As part of the franchise agreement Northern and the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership have appointed Station Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who will look after their stations and make them look attractive for the passengers. Ambassadors have recently been appointed at Blaydon and already have begun to make their presence felt.
Blaydon is the third stop on the Newcastle to Carlisle line and was one of the original stations opened in 1835. Once an important stop on the line, its fortunes have changed and in the 1960's most of the town was demolished to make way for a shopping centre and a dual carriageway now cuts the station off from the town. A footbridge across the roadway is unfortunately not connected with the station, but some car parking has been introduced and there is some commuting into Newcastle. The TVCRP has successfully campaigned for an hourly train service throughout the day with more at peak times.
The Ambassadors at Blaydon Station, Joseph Codling and Jacqueline Apperley, have been busy enhancing the station by painting the planters and filling them with flowering plants. An appeal on Facebook has attracted much interest and has brought the offer of more plants, and the local Councillor has donated planters to attach to the iron railings. A real community effort.
Community Noticeboards have recently begun to appear on all stations along the Tyne Valley. When the noticeboards arrived there was a debate as to the best place to install them, but fortunately the views of the Station Ambassadors were taken into consideration wherever possible.
The Ambassadors were delighted to see the noticeboard arrive. Its chosen place was in the shelter on the west bound platform. A great deal of thought and imagination has gone into what should go into this noticeboard, not just statutory notices. Photographs of Blaydon Station were found on the internet and permission to use them was sought. A notice to say where the trains are going was also included. With the last timetable change trains now go to Carlisle, Hexham, Morpeth, Middlesborough, Nunthorpe and Whitby. It is thought people tend to think the trains only run from Newcastle to Hexham and not further afield.
While the noticeboards are informative the use of coloured photographs also make the board look attractive and interesting and will attract the attention of intending passengers. Thanks to the Winlaton and Blaydon Local History Society who have provided many of the images, which will be changed on a regular basis to keep the boards fresh and interesting.
The Ambassadors wish to make an appeal to Northern, please can we have another noticeboard for the other platform? There is plenty of material to fill this five times over.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership is a not for profit limited company.