work at South Woodham Ferrers station first involved a good clean of the work area to enable the paint to remain on the wall.  The work was then undertaken in stages over two days, with the individual colours being added in layers.  The end result is a mural which conveys both perspective and intensity, with rich colours conveying the rural scene depicted.