Men’s Shed volunteers and station adopters create train-shaped planter for Chappel & Wales Colne rail station

2 April 2024

A wooden train and carriages full of flowers has been installed at Chappel & Wakes Colne rail station, Essex.

As part of the 175th anniversary of the Chappel and Wakes Colne Viaduct and the ‘Gainsborough line’ rail line from Marks Tey to Sudbury, the planter was commissioned by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and expertly crafted by volunteers of the Southminster Men’s Shed, following an idea and design from the station’s volunteer station adopter team. Once the installation was complete, the station adopters filled the train and carriages with flowers and will continue to care for them throughout the season. Glenn Phillips who is a member of the Men’s Shed said “We really enjoyed working on this miniature train and carriages and are delighted with the results. “It will help to brighten the platform at Chappel & Wakes Colne station, and I hope that it will delight young and old alike as they pass through.”

Southminster Men’s Shed is located at Southminster rail station and its volunteers have already carried out many projects to help brighten stations, such as planting new areas of garden and building bird boxes and planters.Men’s Sheds aim to bring people together, tackling loneliness and isolation and improving men’s health and wellbeing through providing a community space where they can meet new people, talk with others and get involved in creative projects. Glenn adds, “Some of the shedders have had a stroke, heart attack, cancer, struggled with bereavement, or indeed a mixture. Others have retired but relish a challenge or simply company. The Shed gives all individuals a chance to get together, forget our woes and concentrate on important decisions – such as whether to use 1.75 or 2″ screws!”

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “I’m really grateful for the support and enthusiasm of the Southminster Men’s Shed volunteers. They have been really busy on projects to help us brighten up rail stations in Essex and the results are just fantastic.”

The Shed, set up by the Maldon and District Community Voluntary Service in partnership with the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, is the first in England to be located at a railway station.

People can apply to become part of the Southminster Railway Shed by contacting Matt Hume on or 07935 216808.







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