Station scheme up for gong

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A Ground-breaking project which sees volunteers team-up with East Midlands Trains to improve Belper station is being held up as an example for others to follow.

Eco-group Transition Belper and other volunteers have been improving the rail station since adopting the area in April 2012.

Since then it has been completely transformed, with mounds of rubbish being removed and overgrown areas being replaced with well tended greenery.

Now, the project has been shortlisted for the Community Rail Awards on Friday September 27 in Llandudno and other communities across the region are being encouraged to improve their own stations by joining the East Midlands Trains Station Adoption Scheme.

One rail union said rail workers should be paid to carry out the works last week.

However, Kathy Fairweather who has helped organise the campaign said the scheme could have many benefits for participating towns.

She said: “A lot of rail stations in the East Midlands are being neglected. If they are looked after it decreases the amount of damage that is caused.

“Run down stations also don’t feel safe at night and in the mornings.

“No work had been done on Belper station for eight years when we started - so it was really badly run down. It looks much better now - much more colourfuland welcoming.”

The Community Rail Awards were devised in 2005 so that the unsung heroes and heroines of the community rail world would have their hard work and dedication publicly recognised and rewarded.

The emphasis of the awards is on recognising the ordinary people doing extraordinary things on behalf of the railway and the community.

Mrs Fairweather continued: “We were delighted to be nominated and it’s nice to see that an appeal has been made for people to run similar projects at other railway stations.

“We’re still in the process of clearing the station and are working to make it more organic, wildlife-friendly and sustainable.”

The improvements have come at an important time for Belper station - which is now the busiest commuter station on the Derwent Valley Line.

Passenger journeys have increased by 125per cent over the last five years - from 79,207 in 2007/8 to 177,528 in 2012/13.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the station should contact Kathy on 07779412702.