A three-year programme of regeneration works which have transformed Maryport railway station has been celebrated by Community Rail Cumbria in partnership with Cumbria County Council.
Following the investment of £1.2million to create a spacious car park at the front of the station, Maryport Transport Hub provides wide-ranging benefits such as free car-parking, safe access and improved signage. The hub aims to encourage people to travel by train along the Cumbrian Coast.
In addition to this significant development, Northern Rail committed to major platform refurbishment works, including removal of vegetation, excavation and laying of foundations for new shelter, platform resurfacing, improved drainage, shelter lighting and customer information screens.
Now a unique community initiative called ‘The Edge of Empire’, which complements the station improvements, has been unveiled by the Cumbrian Coast Community Rail Partnership (CRP).
Recognising that Maryport began life as a prominent outpost on Rome’s Northern frontier, the ‘Edge of Empire’ project integrates an authentic Roman theme on the station. The area’s rich Roman heritage is now retold in compelling storyboards installed on the station platform which illustrate and celebrate the importance of the town’s Roman history in a modern rail-based setting.
Thanks to funding and support from the national Association for Community Rail Partnerships and the Department for Transport, the ‘Edge of Empire’ project has transformed the railway station from a neglected and overgrown wilderness into an ‘outdoor classroom’ which encourages visitors and local schoolchildren to explore further the hidden histories surrounding Rome’s occupation in Cumbria.
The CRP has welcomed local volunteer group, The Maryporters, who have adopted the station and will play an important part in developing the Roman theme even further. The group will tend the station and work with the CRP to develop future plans to enhance the facilities.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Transport, cut a ribbon to mark the official opening of the ‘Edge of Empire’ project on the station platform on Monday, watched by pupils from Flimby Primary School.
Cllr Little said: “These projects have completely transformed Maryport station, making it much easier and more attractive for our businesses, residents and visitors to travel by train, as well as boosting the local economy. Maryport station is now a welcoming, modern transport gateway which the local community can be proud of.”
CRP Chairman, Laurence Hilland said: “The regeneration of Maryport railway station into a vibrant, well-used transport hub is a very welcome development on the Cumbrian Coast railway. The ‘Edge of Empire’ project has transformed the railway station and perfectly illustrates the value of robust partnership working and strong links with the local authority. Collaborating with Cumbria County Council has culminated in significant benefits for the Maryport community. We’re already getting a fantastic reaction to the Roman theme which shows railway stations can be so much more than just places to wait for a train.”
A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “Maryport railway station is now firmly on the map! Northern is keen to encourage modal shift amongst local employers such as Sellafield and generally improve the quality of the facilities at stations. We are proud to have been able to support this uniquely innovative scheme which will encourage more people to use the railway and has brought such positive benefits to the community of Maryport.”