September saw the annual Northern Conference held in the Hilton City Hotel in Leeds, to which all the Northern Community Rail Partnerships were invited.
Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership were fortunate to be able to send six representatives. This was because Blaydon Station on the Tyne Valley line was featured in this years Northern video. The Station Adopter, Joseph Codling, is, at 18, is our youngest Station Adopter. Joseph spoke of the work of the volunteers at the station, painting the planters and filling them with plants. The Community Noticeboards are kept up to date and the photographs of the station in times past are changed on a regular basis to attract interest of the passengers, and his plans for further improvements to the station.
The Conference was a very interesting day which we all enjoyed. It was an opportunity to learn what is happening in other parts of the system and exchanging ideas. The recycling of wood for the wooden benches at Buxton Station gave us food for thought.
The Conference began with a welcome by David Brown, Managing Director of Northern, who relayed the plans which Northern has and hopes to achieve this coming year. This was followed by talks from Kul Bassi, DfT and Anders Hanson of ACoRP. Then followed the reports of the various Community Managers and the Community Partnership Officers. All were very positive and informative.
In the afternoon were the various workshops and delegates were able to attend them all. The final part of the day was the long awaited Northern video featuring the work of the volunteers. It was good to see how some of the stations with a little tlc have been transformed from being semi derelict and a place where people did not want to visit, to a nice environment which encouraged visitors and led to increased passenger numbers.
My thanks to the Northern staff for arranging such an interesting and informative conference. To any Community Rail Partnerships who have the opportunity to attend next year it is well worth the effort of an early start.