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Town's station to get makeover

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:11 01 August 2010

BECCLES railway station is set to be restored to its former glory before the construction of a passing rail loop.

In its heyday the town station was immaculate with carefully manicured flowerbeds and not a piece of litter in sight.

BECCLES railway station is set to be restored to its former glory before the construction of a passing rail loop.

In its heyday the town station was immaculate with carefully manicured flowerbeds and not a piece of litter in sight.

But fast-forward 50 years and the picture is very different.

Weeds have colonised the now disused island platform and the floral displays that were once the pride of the station lie hidden from view.

Now in a bid to kick-start improvements Network Rail has announced the launch of a community scheme to encourage local people to take pride in the station.

The company is looking for a determined band of volunteers who can give the station a new lease of life.

Community schemes enable voluntary groups to look after disused areas of Network Rail land, such as disused platforms, land adjoining stations, or land underneath viaducts. Groups keep the area tidy, pick up litter and trim vegetation. Some grow flowers in tubs or planters.

There are currently 25 schemes in place across the country and more than 200 registered volunteers.

Network Rail spokesperson Russell Spink said: “Community schemes like the one at Beccles are a great way to get local people involved and take pride in their station. We're looking for a determined band of volunteers who can help us restore Beccles to its former glory ahead of the arrival of hourly trains at the station in 2012.

“Our plans for a passing loop will bring the disused island platform back into use for the first time in decades. With the help of local people we want to bring that platform back to life by clearing away the overgrown vegetation and cultivating the original flower beds which currently lie hidden from view.”

Mr Spink added: “The photo shows the platform and flowerbeds fifty years ago - we plan to restore them to something approaching their former glory with the help of local people and the town council.

“It won't be quite up to the standard shown in the photo as the platform will undergo a proper refurbishment as part of the loop work - this is about making it look much more pleasant in the meantime.

“Once we have a group wanting to take the scheme on we will put up some safety fencing on the platform, as trains obviously still pass through on one side, and provide them with gloves and safety vests, then get cracking.”

To find out more about the scheme, telephone Beccles Town Council on 01502 712109 or visit www.beccles.info.

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