Waiting at Braintree Freeport Station will be a little more cheery after Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership commissioned Harlow based artist Sarah Bracey to do some art work on the shelter at the station.
Sarah worked closely with year 5 children from Great Bradford’s Junior School Braintree on a collage and drawing workshop with the children to help design the panels for the shelter. As the design was for the Braintree Freeport shelter the theme was shopping.
They have created an optical illusion by drawing the bottom halves of people on four panels holding bags and wearing wellies so people waiting inside the shelter look like part of the design. There are also simple counting games that can be played within the designs. These will help to keep both children and adults entertained whilst waiting for the train. This has added fun of the project.
Harwich station garden had an amazing ‘make over’ in five weeks from the project start date 29th May 2014 until the last week of June 2014 when the plants were put in. The garden has continued to blossom and grow over the past year.
Essex South Suffolk CRP (ESSCRP) was approached by two local people Sue and Georgeta who were interested in becoming station adopters at Harwich station. Their aim was to clear the weeds and rubbish from the station garden and plant it up to improve the appearance of the station to make it much more welcoming for train travellers and locals alike. They also wanted to plant up the tubs already at the station.
The plan was to clear the garden and decide what would be the best plants and shrubs for the ground to keep the ongoing garden maintenance to a minimum and plants that were hardy enough to survive with minimal watering.
Sue and Georgeta set about this task and enrolled local people as volunteers to help out, including the adopter from nearby Dovercourt station, local residents and volunteers from friends of the Earth.
Sue and Georgeta had a clear own vision for what they wanted to achieve and used their own and others ideas to create the wonderful garden we have today.
The work started with the clearing of the garden which was a mammoth task as there was a lot of rubble, ironwork and rubbish; it was cleared methodically and the volunteers took the rubbish themselves to the local skip. Once the garden was cleared a membrane was put down to keep the weeds at bay and bark was put on the membrane.
As the funding was limited the adopters were creative and placed an article in the Harwich and Manningtree Standard asking people to donate plants for the station garden. There was an amazing response and the majority of the plants were donated by the public and volunteers.
There were minimal difficulties! Some people said it was an impossible task as the area hadn’t been touched for many years. However, Sue and Georgeta were so determined that this would work that their ‘can do’ approach motivated themselves and all volunteers. It worked because the local community was involved and was a great partnership that included the local residents association. As the garden was transformed so quickly everyone could see the results immediately this was a real bonus and motivated everyone to keep going. The other difficulty was water, however, the Mayflower project that are at the station provided water for the garden.
The key objective was to transform the station garden and make it a lovely place to pass by and look at. This was fully achieved. The garden has remained low maintenance, the adopters continue to work together to keep it looking great and there continues to be volunteers who are willing to help out at any time.
‘The garden looks fab’
‘I cannot believe myself what we all did, at a time when many where sceptics! They should eat their hat for dinner’,
'the garden looks great,
‘no one thought that it will be achievable, given the state of that piece of neglected land, it was untouched for more a 15 years' - 'you beat all the odds'
The words “Community” and “Partnership” within our name are important to us, as it carries a strong definition of the area in which we work. One of our projects is the North Fambridge Artwork, which is a trial for a larger project which would involve artwork along all the Crouch Valley Line Stations. The idea stems that the work would reflect what there is to do in the area attractions, as well as community facilities and festivals. Once all the stations are completed there would be a final large piece at Wickford station which will bring all of the project together to form map. As well as the mural, there are additional plans for a leaflet and dedicated webpage.
We have worked closely through Lucy Chipperfield, co-ordinator for Essex Boys and Girls Club, who helped us partner up with DA Latchingdon youth club members. The artist is Scott Irving (who also produced South Woodham Ferrers Artwork) and the work was initially conceived and proposed by Max Dolding. Scott arranged a workshop with the young people to prepare them for using spray paint in a large art piece. Following some initial research from Max, the club members also went out to Blue House Farm, carrying out research about the Essex Wildlife Nature Reserve at North Fambridge, which is beside the River Crouch.
The artwork was completed in one day on 16th June and depicts river scenes, countryside and wild life the bird is a reed warbler. They are produced as if looking through a train window and is in the shelter on the upside platform.
The Gainsborough line which runs from Marks Tey to Sudbury has had a recent addition to brighten up Sudbury Station. Artist Joanna Tidey has produced two amazing murals each side of the end of the shelter, which have added colour and life to the station, which sees a train service each hour.
The art work, which features cows grazing in a butter cup filled meadow, and the famous Chappel viaduct, was designed by Joanna and painted over a few days. Joanna had great feedback from passengers travelling on the line, and children visiting the station loved watching her paint. Joanna is no stranger to the art trail along the railway lines; another of her murals which features ships and sea is proudly displayed on the Mayflower line, which runs to Harwich.
This work is part of the wider art project to brighten up Essex branch line stations.
Burnham Station House was built in 1888 as part of the Southminster Branch Line, renamed recently as the Crouch Valley Branch Railway, from Southminster to Wickford. Its main use was to house the station master. Although the branch line escaped closure in the 1960s by Beeching, as it was used to supply the nearby Bradwell nuclear power station. However there was no longer a station master at the station and the house was used for storage and as a base for the British Rail Yacht Club. By 1980 it was empty, vandalised and used by rough sleepers.
Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership provide Rail Safety Talks to schools and groups along the routes of our 5 Branch Lines - Crouch Valley, Flitch, Mayflower, Sunshine Coast and Gainsborough Lines. Our core theme - "Use Your Brain - Think Train".