Monday, 08 February 2016

Volunteers get the station back on track

MILLOM station has been transformed from ‘the grimmest’ on the track, to an award winner in just a couple of years.

The station building, including ticket office and Millom Discovery Centre, scooped third place in the Station Development category at the Community Rail Awards 2012.

The Railway Heritage Trust-sponsored award recognises the role of the station as a ‘a key element of a rail passenger’s journey’.

Trustees and volunteers have spent several years developing the commercial ticket office, in a bid to help secure the building’s financial future.

Millom station’s ticket office reopened in 2010 after several decades’ absence.

The late Roland Woodward was the project leader behind the ticket office.

On its opening he said his vision was to ‘ensure the future’ of the adjourning Millom Folk Museum, now Millom Discovery Centre, and bring in employment, in the form of ticket office staff.

One of the discovery centre’s trustees, Jim Partridge, praised Mr Woodward’s vision in achieving the award.

He said: “This was Rowland’s vision, that the museum should be partially funded through the ticket office.

“The award shows the support of the rail system to the building.

“The people of Millom are really starting to support us and they’re helping the charity by buying the tickets from the office.”

Laurence Hilland, community rail partnership officer for the Cumbria Coast Line, submitted Millom station for this year’s awards.

He said: “While Millom is a small community, it has a very high footfall rate at the station.

“The need for a rail booking office was quite urgent. As a result of that, we joined together with the existing trustees of the museum to open the booking office, with the intention of creating employment and helping the Discovery Centre financially.

“We were absolutely delighted with the award. It was up against some very stiff competition.

“We heard we’d been shortlisted, but actually to get an award was quite an achievement and it really does reflect extremely well on the community in Millom.”

As well as the Friends of Millom Station sprucing up the platforms and surroundings, Mr Hilland said the building’s trustees and volunteers have transformed the once empty unit into a thriving ticket office.

He said: “The Millom development is a real feather in our cap because of the employment aspect.

“The town is not exactly rich in tourist attractions but the Discovery Centre is really excellent. You only have to look at the comments book to see how much visitors appreciate it.

“Millom was a grim station, one of the grimmest on the line, before they started. This is a real compliment to the community of Millom.

“There’s been a lot of hard work and I can’t emphasise enough how much that has been down to the people themselves.”


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